Charity by Design Launches
Team Red White & Blue
Bangle: Spirit of the Eagle
Each year, many Americans bravely enlist in the Armed Forces to protect our country. However, the return to civilian life afterward can be both difficult and stressful. As a company that is proud to support veterans who have given such a sacrifice to their country, ALEX AND ANI wanted to partner with an organization dedicated to providing resources for veterans and their families in a big way. The CHARITY BY DESIGN team worked to form a relationship with an organization who shared the ideal in creating a sense of community for the Veterans of our nation.
During Veterans Day weekend 2014, Team Red, White, & Blue (Team RWB) joined ALEX AND ANI at the annual city event called Waterfire in Providence, RI. This specific display was held to honor Veterans and local team captains joined Carolyn Rafaelian to help carry the torch to light the first fire. ALEX AND ANI was also excited to host nationwide CHARMED BY CHARITY® events for Team RWB to help communities learn more about this Veteran resource right in their backyard. Founder, Mike Erwin, of Team RWB wrote a blog about the experience his team took part in and the successful events through the nation. This was a symbolic way to symbolize the partnership to follow and the passion ignited to create change.
Team RWB aims to help veterans reconnect to their communities in a positive way. They are dedicated in serving as a resource and form of support for the 2.5 million veterans who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001, and another 1 million who will separate from service within the next five years. Team RWB, which was founded by a Veterans, understand that for these men and women, while they leave their uniform behind, they carry on with their team at home: Team RWB.
Team RWB’s direct approach is to enrich the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. They employ a straightforward but effective model to achieve this. Physical fitness and sports are proven ways to bring people together and set the conditions to build meaningful relationships. Team RWB provides veterans with renewed camaraderie, a sense of purpose, and shared accomplishment. In addition to being an excellent way to connect on a social level, physical activity is proven to be therapeutic and healthy for both the body and mind. In communities across America, Team RWB sets a foundation for successful veteran reintegration by breaking down the civilian-military divide and encouraging veterans to take control of their health and wellness. These chapters enrich veteran’s lives every day and facilitate over 2,500 quality veteran interactions each week.
When discussions around design began, Team RWB and ALEX AND ANI chose a symbol that embodied freedom and liberty. The Spirit of the Eagle was created to signify taking a proud stand with those who have dedicated their lives to upholding American values. ALEX AND ANI | CHARITY BY DESIGN is proud to stand alongside Team RWB while working together in forming communities filled with energy and passion while striving to make a positive impact.
Bangle: Arrows of Friendship
Best Buddies was founded in 1989 by Anthony Kennedy Shriver and is dedicated in establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Best Buddies became America’s first national, unified, social and recreational program for people with IDD.
ALEX AND ANI | CHARITY BY DESIGN had been interested in the unique mission and efforts behind Best Buddies. As the CHARITY BY DESIGN program evolved, the division worked to find a way to team up with Best Buddies to make a difference in a big way. CHARITY BY DESIGN began working with the local state director in Rhode Island, who was very familiar with ALEX AND ANI and their charitable work through design. This local contact helped bridge the conversation to the national level and after discussions, brainstorming, and story sharing, it was decided that Best Buddies would be a new partner of CHARITY BY DESIGN. The Arrows of Friendship charm was created to symbolize friendship, individuality, and the bind that holds true friendship together.
Since inception, Best Buddies has built a strong community and developed programs in 50 countries around the world. ALEX AND ANI | CHARITY BY DESIGN is excited to further this mission while also continuing to help individuals with IDD get rewarding jobs, independence, become inspirational leaders, and make lifelong friendships.
Alex's Lemonade Stand
Bangle: Zest for Life
Taking a stand to end childhood cancer
In 2014, CHARITY BY DESIGN launched a partnership through design with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation after having the opportunity to learn about the organization through a member of the ALEX AND ANI Public Relations team. The associate knew a representative who worked for the foundation and through various conversations and story-sharing, they immediately saw a fit with the CHARITY BY DESIGN mission partnerships. CHARITY BY DESIGN fell in love with the organization and the strong story behind how it was formed and how it grew to be such a well-known way to support children affected by cancer.
