NEW YORK — Kenneth Cole Productions Inc. is joining forces with Compass Partners, the Washington, D.C.-based organization that aims to encourage social change through its Compass Fellowship for students.

This story first appeared in the April 1, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Kenneth Cole himself will announce the Compass Fellowship in Partnership with Awearness, The Kenneth Cole Foundation, at the Shift Series national conference in Washington today. The fashion company is making an initial $500,000 contribution to expand the fellowship, which was created by Neil Shah and Arthur Woods and currently exists on five college campuses. The plan is to add eight to 10 campuses each year nationwide. Kenneth Cole Productions will also contribute its resources, and develop co-curricular programming and internship programs as part of the initiative.

“As a company we have always encouraged others to pick a cause and get involved, and by joining forces with Compass Partners, together, we are able to create something much bigger,” Cole said. “The fellowship will seek to identify, encourage and empower the next generation of change agents to make a difference in their respective communities.”

This isn’t Cole’s first foray into the education field. He launched a student program at Emory University, which he attended, in 2002, and was more recently with the Community Engagement Program for Undergraduates at Columbia University. “Kenneth Cole is a thought-leader, not only in the world of business, but also in the world of philanthropy,” said Shah, who serves as Compass Partners’ executive director. “The resources and experience of Kenneth Cole, combined with our passionate students and innovative curriculum, is going to help further the social entrepreneurship movement worldwide.”

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