Jenna Bush Hager
At 38 years old, Jenna Bush Hager already has a lifetime of achievements. After earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, the daughter of former President George W. Bush moved to Panama for an internship with UNICEF, a global organization that strives to save children’s lives, fight for their rights, and help them to fulfill their full potential. During her time in Latin America, she was astounded by the young mothers she met who worked tirelessly to protect and fight for better lives for their children in their underserved environments. One of the women she met, a 17-year-old single mother with HIV, was the inspiration for her New York Times best-selling book, Ana’s Story: A Journey of Hope. Before and after her internship with UNICEF, Jenna worked at the Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. She has also authored several books in addition to Ana’s Story, and currently leads the committee of UNICEF’s Next Generation group, serves as an editor-at-large for Southern Living, helps coordinate fundraising events like The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Annual Bunny Hop, co-hosts NBC’s TODAY with Hoda & Jenna, and spearheads TODAY’s book club, Read With Jenna.
Like many parents around the globe, Jenna has been social distancing and caring for her three children who are home from school due to the coronavirus outbreak. And she is using her position with NBC to help families around the United States cope with the fears of the current pandemic—advising them to focus on the “beautiful moments.” When she called into TODAY with Hoda & Jenna recently through FaceTime, Jenna encouraged parents all over to “try to make what’s happening in your own house feel safe and fun.” She also shed light on the workers that society seems to overlook in ordinary times, including the nurses, doctors, grocery store workers, and cab drivers, who are all sacrificing their own health to work during the pandemic. Of course, she also praised teachers, who are seemingly more appreciated than ever right now, as many parents like her are trying to keep their children entertained throughout these long days.
Generations of Paul Arnhold’s family have believed in the power of art to make the world a better place. His great-grandparents, who were prominent collectors of Meissen porcelain, would host gatherings in their Dresden, Germany home to connect with leading minds in the arts and sciences—from Walter Gropius and Albert Einstein to Wassily Kandinsky and Oskar Kokoschka. Today, Paul and his family work with art organizations across the world that focus on equity, access, and inclusion through education. Paul is an active member of the Young Fellows Steering Committee at The Frick Collection, which just opened the “Henry Arnhold’s Meissen Palace: Celebrating a Collector” exhibition this year with his help. The exhibition showcases his late grandfather’s Meissen porcelain collection that he inherited from his parents, who began collecting more than a century ago. “It has been so rewarding to see the next generation of art enthusiasts engage with our family’s collection, which was saved from Nazi destruction during World War II,” said Paul.
Brooke Kelly: What inspires you?
Paul Arnhold: Anything bold and colorful.
BK: Tell me more about the specific work you do for The Frick Collection.
PA: I have been visiting The Frick since I was a young boy and always love spending time at the museum. I serve on the Steering Committee of the Frick Young Fellows, a members group of individuals between the ages of 21 and 45 who enjoy insider access to museum through special programming and events specifically catered to them. They include coming to see a world-class collection of Old Master paintings—from Bellini to Rembrandt, to Vermeer to Goya—and outstanding examples of European sculpture and decorative arts. Our young members love attending gallery talks, curator-led tours, and special evening viewings.
BK: What advice can you give our younger readers who are interested in getting involved in philanthropy?
PA: Get involved. There are institutions across the city that need your support and engagement. Find the one that excites you the most. Almost all have tiered memberships that include a group for younger people. Show up to those programs and events. Have fun. Bring a friend. Ask what you can do to help.
During her time studying footwear design at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Sarah Flint saw an opportunity in the market to create beautifully designed, handmade shoes that do not sacrifice style for comfort. She noticed that women spend the most money on shoes that “make your toes numb and eventually end up at the back of your closet.” Instead, Flint grew to appreciate handmade Italian craftsmanship over time, and decided to launch her namesake brand in 2013 at the age of 25. The footwear line is now a celebrity favorite among style icons like Cindy Crawford and Meghan Markle.
Brooke Kelly: Tell me about the process you went through to establish the brand.
Sarah Flint: I spent time in Italy studying shoe pattern making and production alongside factory workers at a school called Ars Sutoria. This is where I really fell in love with the handmade, artisanal details that go into Italian craftsmanship. From there, I decided to launch my brand, with a design ethos centered around style without sacrifice. All of my shoes marry artisanal quality and innovation to bring women footwear that is classically elegant on the outside and packed with comfort-driven design on the inside.
BK: How would you describe Sarah Flint’s typical customer? Who are the notable clients?
SF: I would describe our customers as women who are unwilling to sacrifice style for comfort. Women who do not bend to trends but instead invest in fewer, high-quality items that will carry them from season to season. We are very lucky to have a community made up of inspiring women, including Gayle King, Arianna Huffington, Karlie Kloss, Amal Clooney, Serena Williams, Lady Gaga, Jane Fonda, Margot Robbie, and many more.
BK: What are your goals for the future?
SF: We’d love to continue to explore physical retail with pop-up shops in new markets in the next few years. My ultimate hope for the future is to build out a new kind of customer-first luxury brand where women can still find an original, designer product of the highest quality that is also comfortable.
BK: Tell me about some of the charities you’ve partnered with.
SF: We’re always looking for ways to partner with non-profit organizations that support women and girls. It’s always special when we as a brand and our customers can make an impact with the help of these charities. Most recently we worked with Dress for Success for International Women’s Day. Previously, we’ve worked with Soles 4 Souls, The Lower East Side Girls Club, She Should Run, among others.
