SAN FRANCISCO – August 25, 2009 – Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) today announced it will award a $50,000 grant to recognize Aaryn Pratt and her work with Marin Advocates for Children (MAC) as part of Gap Inc.’s annual Founders’ Award. This award honors the philanthropic legacy of Gap Inc. founders Doris and Don Fisher and is given to employees who best demonstrate personal community involvement and propose innovative solutions that deliver a positive social impact.
Aaryn, a Gap Inc. employee who lives in San Rafael, California, received this year’s award for her commitment to her community partner, MAC, and her innovative idea to further engage volunteers through an e-learning program.
MAC runs a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Program, which serves abused, neglected, and/or abandoned children between birth and age 20 who have become dependents of the court. A CASA volunteer is assigned to help the child navigate through the court system and find a safe and permanent home.
Aaryn will use the grant fund to develop and launch an e-learning program to expand the agency’s learning and education programs for its volunteers. CASA volunteers go through rigorous interviews and a 32-hour initial training. The e-learning would supplement this training; provide back-up training options and a more blended learning experience. It would also serve as an option for the required 12 hours of annual continuing education after the initial training is completed.
"We are excited about the opportunity the Founders’ Award will give us to educate our CASA volunteers, board members and the community through an e-learning platform.” said Cyndy Doherty, Executive Director, MAC. “It is one more way we are fulfilling our mission to prevent child abuse through education and training."
This e-learning project has the potential to be used by other CASA groups and ultimately create a “ripple effect” of learning, dialogue, outreach, and feedback.
"Being a part of the Founders' Award means so much to me both as an employee and a community member,” said Aaryn, who also serves as a board member for MAC. “I can't believe I work for an organization that truly allows and encourages me to be what's possible.”
“As a former foster child, I am personally honored that the Founders' Award will provide me the opportunity to further my personal mission of preventing child abuse and to give back to a society that helped me to be me."
Gap Inc. will also award two additional grants to recognize outstanding community involvement.
Anita Smith and Sarah Taylor Oden, Seattle store employees from Gap and Banana Republic, respectively, were recognized for their work with City Year. Each year, City Year engages 1,200 community volunteers in physical transformational projects in underserved neighborhoods. City Year provides 17 to 24-year-olds an opportunity to serve their community full-time for 10 months.
Anita and Sarah’s grant money will be used to create a Youth Service Council (YSC), comprised of 10 diverse high school youth. The YSC will work with a special team of full-time corps members, The Community Engagement Team (CET), to recruit high-school age volunteers and receive leadership training. YSC members will learn the skills necessary to plan community volunteerism events, conduct community asset mapping and manage volunteers.
Stacy Lewis, a San Bruno, Calif. resident, was recognized for her contributions to New Leaf Services for our Community - one of the nation’s leading outpatient centers for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities. The organization provides more than 25,000 therapy sessions to over 1,400 clients annually and maintains a strong commitment to serving the neediest individuals: low income, at risk for homelessness, unemployed, and dual and tri-diagnosed.
Stacy’s grant money will support the Volunteer Enhancement Task Force (VETF), which creates a program to support administrative, finance, and development functional areas. The VETF also links volunteer responsibilities to clinical and social service programs. The paid time would be used to design, develop, and implement an orientation and training curriculum for volunteers.
“We believe in recognizing our employees who invest in their local communities around the world,” said Bobbi Silten, Chief Foundation Officer, Gap Inc. “We’re proud of this year’s Founders’ Award winners for embracing the philanthropic spirit of Gap Inc.’s founders and using their passion for community and their creativity to make a difference.”
About Gap Inc.
Gap Inc. is a leading global specialty retailer offering clothing, accessories and personal care products for men, women, children and babies under the Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta brand names. Fiscal 2008 sales were $14.5 billion. Gap Inc. operates more than 3,100 stores in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Japan and Ireland. In addition, Gap Inc. is expanding its international presence with franchise agreements in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. For more information, please visit www.gapinc.com.