Companies That Care: July 2011
The family-owned Vermont Country Store, founded in 1946, has always put local communities at the center of its business -- and its charity efforts. In the past 15 years, the Orton Family Foundation (funded by store profits) has spent more than $30 million to help rural residents maintain the distinctive character and charm of their small towns. The Heart & Soul Community Planning initiative aims to help regular people get involved with planning to avoid cookie-cutter development.Fighting Breast Cancer
When Evelyn Lauder launched the Estee Lauder Companies' breast cancer awareness campaign in 1992, her aim was to help dispel the fear surrounding the disease and emphasize the importance of early detection. Today the ubiquitous pink ribbon that the campaign helped popularize is the universal symbol of breast health, and the company has contributed more than $33 million to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), also founded by Lauder. "The research is helping to improve diagnostics, treatment, and surgical techniques that will ultimately save lives," she explains.
Money is raised primarily through the sale of pink-ribbon products. Estee Lauder employees are passionate about the cause and also raise funds by organizing marathons, charity auctions, bake sales, and sports tournaments. Kate O'Connell, director of sales and marketing promotions for the Origins brand (and a breast cancer survivor), volunteers with breast cancer patients at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital. "I've been there, so I can help women who are afraid," she says. "It gives them hope to see that people like me can make it through and live a happy, healthy life."
Originally published in Ladies' Home Journal, July 2011.