Teachers will benefit through local Fund for Teachers organization
May 3, 2005 – Jones Apparel Group, Inc. (NYSE: JNY) announced today on National Teacher Day the launch of its first corporate-wide cause program, Jones New York In the Classroom. This nationwide program aims to improve the quality of education for children through the recruitment, retention and support of teachers in America’s public schools. Carrying its signature brand’s name, the Jones New York In The Classroom program not only commits dollars to support America’s teachers, but expansive human resources as well. Jones Apparel Group’s employee network, combined with the support of four leading national non-profit organizations, provides the strength needed to bring the program to life in communities across the country.
Fund for Teachers was one of the four beneficiary nonprofits selected by Jones New York to participate in this national campaign. Fund for Teachers (FFT) is a unique public foundation whose mission is to enrich the lives of schoolteachers and students by providing outstanding teachers with recognition and opportunities for renewal. FFT provides funds for direct grants to teachers to support learning opportunities of their own design. FFT impacts teachers, classrooms, schools and students. Founded by Apache Corp. Chairman, Raymond Plank, the foundation’s enrichment fund is supported by individual and corporate donors.
“This summer teachers from many various US cities will benefit from our grants program,” states Fund for Teachers Executive Director, Karen Kovach-Webb. “Next year we hope to provide grants for even more teachers. The Jones Apparel Group is helping Americans understand how vitally important it is to nurture and invest in teachers. Jones New York In the Classroom will help raise awareness of teachers, the most important resource for our country’s future,” added Kovach-Webb.
Experts predict that two million more new teachers will be needed over the next decade, while recent studies show that approximately one-third of the nation’s teachers leave the profession during the first three years and almost half in the first five years. Research also confirms that not only are teachers the single most important factor in raising student achievement, but the ever-growing teacher shortage has challenged America”s schools, and has had a negative impact on the quality of education for America’s most valuable resources-its children.
“This is Jones Apparel Group’s investment in the future,” said Peter Boneparth, President and Chief Executive Officer of Jones Apparel Group, Inc. “Teachers are essential to the success of our children and Jones Apparel Group wants to take a leadership role in providing immediate and tangible help in the classroom, while encouraging others to join us along the way. We believe that if we appreciate the teacher, we in turn appreciate our children, which is exactly why Jones Apparel Group was inspired to take up this cause,” added Boneparth. Jones Apparel Group is taking a multi-faceted approach to supporting teachers at critical points in their careers, with a focus on four areas: recruitment, retention, professional development and recognition and support. By implementing corporate programs to raise funds and allowing employees paid time off to donate their time toward the initiative, Jones Apparel Group is making a long-term financial and corporate commitment to the following non-profit organizations and foundations: TeachersCount, New Teacher Academy, Fund for Teachers and Adopt-A-Classroom. Each of these groups addresses one or more of the Jones New York In The Classroom areas of focus.
Jones Apparel Group commissioned extensive market research with both their customers and their employees to determine what cause platform they chose. According to Stacy Lastrina, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Jones Apparel Group, “When we asked what issues are important, both employees and consumers lined up behind children and behind education as top priorities.”
Importantly, the Jones Apparel Group commitment goes beyond its initial $1 million grant to its founding non-profit partners. Specifically, each of Jones Apparel Group’s 18,000 employees will be offered the opportunity to volunteer up to three hours of paid time off each month in local communities in support of teachers and education, totaling up to 600,000 hours annually to support the cause. Additionally, Jones Apparel Group will work with its retail partners to launch its in-store cause marketing program, including a limited edition t-shirt featuring artwork from New York City artist Ryan McGinness.
An additional partner in the Jones New York In The Classroom program is The Fruit Company, an online retailer of fine fruits and gourmet gift specialties based in Hood River, Oregon. Working as a preferred gift vendor with Jones Apparel Group, The Fruit Company will donate 20 percent of its sales from gifts purchased on their Web site (www.thefruitcompany.com) with a special promotional code to the Jones New York In the Classroom’s founding non-profit partners.
Jones New York In The Classroom is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to improving the quality of education in America and inspiring others, both individuals and corporations, to do the same through support of teachers and vital teacher-based programs. For more information on Jones New York In The Classroom and their partners please visit www.jnyintheclassroom.org.
Jones Apparel Group, Inc. (www.jny.com), a Fortune 500 company, is a leading designer, marketer and wholesaler of branded apparel, footwear and accessories. We also market directly to consumers through our chain of specialty retail and value-based stores, and operate the Barneys chain of luxury stores. Our nationally recognized brands include Jones New York, Evan-Picone, Norton McNaughton, Gloria Vanderbilt, Erika, l.e.i., Energie, Nine West, Easy Spirit, Enzo Angiolini, Bandolino, Joan & David, Mootsies Tootsies, Sam & Libby, Napier, Judith Jack, Kasper, Anne Klein, Albert Nipon, Le Suit and Barneys New York. The Company also markets apparel under the Polo Jeans Company brand licensed from Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation, costume jewelry under the Tommy Hilfiger brand licensed from Tommy Hilfiger Licensing, Inc. and the Givenchy brand licensed from Givenchy Corporation and footwear under the Dockers Women brand licensed from Levi Strauss & Co. Each brand is differentiated by its own distinctive styling, pricing strategy, distribution channel and target consumer. We primarily contract for the manufacture of our products through a worldwide network of quality manufacturers. We have capitalized on our nationally known brand names by entering into various licenses for several of our trademarks, including Jones New York, Evan-Picone, Anne Klein New York, Nine West, Gloria Vanderbilt and l.e.i., with select manufacturers of women’s and men’s products which we do not manufacture. For more than 30 years, we have built a reputation for excellence in product quality and value, and in operational execution.