Designer Michael Kors launches $5M charity project
Ready-to-wear fashion designer Michael Kors, who rose to fame in the past 30 years and enormous wealth over the past two years, said Wednesday he would give back part of his fortune to provide free meals to people with severe illnesses.
Kors donated $5 million to the construction of a new building for God’s Love We Deliver, which has been offering food and nutritional counseling to patients in New York City for 28 years.
The building, which will be named after him, will allow the group to nearly double the meals to be served to over two million a year.
“I never dreamed to have a store, one store. Certainly I never dreamed that I have more than 100 stores with my name on them,” said Kors, considered the foremost women’s ready-to-wear fashion designer, at the organization’s groundbreaking ceremony.
“But to have this building which means I’ll be able to help to have even more meals for those in need, it’s extremely gratifying.”
The new building which will replace the current one on Sixth Avenue is expected to come into operation by the end of 2014.
Starting operation as an HIV/AIDS service organization, the advocacy group has evolved into a provider of meals and nutritional advice for patients living with more than 200 severe diseases, in which its volunteers cook and home deliver the food.
In addition to Kors’ donation, the advocacy group received other funds to run its activities once the meals are doubled, said Karen Pearl, God’s Love We Deliver President and Chief Executive Officer.
The organization has never had to put its clients on a waiting list, but with the ongoing demand and without raising capacity, it may have to, said Emmett Findley, communications manager of God’s Love We Deliver.
The organization served the public for the first time with six meals in 1985 and now serves 1.2 million meals a year.
“One of our principles is to respond to all our clients who need our service, so with the expansion we will be able to meet the need as it comes up,” she said.
When the new building comes into operation next year, the organization will offer meals seven days a week, instead of five days currently.
Kors, whose designs have been worn by First Lady Michelle Obama and celebrities Jennifer Lopez, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Heidi Klum, said he has been working with the charity organization for 20 years.
“I am always amazed at the work they do… With the addition of the building, I know that we can help feed even more people,” said Kors, who earned at least $700 million in the past two years by selling the stakes in his company Michael Kors Holdings Limited, according to The New York Times.