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Beyond Pink Ribbons
For Kendra Scott, October is the Jewel in the Crown of Giving
by Anne Bruno
Photographs courtesy of Kendra Scott
Margaret Thatcher famously quipped, “If you want something said, ask a man; if you want something done, ask a woman.”
In Austin, if you want something done with style and an entrepreneurial spirit that’s taken her farther than anyone thought possible, ask Kendra Scott. That spirit applies not only to her eponymous lifestyle brand, but to the company’s philanthropic efforts as well.
“Fifteen years ago when I started making jewelry out of my spare bedroom, I vowed that I was going to say yes to anyone who asked for my help. If someone needed something to auction at an event, or told me that having a piece of my jewelry could really make a difference somehow, I said yes,” Scott explains. “Many people told me I could never run a business with that attitude, that it would never work, but I’ve always believed like attracts like – when you help someone else, only good things happen. Giving feels good and I’ve never wavered on that promise I made to myself.”
While Scott’s business embraces philanthropy on a year-round basis, the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, attests to her philosophy of doing good in a big way. In addition to supporting national programs that fight breast cancer, giving back also happens at the local level in the communities where the nearly 70 Kendra Scott stores are located.
As Scott talks about the ways in which she’s been touched by breast cancer, it’s evident that her commitment to fighting the disease and supporting those affected by it goes far beyond a pink ribbon.
In January of last year, Scott lost a lifelong friend, Holley Rothell Kitchen, to metastatic breast cancer. First diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 while still nursing her second child, Kitchen underwent multiple surgeries, as well as chemotherapy, and was “cancer-free” until late 2013 when metastatic breast cancer was discovered in her brain and bones. Kitchen’s inspiring video in which she shares her story and the devastating facts about the disease has been viewed nearly 50 million times worldwide.
Describing Kitchen as a “loving mother, loyal friend and the most caring, encouraging, inspiring person I knew,” Scott resolved to continue Kitchen’s mission of raising awareness about the disease and the importance of funding research. By October of 2016, Scott’s company had launched its inaugural Holley Day of Giving and donated $100,000 to METAvivor, the sole U.S. organization specifically dedicated to the funding of stage-four breast cancer research.
This October, Kendra Scott will again donate $100,000 by partnering with two national organizations whose work is making a substantial difference in the lives of women experiencing breast cancer. With a donation of $50,000 to Inheritance of Hope, the company is supporting families like Kitchen’s. The small nonprofit accomplishes big things through their signature program called Legacy Retreats. The all-expenses-paid family retreats allow the opportunity for young families facing the loss of a parent to create priceless moments and lasting memories. Each member of the family receives counseling and tools to navigate the many hardships that come along with a terminal diagnosis. Just as important, the retreats provide the chance for fun, something all too scarce when dealing with an illness for which there is no cure.
“Holley and her family did an Inheritance of Hope Legacy Retreat and it was amazing,” Scott says. “I know it was one of the most important things they did together.”
Also benefitting this year is the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. With the launch of a special collection of jewelry and custom nail lacquer called the Giveback Suite featuring Light Pink Drusy, Kendra Scott is donating twenty percent of the purchase price up to $50,000 to the BCRF from October first through October 31st. “Kendra Scott’s personal commitment to ending breast cancer makes our partnership that much more meaningful,” said Myra Biblowit, president of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. “By supporting the highest rated breast cancer organization in the country, Kendra Scott’s donation will make a genuine impact – speeding discoveries, improving outcomes and saving lives.”
In addition, for every item purchased from the Giveback Suite the company will gift a piece of jewelry in Rose Quartz – traditionally known as the stone of healing – to a woman fighting breast cancer. Each of these gifts comes with a handwritten note of encouragement and support.
“If there’s something we can do to bring a moment of joy or a smile to a woman in the midst of fighting breast cancer,” Scott says, “I’m going to make sure we do it.”
Read more from the Architecture Issue | October 2017