November 13, 2014 @ 10:30 AM
Concern for the well-being of others doesn't start and end with the holidays, of course. For the “Shining Stars” story in the December issue of InStyle, we caught up with six famous faces who are shedding light on the spirit of giving throughout the year.
Tory Burch dresses some of Hollywood's biggest actresses on a regular basis, but the designer still makes time to help other women achieve their dreams through The Tory Burch Foundation, a support network she created galvanized by her experience building a company that offers female entrepreneurs easier access to affordable loans and business education.
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"When I was in college, I spent a semester at sea traveling to places like Egypt and India. The experience made me want to give back to women in a more significant way," Burch tells Katherine Schwarzenegger in InStyle’s December issue. "Later on, when starting my own business, I realized that women in America—and all over the world—have a very difficult time getting capital. I learned how to run a business while on the job, so I was relying on mentors and entrepreneurial education, which many don't have access to."
This lack of a relationship between philanthropy and business is what really propelled Burch to take action. "Together with Babson College, we developed a curriculum for a mini nine-week business program, and one of the most exciting moments of my career was when we had our first graduating class, in 2013," she says. "It's inspiring to meet women of all ages from different industries with one common thread: They are tenacious. Many of these women are doing great things, but they still don't believe in themselves, so something we strive to give them is the confidence they need to succeed."
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To donate, purchase Tory Burch in Color or visit toryburchfoundation.org and follow on Twitter @toryburchfdn. Plus, watch Tory Burch's video above to learn more about how her work with the organization, and pick up the December issue of InStyle for the full Shining Stars feature, on newsstands and available for digital download Nov. 14.
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[MUSIC] So, why did you decide to start the Tory Burch Foundation? It was interesting. When I was planning my company, and started with a business plan, it was part of the business plan from the very beginning. Was there a specific life experience that you or someone you know had really triggered you to start it? My parents were always incredibly generous. They took a lot of different kinds of people in. And were always, always taught us about giving back and philanthropy. But I went on a program in college called [UNKNOWN]. And I think seeing Calcutta and Egypt and a lot of developing countries really set me to want to travel and also really give back in a more significant way. And in doing the research for your foundation, what was the most surprising piece of information? From the beginning, I knew I wanted it to be about women and children and it took me a fair amount of time to figure out what I could do that would really be beneficial and it was really what my knowledge was. At the end of the day I am starting a business and I realize that when you look at access to capital women in America and all of the world have a very difficult time. So for me it was about mentorship. Access to capital and entrepreneurial education, and those were things that a lot of people don't have access to, so that was the start of it. What's been the hardest experience that you've had when doing this foundation? When I went to fundraise, when I started my company, one of the many things that I heard was never talk about philanthropy and business in the same sentence. And to me that really propelled me to go in a different direction and really make it a significant part of we were doing. What do you think has been the biggest change in having the Tory Burch foundation? How has that impacted or changed your life? I mean for me it's just so inspiring meeting these women. The one common thread they have is they are super tenacious. One of the surprises that I realize is that women don't have a lot of confidence. And I think these are stellar women they're doing great things that really didn't believe in themselves and that's something we talk about. Why you think that is that women don't believe in themselves? I think it's been around for as long as anything has. When you look at pay and what men make versus women, it should be about the quality of work, not the gender. Can you remember, or reference a specific interaction that you've had that has showed you, how much of an impact your foundation has had? We started several programs, and one of our partners. Is Goldman Sachs and 10,000 small businesses. We together [UNKNOWN] and write a curriculum, and it's sort of a mini-business school in nine ways. And one of the most exciting moments of my time since the foundation started in 2009 with our first graduating class. What is it like the ultimate marker of success for your foundation? Well, We also have a partner with Bank of. of America, and we now have access to a lot of capital. So, for us to start seeing the capital administered and given out across the country to women is pretty exciting. When I started the foundation I really thought about what would impact and scale look like, and now I can see it. [MUSIC]