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Retailers doing good: Ann Inc. donates millions to cancer research; Whole Foods fights against poverty


New York -- High-profile retailers can make a high-impact difference when they use their clout to do good.

Case in point: Ann Inc., parent to Ann Taylor and Loft, donated more than $4.3 million to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to fund groundbreaking cancer research. The brands parlayed successes from the 2014 spring and fall campaigns and have brought the company's total corporate donation to $22.3 million in the past 10 years.

Ann Inc. currently fully funds 17 pioneering research projects for the 2014-2015 grant period. Through the Ann Taylor brand, the company continues its longtime support of lifesaving breast cancer research with the launch of its annual spring campaign benefiting BCRF.

"As a company for women, we are acutely aware of the horrific impact that breast cancer has on the lives of women and their families. We are committed to supporting BCRF in the continued fight against breast cancer,” said Kay Krill, president and CEO of Ann Inc.

Beginning April 27, 90% of the purchase price of Ann Taylor Cares Cards, available at both Ann Taylor stores and Ann Taylor Factory Stores, will be donated to BCRF and those who purchase the card will receive a special discount in-stores through June 1, 2015.

Another big giver is Whole Foods Market, which raised $4.6 million for global poverty alleviation through thousands of shopper events held at Whole Foods stores around the country. The events were all part of Whole Planet Foundation’s 2015 Prosperity Campaign to boost awareness and support for microlending projects worldwide.

“Microcredit offers low-income individuals real, viable means for escaping the cycle of poverty, because it empowers them with the opportunity to take charge of their own life and financial future,” said Philip Sansone, president and executive director of Whole Planet Foundation. “With a loan of $200, a microcredit client can start or expand a home-based business, gain financial independence and carve a path for a better life for herself and her entire family.”

In addition to attending events, shoppers made donations from pocket change to full microcredit loan amounts at store checkouts and online. Online donors were able to view the overall impact of their generosity in specific geographic regions via Whole Planet Foundation’s Power of One tool. Donors could see how many people their contributions will impact over several decades as loans are repaid and re-loaned again and again in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, South America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

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