About the Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards

The Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards is a not-for-profit program that gives financial awards to everyday heroes who are making the world a better place for women and children, specifically in the areas of health, education, social reform and esteem. These awards honor the lifelong contributions of Roslyn S. Jaffe.

The 2016 program launched in April 2016 and received a record number of nominations by its June deadline. An esteemed selection committee was established to review the applications and we were pleased to announce the winners of the Third Annual Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards this fall. Three applicants received grants from The Ascena Foundation. The grand prize winner received $100,000 for their organization, and our two runners-up each received $25,000 grants!

About Roslyn S. Jaffe

Roslyn S. Jaffe co-founded the first dressbarn store in 1962; currently she is Director Emeritus of ascena retail group, inc. She is a graduate from Simmons College, and was awarded an honorary Doctorate degree in management from Simmons College in 2011.

In 1962, Roslyn S. Jaffe was a working mother who, with her husband Elliott, saw a need and had a brilliant business idea - a one-stop-shop that offered the convenience of a value-based, yet, fashion forward "work" wardrobe solution for busy women, like herself. Roslyn and Elliot seized the opportunity and opened a small store named dressbarn in Stamford, CT and helped transform it into what is now Ascena Retail Group, Inc., a $7.4 billion family of retail brands including dressbarn, maurices, Justice, Lane Bryant, Catherines, Ann Taylor, Loft and Lou & Grey. A true trailblazer and entrepreneur, Mrs. Jaffe credits her success to strength, determination, and a can-do attitude. But, most of all, she credits the company's success to a strong team of family, friends, and associates.

Understanding the needs of her co-workers, who were also "working moms," Roslyn Jaffe encouraged a close-knit community where associates could rely on each other. In addition, Mrs. Jaffe supported like-minded organizations in the community and was an early advocate for Dress for Success®, an organization that promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life. This "take care of your own" camaraderie is what inspired the company years later to establish ascena Cares, the company's group of charitable organizations.

Why the lemon tree?

Mrs. Jaffe believes in the adage, “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” At ascena we believe this expression is about seeing opportunity where others may not. It’s about making the best of every situation and always moving forward. It is Mrs. Jaffe’s quiet strength, determination and commitment to giving back to the communities in which we do business that has inspired these awards.

About ascena Foundation

Ascena, through the ascena Foundation, is passionate about making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. The ascena Foundation supports ascena’s family of purpose-driven brands that focus their charitable giving for the benefit of women and children, and the causes most important to them. The ascena Foundation and other charitable programs have been established as part of our ascena Cares (www.ascenacares.com) program.