Neely and Chloe Burch
In 2016, sisters Neely and Chloe Burch launched their eponymous brand at the ages of 25 and 24, respectively. The line offers accessories, including handbags and footwear, that are equally fashionable and affordable. As the nieces of designer Tory Burch, working in fashion is a family tradition. However, it was their own personal desire for timeless yet reasonably priced accessories that drove the duo, who describe themselves as the target consumer, to launch the brand. To these women, rather than a price tag or logo, luxury is defined by a product’s inherent beauty and practicality.
Brooke Kelly: What inspired you to found Neely & Chloe?
Chloe Burch: I think one of the most amazing things about our brand is that we really are our customer. We were looking for handbags and accessories that were chic and high quality, but attainable. Everything that fell within our price point was either low in quality or every person had it. We wanted something that felt unique but timeless.
BK: How would you describe the brand’s style?
CB: Neely and I have very classic style. Think jeans, button downs, and flats—timeless! We always invest in timeless rather than trendy pieces. Neely and I want our brand to come across the same way, which is why we named it after the two of us. We design with our customer in mind but want to make sure our bags are in line with our aesthetic.
BK: Tell me about working together as sisters.
CB: We are very lucky to be able to work with one another. We have a unique relationship in which we are friends, business partners, and sisters. Neely and I have very different skillsets so we have a good work dynamic. I am a little more detail oriented and focus on what we need to get done on a specific day. Neely is amazing at looking one, five, 10 years out and seeing where we can or hope to take the business. Being so different—both in skillset and personality—has really helped us grow the business. We support each other in different ways.
BK: What do you have in the works?
CB: So many things! We have a bunch of fun partnerships in the works—one of which is a bridal collaboration with Mark Ingram. We are both engaged so thought it would be fun to make the perfect handbag for a bride. 2020 is going to be a big year!
Prince Lorenzo Borghese
Pet lover and owner Lorenzo Borghese has long been an animal advocate involved in organizations like ASPCA, North Shore Animal League, and the American Humane Association, and has established his own grooming product line, Royal Treatment. In 2012, Borghese also co-founded Animal Aid USA, which has created a lifeline for unwanted animals through its rescue and relocation model. In addition to rescuing animals from high-kill shelters, the organization also raises money to fund spay and neuter programs and raise animal cruelty awareness.
Brooke Kelly: How did you get involved with Animal Aid?
Lorenzo Borghese: I was introduced to Animal Aid co-founder Karen Talbot after a fundraiser. At that time, her organization was called M.O.M.S (Making of Miracle Stories). I instantly knew she was the real deal. She was saving hundreds of animals a month without pay, and even taking out additional credit cards so that she could save more dogs. I wanted to help her, and together we founded Animal Aid USA. Since 2012, we have saved more than 30,000 dogs with the help of all our volunteers (we still don’t offer any salaries). My role in the organization is to bring awareness to all the great work we are doing and to help attract more donors, which is the lifeline to our rescue model.
BK: Which fundraising methods have been most successful for the charity?
LB: Believe it or not, Facebook has been very successful for us. Posting videos and pictures of what we do help validate us as a true not-for-profit. When people donate to us, they like to see where their money is being spent and fortunately we can show them using social media.
BK: Tell me about Royal Treatment and royalpetclub.com.
LB: Royal Treatment is a line of dog grooming products I created for my dog, Belle, back in 2002. I created these products for her because she had severe dry skin. I wanted to help her and spent hundreds of hours studying the differences between a dog’s skin and our skin, and developing formulas until I finally created one that worked for her. I then reached out to my contacts in Italy and had the line formulated. It now has two different fragrances and each grooming product has a minimum of seven 100% organic ingredients. The royalpetclub.com is the online shopping site for my products.
BK: What advice do you have for our younger readers looking to get involved with philanthropy?
LB: Find something you are passionate about and get involved. Most not-for-profits are constantly looking for volunteers so do your research to find the one that best fits what you’re looking for and make sure that the money raised is going to the cause versus just salaries and overhead. And whatever you do, do it with a smile and tell people about it. Word of mouth travels fast and far.
After working under Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen in London, CFDA designer Christian Siriano launched his eponymous collection in 2008. Now a leader in the industry at just 34 years old and widely known for revolutionizing fashion with his dedication to body inclusivity and diversity, Siriano’s collections are presented each season during New York Fashion Week. His pieces range from tailored sportswear to evening gowns, all characterized by their whimsical and eye-catching designs. These styles are seen across exclusive red-carpet events like the Grammys, and on stars and style icons including Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Obama and Gigi Hadid.
In recent weeks, Siriano shifted his focus from fashion to healthcare as he responded to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s call for volunteers as COVID-19 devastates New York City. When the governor stressed the need for additional medical supplies, Siriano was one of the first fashion designers to answer the call and offer his help in creating facemasks. With a staff of expert sewers each with extensive experience in manufacturing fabrics, Siriano saw this as an opportunity to not only help the fight against the deadly illness, but also to keep his employees working and getting paid to do something impactful. While the masks are not medical grade, Siriano has been working with the governor’s office and following their guidelines to assure legitimacy and safety. The masks, which Siriano’s team is producing at a rate of about 500 per day, are washable, making them ideal for the daily commute of hospital employees and other essential workers. He recently shipped his first box of 1,500 masks to New York’s emergency workers, and with Governor Cuomo’s continued cooperation and support, he hopes to soon move to the production of FDA approved masks.