Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc. (K.I.D.S.), the internationally renowned children’s charity, raised over $1.1 million at its 26th Anniversary Gala on December 8th, 2011 at 583 Park Avenue. The gala, attended by some 600 guests, was a tribute to the significant impact that retailers and vendors play in partnering with a not-for- profit to meet the needs of those struggling to survive either poverty or natural disasters.
Steven Lawrence, jcpenney Executive Vice President and Senior Merchandise Manager of Men’s, Children's and Home remarked, when receiving the K.I.D.S. Retailer Award, that corporate social responsibility plays an integral role in the culture and policies of the major retailing company. With its own fund that supports after school activities for children in need, jcpenney serves as a role model to other corporations for its commitment to building a next generation that is well educated and productive citizens. Mike Ulman, Executive Chairman of jcpenney, presented the award to Lawrence noting the significant role that he plays in building and strengthening jcpenney.
Joe Shamie, co-president of Delta Children’s Products and recipient of the Humanitarian Award, shared his personal impressions about the "gift of giving". Speaking about the tradition of giving back instilled in him since his youth through his family, Shamie noted the joy that he feels when he and Delta Children’s Products can provide products to children around the country. In addition to the donations he provides of cribs, play yards and other juvenile product, Jerry Storch, CEO of Toys"R"Us, noted the leadership role that Joe has played in setting safety standards in the juvenile product industry as he presented Joe with the K.I.D.S. Humanitarian Award.
Adding to the evening's impact was a provocative presentation by Andrew Ross Sorkin, author of Too Big To Fail and co-host of CNBC's Sqwak Box who recounted the lack of interest that Steve Jobs displayed toward philanthropy. Approached on several occasions to build a philanthropic vehicle to distribute discretionary funds to those in need, Jobs never saw corporate social responsibility as his role. Sorkin's disclosure of this fact recently has stimulated the type of corporate giving exhibited by the attendees at the vent on December 8th.
Richard Kind, well-known comedian and actor, added an element of warmth and pathos about the organization's mission, and reminded everyone of the privilege it is to be able to help others in need. His heartfelt expressions of gratitude to both vendors and retailers underscored the poignance and relevance of K.I.D.S.
The evening was topped off by the humorous and upbeat introduction by Teen Vogue’s Andrew Bevan in presenting the K.I.D.S. Annual Award to Brian Irving, VP, Global Digital Marketing at Levi Strauss & Co., and by the uplifting songs sung by the Broadway Youth Ensemble.
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