ALSF began in 2000 as a single lemonade stand in the front yard of cancer patient Alexandra “Alex” Scott. 4-year-old Alex said that she wanted to hold a lemonade stand to raise money to help find a cure for all children with cancer. Alex lost her battle with cancer in 2004. Since Alex held that first stand, the Foundation bearing her name has evolved into a national fundraising movement, complete with thousands of supporters across the country carrying on her legacy of hope.
After hosting a Rhode Island CHARMED BY CHARITY ® event with family and friends of Alex, and supporting the foundation by having lemonade stands in retail locations nationwide over the summer, the Zest for Life charm was launched in July of 2014. It depicted a 3-D lemon that fittingly encourages the wearer to be energetic, bright and confident; words that celebrate Alex’s life and her dedication to making the world a better and brighter place. As the 2014 bangle retired on June 2nd 2015, the new colorful bangle launching will represent a second year of partnership and fundraising. Its vibrant colors depicting a slice of a lemon is meant to remind you that when life hands you lemons, you have the power to take positive action, sweeten the situation, and make lemonade.
Bangle: Power of Unity
Creating strong communities through the power of teamwork.
The CHARITY BY DESIGN division has a strong foundation based on teamwork and how it has the power to boost and encourage the community. When the division was introduced to the local program of Special Olympics Rhode Island, the synergies were endless and the positive impact that was being made on a local, and ultimately a global level, was one the division wanted to be a part of.
Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports every day around the world. Special Olympics empowers people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year.
Several Alex and Ani employees had been working with and supporting Special Olympics through events and volunteerism. Soon, they connected with CHARITY BY DESIGN to share the dedication and passion the organization demonstrates. CHARITY BY DESIGN was then introduced to a local Special Olympics representative to learn more about efforts and global initiatives that were being created. Alex and Ani began supporting Special Olympics through donations and in-store Charmed by Charity™ events throughout the nation, helping CHARITY BY DESIGN learn more about the organization and help retail locations connect with their own local chapters. The company soon learned of the many programs Special Olympics offers to the over 200 million people with intellectual disabilities throughout the world. Being inspired by the commitment Special Olympics has to its athletes and the positive influence it continues to have across the globe, CHARITY BY DESIGN began exploring partnership opportunities.
Realizing the support CHARITY BY DESIGN could offer Special Olympics through a design, the Power of Unity bangle was created to benefit the movement and all the individuals who are a part of their teams. The charm, which depicts the familiar Special Olympics symbol design, represents teamwork and how it has the transformative power to take the unique abilities of an individual, combine them with others, and build a unified group that can achieve the unimaginable together.
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals ®, (ASPCA ®)
Bangle: Prints of Love
Giving unconditional love to animals that live to do the same.
CHARITY BY DESIGN has made it a top priority to support many protection and conservation organizations nationwide. This is especially present in partnerships with organizations that are dedicated every day in protecting animals all over the country, like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®, (ASPCA®)
Alex and Ani and CHARITY BY DESIGN was very familiar with the ASPCA® and the vital work they do to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. A supporter for the ASPCA® had a chance to visit Alex and Ani and was able to learn more about the brand and their philanthropy. They were also introduced to the CHARITY BY DESIGN division and the work done to help empower and raise funds for non-profit partners. There was an instant connection that aligned both the mission of the ASPCA® and the dedication of the Alex and Ani brand to the charitable world. This came at the perfect time since CHARITY BY DESIGN was already supporting the ASPCA® on a national level through many in-store Charmed by Charity ™ events to benefit the organization.
The relationship quickly developed into discussions about a partnership, especially since the division already had a passion for protecting animals through our current partner Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, which ASPCA ® is a founding member of. The ASPCA® was a natural fit and enabled CHARITY BY DESIGN to take its support in protecting animals to the next level.
