ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sara Blakely, founder and owner of Spanx, today announced a multi-faceted partnership between Spanx, the Sara Blakely Foundation, and Grameen America, a nonprofit microfinance organization that supports low-income female entrepreneurs across the United States.
The Sara Blakely Foundation is an anchor sponsor of the Grameen America Social Business Fund (GASBF). This is a unique U.S.-focused social impact investment opportunity that aims to raise up to $25 million in loan capital for Grameen America’s microloan portfolio. The goal of the Sara Blakely Foundation’s significant commitment is to enable Grameen America to empower more than 100,000 low-income women entrepreneurs through microloans, credit and asset-building services.
“In 2013, I joined the Giving Pledge, pledging to invest in women because I believe it offers one of the greatest returns on investment,” said Blakely. “While many of the world’s natural resources are being depleted, one is waiting to be unleashed—women.”
“We are thrilled to partner with Sara to equip women with the tools and confidence they need to become successful business owners,” said Muhammad Yunus, Grameen America Founder and Board Chair. “Sara is the ultimate champion and role model for this cause. Through her own personal journey and extraordinary accomplishments, she understands first-hand the importance and impact of empowering women entrepreneurs.”
With Grameen America microloans, these women are enabled to establish financial credit, allowing them to break the cycle of poverty and make a difference for their families, communities and cities.
In addition to sponsoring the Grameen America Social Business Fund (GASBF), as part of the Spanx Leg Up® Program on Spanx.com, consumers will have the opportunity to learn about the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs living at or below the poverty line and vote to allocate additional microloans to them.
“I’ve always known that I’ve wanted to help women, and am truly inspired by Grameen America’s efforts.” said Sara Blakely. “Through Leg Up®, our customers can join our mission by helping us decide where to allocate these funds,” added Blakely. “Sharing the opportunity to give back with the people who helped me earn the right to do so in the first place is so important, and I’m a big believer that women supporting women is great karma.”
“Sara is the embodiment of women empowering women,” explained Andrea Jung, CEO of Grameen America. “From her company, to her foundation, to her personal life, she is deeply committed to supporting and instilling confidence in female entrepreneurs to help them achieve their dreams. Having built success from a small amount of capital combined with an innovative idea, she now wants share her empowerment journey with other female entrepreneurs.”
About Grameen America
Grameen America is a 501(c)(3) microfinance organization dedicated to helping women who live in poverty build small businesses to create better lives for their families. They offer microloans, training and support to empower women entrepreneurs. Since 2008, Grameen America has invested over $480 million in more than 75,000 women entrepreneurs in 11 cities across the United States.
About The Sara Blakely Foundation
Since its inception in 2006, the Sara Blakely Foundation has donated millions to charities around the world, focusing on charities that empower underserved women and girls. In 2013, Sara Blakely became the first self-made, female billionaire to sign the Melinda and Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge, promising to give at least half her wealth to charity. While many of the world’s resources are being depleted, one is waiting to be unleashed: Women. The Sara Blakely Foundation is on a mission to support women and help them SOAR through education, entrepreneurship and the arts.
About Leg Up
Spanx wants to give other amazing women entrepreneurs their leg up! As Oprah gave Sara her big break by naming Spanx ® a ‘Favorite Thing,’ Blakely is paying it forward by endorsing female entrepreneurs and their businesses. “Women supporting women is great karma and good for the world,” is Blakely’s philosophy. Through spanx.com and its social media channels, Spanx highlights women and her business/products and invites consumers to vote to allocate an additional boost to one of the featured women. Each woman highlighted also receives a lucky red backpack—like the bag Sara carried as her “good luck charm” in 2000 when starting Spanx.
Spanx, Inc. was founded with $5,000 out of Sara Blakely’s apartment in the year 2000. Spanx went on to revolutionize the undergarment industry and became synonymous with an entire category through groundbreaking innovation and a focus on comfort. The brand secured its place in women’s hearts and in pop-culture history with daily mentions everywhere from CNN to SNL. Today, Spanx offers a variety of every day solutions including bras, tights, leggings, pants and activewear. The company remains committed to its larger mission of helping women. Sara signed the Gates/Buffett Giving Pledge, agreeing to donate half her wealth to charity. She was also named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the world. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, Spanx currently operates 10 retail stores in the United States, Spanx.com, and in all the high-end department stores around the world from Neiman Marcus to Harrods in London. Spanx is sold in more than 50 countries worldwide.