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Philanthropist in Focus: How Ralph Lauren’s $10 Million Pledge Responds to the COVID-19 Crisis

The name Ralph Lauren is well known to every reader of Polo Lifestyles.  His design sense and branding have made the culture of polo iconic even for those who may know nothing about the sport itself.

The creative talents of Ralph Lauren have also extended to philanthropy.  He founded the Ralph Lauren Foundation, now known as the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation, to carry out his charitable efforts.  Often focused on health issues, Lauren spearheaded Fashion Targets Breast Cancer in 1990, and then in 2000, he launched the Pink Pony Fund to continue efforts to fight against cancer. In 2003, Lauren continued that passion with founding the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

In late March of 2020, the Foundation pledged $10 million USD to efforts in combatting COVID-19. Among the initiatives, they will be supporting financially is the World Health Organization’s (WHO) efforts through their COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. The WHO and its many partners, including UNICEF and the United Nations Children’s Fund, are working to track and understand the novel coronavirus, ensure that patients the world over are getting the care they need and working on research and development of vaccines and treatments.

Another focus for the donation will be ensuring that the brand’s philanthropic commitment to cancer will be expanded through the Pink Pony Fund.  People with cancers are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus as a result of this underlying health condition and typically have some type of immunosuppression.

Lauren will also focus a part of the $10 million pledge to the Fashion Fund for COVID-19 of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and Vogue magazine. Originally started in the aftermath of 9/11 this relaunch of the fund is designed to assist those within the fashion community who’ve been impacted by the coronavirus.  

Lauren’s support of a fund to assist those in the fashion world is a natural for the brand’s philanthropy.  So too is the fund created for his own employees, the Emergency Assistance Fund. Part of the $10 million pledged will go into this Emergency Assistance Fund to support employees “facing circumstances like medical, elder care, or childcare needs” according to the company’s website.

Finally, Lauren is putting his manufacturing partners in the U.S. to work in producing and donating 250,000 masks and 25,000 isolation gowns.

So remember, next time you choose to don the “pony” remember its not just a fashion statement, but a statement on the power of philanthropy. Bravo Ralph.


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