To celebrate this new partnership, The Prints of Love bangle was designed for the ASPCA®. It is meant to remind the wearer that animals hold an important place in our natural world, in our culture, and most importantly, in our homes.
VH1 Save The Music Foundation
Bangle: Sweet Melody
Giving our youth the opportunity of education and to be creative through music
As CHARITY BY DESIGN’s reach grew across the nation, we started to see many requests come in for support around the art of music and how important it was to instill in children through education. Noting how passionate many of our fans were about music and the benefits that come with it, we were driven to find a way to partner with an organization who focused on bringing music to life for the greater good.
We learned of VH1 Save The Music Foundation through a local telethon run by VH1 that was meant to mark national "Music In Our Schools Month" in March. This telethon was a way to help fundraise and spread the mission of Save The Music, which is restoring music programs in America’s public schools, and raising awareness about the importance of music as part of each child’s complete education. Our CHARITY BY DESIGN Vice President, Nicki Maher, saw an instant connection to the supporters and the campaign, as it made an impression on her not only as an event, but also as a unique way that this non-profit allowed you to directly see the fundraising dollars at work in communities. So many school districts were benefitting from VH1 Save The Music as much needed programs were put into place, especially in Rhode Island.
We soon found out that Save The Music had already made an impact locally, when we learned of the vital music program they put in place at an inner city school where children may have not had an opportunity to learn an instrument otherwise. Being able to see first-hand the local impression this program has made immediately ignited our passion to become partners and to be a part of the continued commitment to our youth.
Since Alex and Ani already has a thriving entertainment division that is dedicated to making music a part of the experience when learning about and shopping at Alex and Ani, we asked them to work with us for the 2014 VH1 Save The Music Family Day in New York City, where together we hosted workshops with children incorporating music and education during the event. After continued conversations and a local school visit to watch children perform with instruments donated by Save The Music, a partnership developed and the Sweet Melody bangle was created. The charm, which is a 3D musical clef, fittingly symbolizes music as a universal language that holds the incredible power to evoke special memories and lift spirits. As does the Save The Music program, this bangle reminds us all that music is the rhythmic experience that brings people together.
Give Kids The World
Bangle: Sweet Treats
There is nothing sweeter than providing lasting memories, encouragement and hope
So many of our CHARITY BY DESIGN partnerships develop through local relationships and stories that inspire us to join the cause. When we learned about the incredible work Give Kids The World, (GKTW,) was doing to make a child’s experience nothing short of amazing, we immediately took action to be a part of their mission.
We were introduced to GKTW through our partner, A Wish Come True, Inc., who grants wishes to children ages three through eighteen suffering from life-threatening illnesses living in Rhode Island and parts of Southeastern Massachusetts. Many children that are part of the program wish to go to Disney World with their families. We learned that all the families traveling to the parks stayed at GKTW as a part of their trip. GKTW is a 70-acre, non-profit resort in Central Florida that creates magical memories for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. GKTW has welcomed more than 130,000 families from all 50 states and over 75 countries for their dream wish vacation. Having the opportunity to volunteer with A Wish Come True, Inc., and experience telling a family they will be going to Disney to stay at GKTW, has truly helped us connect with this new partner. Through the work of GKTW, thousands of children battling illness have been blessed with smiles, positivity, and sweet memories; we knew we had to be a part of this mission!
There was an instant synergy and excitement between the organization and our division, which only grew when members from B2B and CHARITY BY DESIGN were able to tour and experience the resort while traveling to Florida for business. They came back to headquarters with enthusiasm and shared the many different activities families had access to when visiting the GKTW Village. One of the most memorable was the Ice Cream for Breakfast Campaign, which was inspired by a Village wish family who celebrates the anniversary of their trip by eating ice cream for breakfast. GKTW now invites families to the Village’s Ice Cream Palace where complimentary, all-you-can-eat ice cream is provided from morning until night. This became the inspiration for our newest bangle, Sweet Treats, which was created for the quickly- developing partnership. The bangle, a 3-D ice cream cone, is a reminder of blissful energy in connection to shared moments with loved ones. It is a carefree symbol of the simple enjoyment found in savoring a decadent treat. Our hope is that it is encouragement to fill each day with joyful moments and to celebrate life’s goodness before it melts away.
