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/or 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. 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! 

This year’s Fourth Annual Roslyn S. Jaffe Awards launched on April 1, 2017 with a call for nominations with the nomination period closing on May 31, 2017. An esteemed selection committee has been established to review the applications and winners will be announced this fall. Once again, the ascena Foundation will award three grants. The grand prize winner will receive $100,000 for their organization and two runners up will each receive $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 of 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. 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 billion family of brands including Ann Taylor, LOFT, Lou & Grey, maurices, dressbarn, Lane Bryant, Catherines and Justice.  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, many of whom 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 the ascena Foundation, the philanthropic organization.

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 Foundation, established by ascena retail group inc, is passionate about making a meaningful difference in the lives of others. 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.