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ANN INC. and Vital Voices Award 40 ANNpower Grants to Future Women Leaders

NEW YORK, Sept. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- ANN INC. (NYSE: ANN), the parent Company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, and Vital Voices Global Partnership are pleased to announce the 2014 ANNpower Grantees. Through the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, ANN INC. will fully fund 40 project grants in communities throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

The ANNpower Grantees represent a select number of ANNpower Fellows. These young women are currently high school or college students who are committed to driving positive social change in their home communities and globally. The funded projects address a wide range of critical social issues, including: providing opportunities to introduce youth to computer science and programming, promoting "green schools" and environmental awareness, supporting the homeless, and providing assimilation resources to immigrant populations.

"Our ANNpower Grantees are remarkable young women who, with the proper resources, will become agents of change in their communities," said Kay Krill, President and CEO of ANN INC. "Their energy and passion is contagious and through projects like these, our ANNpower Grantees and Fellows have positively impacted more than 16,000 people in 12 countries around the world."

As part of the ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum, the ANNpower Grantees were provided with leadership training and mentorship from global women leaders in business, politics, and media, including executives from ANN INC. Following the Forum, they were challenged to develop projects addressing societal issues, both locally and globally. This year, the grant application process was open to both current and previous ANNpower Fellows in an effort to continue investing in projects that are already making an impact and have the most potential to continue doing so.

"Through our partnership with ANN INC. we're able to help support these young women year after year, as they go out and creatively make social progress on the causes closest to their hearts," said Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices. "Providing mentoring and networking opportunities will nurture and grow confidence in this future generation of female leaders."

The 2014 ANNpower Grantees awarded are:

  • Abby from Long Valley, NJ who is making participation on recreational sports teams a reality for every child
  • Abigail from Leonardtown, MD who is providing free swimming safety classes
  • Alexa from Leawood, KS who is connecting communities through a debate camp
  • Alexandra from Thousand Oaks, CA who is empowering the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Alexandra from Chappaqua, NY who is facilitating connections between incarcerated mothers and their children
  • Anna Bell from New Orleans, LA who is bringing fun and educational environmental initiatives to schools across her community
  • Anjana from Shorewood, WI who is building girls' confidence through chess camps
  • Ava from Chicago, IL who is creating a summer exchange program for girls from the Lakota tribe and those in Chicago
  • Camille from Atlanta, GA who is using photography and art to raise awareness about tough local, national and global issues
  • Carolina from Centreville, VA who is closing the achievement gap through after school enrichment programs and networking lunches
  • Catherine (Callie) from New Canaan, CT who is providing free portraits to breast cancer patients, survivors and their families
  • Charlotte from Leavenworth, WA who is promoting environmental stewardship through recycled art classes
  • Claire from Madera, CA who is creating a girls' mentorship program
  • Claire from New York, NY who is creating important dialogue to help decrease the stigma around mental illness
  • Elanie from Riverdale, NY who is creating a series of health workshops and an online discussion about sexual health
  • Erin from Williamston, MI who is making science fun and interesting for elementary school students
  • Hanna from Tallahassee, FL who is connecting American students with girls in Myanmar through a web-based entrepreneurship and leadership curriculum
  • Jacqueline from Streamwood, IL who is creating a mentoring and networking program for high school and college-aged students
  • Jamayrah from Trenton, NJ who is recognizing outstanding student leaders in her community and raising awareness about the issues that are important to them
  • Jeanesha from Trujillo Alto, PR who is raising awareness about human trafficking amongst the Dominican population in Puerto Rico
  • Karina from New York, NY who is bringing computer science education to under-resourced schools
  • Kate from Milton, MA who is creating media literacy clubs for middle and high school girls to challenge misrepresentations of women in the media
  • Katie from Chapel Hill, NC who is launching a tutoring and mentoring program between high school students who are native English speakers and Karen students from Myanmar
  • Laurie from Tallahassee, FL who is raising awareness and mobilizing support for an anti-human trafficking bill in the Florida state legislature
  • Laura from Aguadilla, PR who is organizing a student-led campaign to prevent child abuse in Puerto Rico
  • Lauren from Georgetown, Ontario who is inspiring kids in her community to get involved in environmental advocacy through school competitions and service projects.
  • Lindsay from Quincy, MA who is organizing a young women's leadership summit to inspire her peers to get involved in global issues
  • Marilu from Deltona, FL who is creating workshops for girls on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to inspire more young women to enter these fields
  • Marley from Bryn Mawr, PA who is organizing resume writing and business skills workshops for women living at a shelter in Philadelphia
  • Mary Kate from Watson, LA who is raising awareness about childhood cancer
  • Meera from Bellevue, WA who is building confidence and leadership skills through interactive art sessions
  • Nadya from Portland, OR who is distributing feminine hygiene products to homeless women and girls
  • Rara from Athens, GA who is hosting weekly art classes for elementary school students
  • Rebecca from Long Island, NY who is working with students and victims of domestic violence to create a public mural to raise awareness about this issue
  • Samsara from Albuquerque, NM who is providing ESL classes to new immigrants
  • Shiza from Chicago, IL who is inspiring her peers to address education, poverty and violence through mentoring and art
  • Stephanie from Germantown, MD who is providing tutoring and support for refugees from Central America
  • Stuti from Melbourne, FL who is hosting monthly English-language pronunciation workshops for immigrants
  • Teresa from Oceanside, CA who is organizing mother-daughter workshops on topics such as health and pursuing higher education
  • Yanyu from Faribault, MN who is creating cultural awareness through teaching workshops on traditional Chinese art forms

Karina Shah, 2014 ANNpower Fellow and Grantee, is passionate about making computer science more accessible to low-income youth. "I am so thankful to receive an ANNpower Grant to help fund my idea to provide low-cost educational tools to teach basic computer science principles so that all youth today have the same chance to compete in this technology driven world," said Karina.

To learn more about the 2014 ANNpower Grantees, the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, or the ANNpower Fellow application process, please visit ANNpower.org.

About the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative
The ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative is a groundbreaking partnership between ANN INC. and Vital Voices Global Partnership to empower young women from across the U.S. with the leadership skills they need to affect global progress, invest in their communities and begin their journeys as the next generation of leaders. The ANNpower Initiative aims to provide leadership skills and mentorship to 50 ANNpower Fellows annually and is designed to positively impact more than 5,500 people in their collective communities and around the world each year. Visit ANNpower.org for more information.

About ANN INC.
ANN INC. is the parent Company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, two of the leading women's specialty retail fashion brands in North America.  As of August 2, 2014, the Company operated 1,040 Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Factory, LOFT and LOFT Outlet stores in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada. Our Ann Taylor and LOFT brands are also available online in more than 100 countries worldwide at AnnTaylor.com and LOFT.com. Visit ANNINC.com for more information (NYSE: ANN).

About Vital Voices Global Partnership
Vital Voices Global Partnership is a leading non-governmental organization that identifies, invests in and brings visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities. Founded by Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 1997, the organization trains and mentors women leaders as agents of transformative change in economic development, human rights and political participation. The Vital Voices Global Leadership Network includes more than 14,000 leaders representing 144 countries who have trained and mentored 500,000 additional women and girls in their communities. Visit vitalvoices.org to learn more.

SOURCE ANN INC.

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