Roger Williams Park Zoo
Bangle: Ode to the Owl
Consciousness about protecting the planet and educating its people
Just in time to celebrate our one year anniversary with partner Roger Williams Park Zoo, (RWPZ,) the Ode to the Owl bangle was designed to kick-off the second year of our partnership and continue raising funds for this community-driven institution. In August of 2013, CHARITY BY DESIGN officially partnered with RWPZ with the launch of the Monkey bangle. Through the sale of this bangle, we were able to help RWPZ in their mission to provide science and environmental education programs to over 30,000 inquiring children from pre-school age through high school. The Monkey bangle debuted at RWPZ 2013 Zoobilee Celebration, the zoo’s largest fundraiser where Alex and Ani supported as co-presenting sponsor.
Over the last year, we have had many opportunities to see RWPZ at work with the community. The interactive, educational, and engaging trips to the zoo were seen firsthand by Alex and Ani employees and current partners, like the American Heart Association, at various events throughout the year.
Keeping with tradition, the Ode to the Owl debuted in June at the 2014 Zoobilee, where we celebrated the success of our partnership and the exciting future of where it’s headed. In recognition of the partnership, RWPZ announced in 2014, it would give Alex and Ani naming rights to its new and improved Farmyard exhibit. We are excited to be a part of the zoo’s continuing efforts and impact it’s making on so many in our own community.
Launch Date: June 30th, 2014
On the road to helping find a cure for cancer.
The Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) is an organization that raises money through an annual bike-a-thon in Massachusetts for life-saving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, another CHARITY BY DESIGN partner. After learning more about PMC through friends who volunteered with the organization, our Vice President, Nicki Maher, was eager to partner with PanMass and join them in their dedication of giving back to Dana-Farber.
The relationship started when Pan-Mass founder, Billy Starr, was invited to Alex and Ani World Headquarters in Cranston, RI to meet with CHARITY BY DESIGN and to tour the offices. There was an instant connection based on the energy of both brands and how perfectly they aligned for the greater good. The team was then invited as guests to the 2013 Heavy Hitters event to see the important work the organization and its volunteers take part in. The Heavy Hitters event recognizes top fundraisers who were able to collect a minimum of $6,700.00 during their individual fundraising campaigns the previous year.
Our team was instantly inspired by the event and by the spotlighted riders who were committed to making such a difference. Founder, Creative Director and CEO, Carolyn Rafaelian and CHARITY BY DESIGN created an exclusive charm for the 2014 Heavy Hitters event to honor and thank all the individuals who are supporting the organization by raising money for and spreading its mission.
During the planning for the event and design concept, CHARITY BY DESIGN officially partnered with PMC and fittingly designed the Bike Charm for the launch in June of 2014. Its symbolism of freedom and the invitation to journey stays true to the positive message of both PMC and CHARITY BY DESIGN. Our goal for this partnership is to encourage all those who are inspired to give back by helping them find their own path and traveling into new and exciting possibilities.
Launch Date: June 11, 2014
Encouraging strength and faith throughout life’s ever-changing journey.
CHARITY BY DESIGN began working with the Alzheimer’s Association through its various chapters over the past three years. The initial relationship with the local chapters enabled us to learn more about their important mission of eliminating Alzheimer’s through advancement of research and to help support the many individuals and families who are touched by Alzheimer’s and dementia. We felt such a connection with the organization and have seen overwhelming support from the community for not only the organization, but for those diagnosed and the many families that are affected by it.
