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The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail.

The NRF Foundation shapes retail’s future by building awareness of the industry through statistics and stories; developing talent through education, experiences and scholarships; and fostering career growth among people who work in retail.

The Givers 2016

The Givers 2016

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The Givers are inspirational change-makers and big-hearted optimists who make retail shine as a force for good. They see a need and use their skills and resources to fill it to the brim, bringing joy and new opportunities to their companies, communities and the whole wide world.

Meet The Givers 2016:

Tory Burch

Tory Burch

Chairman, CEO, Designer, Tory Burch
Founder, Tory Burch Foundation

Tory Burch knows that success is much more than just looking the part. In 2009, the founder of the eponymous lifestyle brand went back to the basics, working to fortify other female entrepreneurs with skills and opportunity.

The Tory Burch Foundation takes a multi-pronged approach. In partnership with Bank of America, there are affordable loans. In partnership with Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses Program, she ensures they have access to business and management education. And then there is the new Fellowship program, offering women entrepreneurs access to education, mentoring and networking opportunities and the chance to compete for a $100,000 grant investment in their business. Tory says she still turns to leaders in different industries for insight—something she wants for others, as well.

Burch has often said funding a foundation was one of the reasons she founded her company. She learned early on that negativity was nothing more than noise — and her sense of positivity, innovation and problem-solving have been a boon not only for herself, but also for legions of successful women behind her. 

“Social responsibility is part of our brand DNA. It’s not about charity. It’s about empowering women to help themselves.”
Tory Burch
Erin Harper

Erin Harper

Senior Program Manager, Local Loan Producer Program
Whole Foods Market

Today’s customers demand transparency about their food sources. For Whole Foods Market, that has led to success, made possible by prioritizing sourcing channels while helping small farmers and business owners build their operations along the way.

The Local Producer Loan Program, overseen by Erin Harper since 2012, has distributed nearly $20 million in loans to help small producers, farmers and artisans expand. The low-interest loans are typically in the $1,000-$100,000 range and have funded groundbreaking growing methods, new product categories and supply chain improvements. Harper also spearheaded a robust mentoring and education program for recipients, offering them access to Whole Foods’ regional and global experts to help grow their businesses.

Under Harper’s management, the loan program has tripled its annual loan count to 60 and quadrupled the amount loaned each year to $4 million. Harper has long been drawn to the “sense of discovery” at Whole Foods — and now it happens in the field, as well.

“I get inspired every day knowing I can help small entrepreneurs put their dreams on our shelves.”
Erin Harper
Bea Perez

Bea Perez

Chief Sustainability Officer
The Coca-Cola Company

When it comes to giving back, Bea Perez does so on a large scale. As chief sustainability officer for one of the most recognized brands worldwide, Perez oversees Coca-Cola’s efforts to improve wellness, bring economic empowerment and, essentially, help save the planet. Because of Coca-Cola’s reach and size, efforts in water stewardship, sustainable packaging, energy efficiency and climate protection have the power to make an impact across the globe.

Perez became Coca-Cola’s first ever chief sustainability officer in 2011. With a background in brand management and product marketing, Perez has led the charge in Coca-Cola’s commitment to sustainability and giving back to the markets they serve. She spearheaded such initiatives as plantbottle, the first ever sustainable PET plastic packaging that is 30 percent plant-based and 100 percent recyclable. But Perez’s efforts also change individual lives. In her current role, Perez directs the efforts of the Coca-Cola Foundation and has helped Coca-Cola improve the economic outlook for more than 5 million women.

Prior to establishing the Office of Sustainability, Perez served as chief marketing officer for Coca-Cola North America. As one of Coca-Cola’s top marketers, she brought brands to life for consumers by developing strategic partnerships with American Idol, NASCAR, the NBA and the Academy Awards, and by working with notable celebrities like Ryan Seacrest and LeBron James.

“I don’t consider my current job a ‘job.’ It’s a passion and I am lucky to work for a company where my personal passion and career have come together.”
Bea Perez
Doug Rauch

Doug Rauch

Founder/President
Daily Table

It is one of the great incongruities: Tons of quality, usable food is discarded each day — roughly 20 pounds per person per month, per the United Nations — yet one in seven Americans is food insecure.

Doug Rauch stands firmly in the gap with Daily Table. His not-for-profit retail store, which opened in Dorchester, Mass., in mid-2015, enables growers, supermarkets, manufacturers and other suppliers to put excess healthy food into the hands of those who need it most. Yet it does so in a way that enables dignity and self-respect among shoppers, providing choice and affordable prices.

Additional locations are in the works, and Rauch, a former president at Trader Joe’s, is the ideal candidate to ensure opportunities abound. He finds his passion in inspiring others to be “more than they thought they could, to do more than they imagined, and to feel an integral part of something bigger than themselves.”

“It's the quality of people that you hire that will generate success. A great idea still needs a great team to execute it.”
Doug Rauch
Kindley Walsh Lawlor

Kindley Walsh Lawlor

Vice President, Global Sustainability
Gap Inc.

Many will say “what’s good for society is good for business.” They just don’t make it a career goal.

Kindley Walsh Lawlor, however, has modeled that mindset throughout her life. Even while a young student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, she loved the idea of helping people feel good about themselves through what they wore.

As vice president of global sustainability at Gap Inc., Lawlor helps ensure the fair and respectful treatment of more than 1 million workers across the globe. Doing so means leading a team “to think bigger, act bolder and to have a positive impact on the people whose lives we touch around the world.” 

In addition to her role at Gap, Lawlor is the U.S. buyer representative on the International Labour Organization’s Better Work Advisory Committee, and has worked to create broader supply chain solutions in various advisory and board roles, prioritizing her efforts on smaller companies focused on worker rights and the creation of decent work.

“Trust your gut when you choose your path. Know what you are great at, and find that role for yourself. And always be willing to take chances!”
Kindley Walsh Lawlor
Laysha Ward

Laysha Ward

President and Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer
Target

Early in her tenure as community relations leader at Target, Laysha Ward was nervous as she prepared to address a crowd of 10,000 at the annual sales meeting. Coretta Scott King was waiting in the wings, and Ward confessed her insecurities.

“This woman of extraordinary courage, wisdom and grace laid her hand on my arm, looked me in the eye, and said, ‘Laysha, you have earned the right to be here. Do what you have to do. Do what you’ve been called upon to do.’”

And she’s been doing it ever since. The former store sales leader for Dayton’s department store now oversees all of Target’s domestic and international grantmaking, sponsorships and cause marketing programs. She also leads Target’s extensive volunteer efforts. In 2015, Target hit $1 billion given to education, and team members logged 1.17 million hours of community volunteering.

In 2015, with Ward at the helm, Target’s corporate responsibility strategy expanded to include a focus on wellness for not only their customers but also their team members and the communities they serve. Through a collaboration with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, Target became the exclusive seller of the UNICEF Kid Power Band — a wearable that gives kids the power to give back.

“Real leadership and growth emerge from our willingness to ask for help and give it.”
Laysha Ward
The List Quiz

Are you a power player, disruptor, dreamer, influencer or giver? Find your retail superstar personality with this interactive quiz.