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ANN INC. and Vital Voices Award 48 ANNpower Grants to Emerging Female Leaders

NEW YORK, Sept. 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- ANN INC., a subsidiary of ascena retail group, inc. and parent company of Ann Taylor, LOFT, and Lou & Grey, and Vital Voices Global Partnership are proud to announce the 2015 ANNpower Grantees. Through the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, ANN INC. will fund 48 projects in communities throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

The ANNpower Grantees are young women currently in high school or college who are committed to driving positive social change around the world. The funded projects will initiate change by addressing critical issues, including: eliminating the stigma of children with disabilities, closing the gender gap in STEM, promoting green waste disposal, and providing supplemental instruction to disadvantaged students.

"These young women have the ability to make a serious impact in the lives of people near and far," said Kay Krill, President and CEO of ANN INC. "It is an honor to award these inspiring individuals with grants to help their visions come to life and spark the change they wish to see in this world."

As part of the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, the ANNpower Grantees were provided with leadership training and mentorship from global women leaders during the ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum. With the tools and support provided at the Forum, and real life advice from established female leaders, the ANNpower Grantees were empowered to develop projects to initiate sustainable change, both locally and globally.

"Through our partnership with ANN INC., we're able to foster the ideas of young women looking to make a positive change in the world, and support them while they develop their projects," said Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices. "By providing strong mentorship and leadership training, our goal is to inspire confidence and nurture the leaders of tomorrow."

The 2015 ANNpower Grantees awarded are:

  • Abby from Long Valley, NJ who is providing homeless and less privileged children with the opportunity to join sports teams by giving them equipment.
  • Abby from Shaker Heights, OH who is creating dialogue on the intersection of police brutality and race in her community.
  • Alisha from Portland, OR who is providing children in homeless shelters with educational tools and recreational activities.
  • Amanda from Los Angeles, CA who is organizing creative writing and literacy courses for underachieving middle school students.
  • Angie from Palm Bay, FL who is creating a peer tutoring club at her high school where students will receive academic support. 
  • AnnaBell from New Orleans, LA who is raising awareness of environmentally sustainable practices among local schools.
  • Annisha from Florence, AL who is providing a summer enrichment program designed to mitigate summer learning loss.
  • Ava from Libertyville, IL who is holding a music camp for girls living on Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
  • Beemnet from Silver Spring, MD who is connecting women in shelters in Baltimore and Ethiopia and providing them with health and professional resources.
  • Camille from Atlanta, GA who is raising awareness of genocide and gender-based violence within conflict among her college community.
  • Caroline from Traverse City, MI who will provide mentoring and recreational activities to disadvantaged youths in her community.
  • Cassie from Brooklyn, NY who will use social media to promote positive body image among adolescent girls across the country.
  • Catherine from Norwalk, CT who celebrates women impacted by breast cancer by offering free portrait services.
  • Charlotte from Leavenworth, WA who works with adolescents to use visual art as a tool for social change in their communities.
  • Chelsea from Brooklyn, NY who is empowering young girls through an after-school program in New York City.
  • Claire from Madera, CA who runs a mentor program to prepare 8th grade girls for the challenges of high school.
  • Elanie from Bronx, NY who organizes train the trainer workshops centered on self-care and goal setting for young girls.
  • Ellie from Weston, MA who will connect adolescent girls to businesswomen mentors in the Boston area.
  • Elika from Johns Creek, GA who will provide infant care necessities to low-income families with newborns in Georgia.
  • Elyse from Tallahassee, FL who is launching a nationwide campaign to promote positive uses of social media.
  • Emily from Setauket, NY who is selling socially conscious apparel to raise awareness about human rights abuses in the clothing industry.
  • Enerys from Toa Alta, PR who is promoting girls' participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) by leading a girls' science club across Puerto Rico.
  • Gabriella from Rockville, MD who is raising awareness about the environment by implementing an efficient recycling system at her high school.
  • Hannah from Brentwood, TN who is providing emotional support through recreational activity for chronically ill children.
  • Hannah from Monrovia, CA who is creating an after-school robotics program for students in underfunded schools in South Central LA.
  • Ileri from Duluth, GA who is providing feminine hygiene products to underprivileged women in the Atlanta area.
  • Jaiden from Chicago, IL who is teaching women how to capitalize on their coding ability through seminars and workshops.
  • Karina from New York, NY who is providing computer science instruction to students from underfunded schools.
  • Kasandra from Framingham, MA who is teaching middle school girls basic coding concepts through an interactive curriculum.
  • Kate from Norwalk, CT who is creating a support network for LGBTQ teenagers from 18 schools in New York and Connecticut.
  • Katherine from Eden Prairie, MN who is implementing a STEM summer camp in Minnesota for middle school girls.
  • Laura from Aguadilla, PR who is incorporating awareness of child abuse into health class curriculums across Puerto Rico.
  • Lauren from Little Rock, AR who is reducing the gender gap in high school debate teams by organizing workshops for middle school girls.
  • Lilia from Glen Rock, NJ My project who is teaching journalism to fourth and fifth graders, which then funds suitcases for local foster children.
  • Marlen from La Jolla, CA who is inspiring ambition in young Latina girls by holding a professional and leadership forum that exposes them to high-achieving female professionals. 
  • Mary Kate from Denham Springs, LA who is raising awareness of childhood cancer and providing support to young cancer patients.
  • Meera from Bellevue, WA who is working to engage underprivileged children in classical and traditional art forms. 
  • Molly from Louisville, KY who is creating awareness among teens about mental health issues.
  • Monica from Mechanicsburg, PA who is inspiring and empowering South Asian girls through a mentoring program.
  • Nadira from Phoenix, AZ who is inspiring civic engagement by registering voters and educating and mobilizing the local Latino vote.
  • Nadya from Portland, OR who is distributing feminine hygiene products to homeless women in Portland.
  • Rachel from Rohnert, CA who is providing free dance workshops to youth from low-income families in her community.
  • Rara from Athens, GA who is hosting art classes for elementary school students living in local housing projects.
  • Rebecca from Jericho, NY who is providing art kits through which victims of domestic violence can create art to express themselves.
  • Sabrina from San Antonio, TX who is initiating an art program that connects children with disabilities to their peers in the community.
  • Sarabeth from New Canaan, CT who is implementing ocean health education and hands on art-based learning opportunities in local schools.
  • Stephanie from Dumfries, VA who is organizing a summer program for middle school girls, focusing on business and STEM.
  • Sudan from New York, NY who is raising awareness of race-driven bullying in New York City elementary and middle schools.

"I'm so thankful to receive a grant from ANN INC. to help me bring my community project to life and help inspire adolescent girls to realize and pursue their professional passions," said Marlen, a 2015 ANNpower Fellow and Grantee, who is holding a forum in San Diego, California where accomplished women professionals will serve as mentors and role models for young Latinas ages 12 through 17. "I'm working to empower young girls and this grant is helping me forge tomorrow's leaders."

The grant application process was open to both current and previous ANNpower Fellows in an effort to continue investing in projects that are making a difference. To date, the ANNpower Initiative has trained 200 ANNpower Fellows, who have positively impacted more than 40,000 people in 15 countries around the world.

To learn more about the 2015 ANNpower Grantees, the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, or the ANNpower Fellow application process, please visit

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 for more information.

About ANN INC.
ANN INC. is a subsidiary of ascena retail group, inc. (ASNA), and the parent company of Ann Taylor, LOFT, and Lou & Grey. As of May 2, 2015, the Company operated 1,034 Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Factory, LOFT, LOFT Outlet and Lou & Grey stores in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada. Our brands are also available online in more than 100 countries worldwide at,,  or at our LOFT franchise stores in Mexico.

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 to learn more

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