We knew that we wanted to align our missions and help spread awareness and fundraising through a partnership. Helping us bring this plan to fruition, the Rhode Island chapter connected us to the national office to begin taking our relationship to the next level. We are proud to partner with an organization that is such a vital support system for all who are traveling on this difficult road. Keeping positivity and strength in mind, the Sunflower bangle was created to symbolize faith, optimism, and an encouragement to seek joy on the darkest days. The Sunflower Charm perfectly celebrates the power that grows from staying ever positive, facing toward the light.
The ONE Campaign
Launch Date: May 7, 2014
Alex and Ani’s CHARITY BY DESIGN started following and learning more about The ONE Campaign through their group of ONE Moms bloggers. ONE Moms is a movement of moms using their extraordinary voices and collective influence to spread awareness about the fight against extreme poverty and preventable disease. While serving as a committee member for a local non-profit organization, our Vice President of CHARITY BY DESIGN, Nicki Maher, introduced the department’s mission and goals with a fellow committee member, who was also a ONE Mom blogger. Through that conversation, she also learned about ONE’s mission and strong social media and blogging presence through ONE Moms that she knew perfectly aligned with Alex and Ani. We quickly learned that these worldwide bloggers were very passionate and influential people holding a large supportive fan base with so many ways to spread the word.
As our Charmed by Charity ™ events were evolving, an event was hosted for ONE and enabled us to learn even more about their outreach and amazing mission; to fight extreme poverty and preventable disease in the poorest places on the planet, particularly in Africa. We were beyond intrigued by their levels of advocacy and education as well as their dedication to give back to locations and to ensure support is widespread.
Through guest blogging, in-store events, and continuous conversations that evolved into an ever-growing relationship, we strived to work together with ONE and utilize their outstanding social media support and unique blogging outlets.
As our relationship turned into a natural partnership, the New Beginnings bangle was launched as a perfectly crafted 8-sided sun. This symbolizes the universal law that life’s outcomes are a reflection of your efforts and that you have limitless opportunity to positively lead and affect others.
We are confident that this new partnership will not only bring social support to ONE’s mission, but will also allow us to further spread the positive message that change is possible and we are all an important part in creating it.
Launch Date: April 30th, 2014
Here at Alex and Ani, we understand how important it is to have peace of the mind and heart. Through all of our CHARITY BY DESIGN relationships, we strive to make this an important part of our messaging. This common understanding goes hand in hand with a very important factor in living a healthy life; mental wellness. Our relationship with PeaceLove Foundation began through their ongoing creative relationship with AAU (Alex and Ani University), where we soon learned that PeaceLove Foundation not only shares our full mission, but also goes one step further into creatively spreading the mission through the form of art and creative design.
This vital foundation initially took form because co-founder, artist Jeffrey Sparr, battles obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Through 25 years of firsthand experience, he has become an inspiration and has set an example that through knowledge a better tomorrow is possible. Using various creative forms of art, Jeff and his cousin, co-founder Matthew Kaplan, discovered that they are able to bring peace and open-mindedness to all who experience their unique workshops.
The importance of increasing awareness about mental health is ongoing. Heightened awareness will allow community members, adults and youths to come forward and receive support. Now, more than ever, there is an increase in mental health awareness because of organizations such as the PeaceLove Foundation. Due to this support, significant strides are being made to help people live a full and peaceful life.
We have been lucky enough to collaborate with PeaceLove in the past on projects such as our Alex and Ani corporate retreat and other partner events that utilized PeaceLove’s message and creative ideas. We also teamed up with PeaceLove at partner Tuesday’s Children’s 2013 Project Common Bond, which brought together youths who were affected by terrorism. PeaceLove hosted a workshop called ‘A Walk in My Shoes,’ where teens used shoes to create art projects that told the story of their personal journey. Through these experiences, numerous meetings, and brainstorm sessions, the partnership formed and evolved quickly.
We are excited to partner with, PeaceLove Foundation, with the launch of the Peace of Mind charm bangle. The bangle was first unveiled locally during the opening of their new PeaceLove studio space on February 13, 2014. Friends, family, and community supporters gathered in Rhode Island to honor PeaceLove and the amazing work they are continuing throughout the state, with the plan of taking their mission nationwide. The design truly represents the inspiration and dedication PeaceLove puts into finding a creative outlet for those impacted by mental illness.
Donate Life America
Launch Date: March 24th, 2014
CHARITY BY DESIGN’s dedication in spreading awareness for the importance of organ donation began with a couple’s amazing story. Our VP, Nicki Maher, was introduced to Greg and Andrea Hampton through friends who connected over their love for ice hockey. During his freshman athletic physical in college in 1993, the doctors noticed inconsistencies with Greg’s heart, which led to a diagnosis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a hereditary disease that Greg's father had suffered and passed away from when Greg was a child.
Greg soon learned he would need a heart transplant and was placed on a waiting list in 2012 and in February 2013, he was admitted to Tufts Medical Center waiting for the call. Keeping Greg and Andrea in our thoughts throughout their journey, we developed a relationship with Rhode Island Organ Donor Awareness Coalition. This led to a national partnership with Donate Life America, an organization committed to increasing organ, eye and tissue donation. During National Donate Life Month in April 2013, Andrea planned a Boston Charmed by Charity™ event to benefit Donate Life. She also guest blogged about her experience, which led to many of our supporters becoming donors after reading her story.
In August 2013, Greg and Andrea received news that changed their lives; he was getting a new heart. As hard as the waiting period was, the couple felt like they had been blessed with an acute awareness of how short life can be and to appreciate every single day. We’re excited that the Donate Life partnership will help raise much needed awareness on the importance of this selfless decision to donate.
The Life Preserver was chosen to symbolize safety and peace during unpredictable times. Like Greg and Andrea’s story, it encourages strength, capability and the will power to hold yourself above water to prevail stronger and more hopeful than ever before.
March of Dimes®
Launch Date: March 11th, 2014
Our relationship with the March of Dimes ® formed when the RI chapter reached out to us for support for their 75th anniversary celebrations. We teamed up with the local chapter to support their annual March of Dimes® Signature Chefs Auction event in Newport. Due to our partnership with Woman & Infants Hospital and the connection we have with the local March of Dimes® chapter, we decided to take the relationship from a local to a national level.
The March of Dimes ® continues to support and help mothers have full-term pregnancies. They are committed to researching the current issues that threaten the health of babies. Alex and Ani, a female-driven company, fully encompasses the importance of the strong relationship between mother and child and supporting more healthy babies.
The Special Delivery bangle was chosen to symbolize a delivery of a new baby and reminds our supporters how special the bond is between mother and child. This symbol is also a great reminder to new mothers that a new baby is a true miracle and a celebration of life.
American Heart Association
Bangle: Whole Heart
Giving back with a whole heart
For the second time around, CHARITY BY DESIGN’s current partner, the American Heart Association, had asked Alex and Ani’s CHARITY BY DESIGN to be involved in their live auction for the 2013 Southern New England Heart Ball. Already having the Best Friends bangle set created for the organization when the partnership first launched in 2012, Designer Carolyn Rafaelian, Founder and Creative Director, generously offered a once in a lifetime opportunity for the winner of the auction. They would be able to help create a custom bangle for 2014 with Carolyn and the CHARITY BY DESIGN team to benefit the American Heart Association.
Lisa and Ed Medeiros were the proud winners of the auction package and excitedly met with Carolyn and the team to assist in the design process. The Medeiros’ are high school sweethearts and have been married for over 28 years. Ed shared a quote “Charity is not an organization, rather a way of life.” The couple has lived by this belief throughout their success. Through their company, East Commerce Solutions, Inc., they continue to be generous supporters of the non-profit world through organizations like the Joe Andruzzi Foundation and of course, the American Heart Association.
Throughout the creative process with Carolyn, the Whole Heart Bangle was designed. The bangle’s inspiration came from how the Medeiros’ live their lives; with open hearts, not only for each other, but also for the community. This bangle fully represents wearing your heart on your sleeve while sharing kindness and (+) energy with all those who come your way.