women shaking hands

Supporter Spotlight: Ricki’s End Poverty for Women Campaign

When you’re out shopping, it’s always great to know that your purchasing decisions can help to make a difference. About 14 years ago, women’s workwear retailer Ricki’s decided to choose a cause that would resonate with customers across Canada AND help women thrive.

The Foundation is grateful that Ricki’s decided to partner with us and support our work to move women out of poverty. Through the company’s End Poverty for Women campaign and various fundraising initiatives, Ricki’s has raised over $1.2 million for the Foundation over the years.

Ricki's team members Blenda Coull, Cindy Lange, and Stephanie Morris

This incredible contribution couldn’t have happened without dedicated champions within the company, as well as engaged staff members and customers. In this Q&A, Ricki’s team members Blenda Coull, Cindy Lange, and Stephanie Morris (see photo) talk about why they chose to support the Foundation, and why they’re dedicated to women’s economic empowerment.

Q: Why did Ricki’s choose to support the Canadian Women’s Foundation and start the Ricki’s End Poverty for Women campaign?

A: In 2004, the company undertook a leadership challenge to promote ideas that could move the brand and business forward. Our team felt strongly that Ricki’s should be aligned with a cause or charity that our customers and the entire company could get behind. Previously, our charitable giving had been limited to local causes and ad hoc requests.

Given the target age of our customer, we looked to support a cause that would resonate with her. The cause needed to help women move forward, create opportunities for women to be successful, and to flourish. We knew if our customers could connect with the cause, they would wholeheartedly support it.

We began to research and came across the Canadian Women’s Foundation website. We were impressed with what we saw and the message resonated with us.

We got in touch, and the Vice-President of Philanthropy at the time was so passionate about the work of the Foundation. Her energy and passion really sold us — she embodied the characteristics of our customer. We knew this could be an exciting partnership!

Q: How have customers reacted to the campaign and fundraising? Is it a cause that resonates?

A: Some of our customers weren’t aware of the Canadian Women’s Foundation and we realized we had a role to play in spreading the word about its work to support women in their journeys out of poverty.

As we shared our desire to get involved and the facts on poverty for women in Canada, it certainly began to resonate with our customers. They can identify with who we are trying to help — some have found themselves in the same situation or know someone who is struggling financially.

Through the ongoing passion of our associates, and the commitment to the cause for almost 14 years, our customers have come to know the End Poverty for Women campaign and to support us each year, overwhelming us with their generosity.

Q: How have Ricki’s staff members been involved in fundraising for the Foundation? What role do they play in making it a success?

A: Our teams have believed in the cause since day one. From donation drives to items sold with proceeds benefitting the campaign, the engagement of our staff has continued to build throughout the years.

Today, every one of our 128 stores is raising funds to End Poverty for Women in our monthly Round Up to Hand Up donation drives. Many have topped this up with other fundraising efforts, like bake sales or selling tickets for a basket of goodies that they have donated. It is with a great deal of heart and pride that our commitment to the Foundation continues.

The support from our stores is tremendous, and we could not have reached our goals without their commitment. Our home office associates also take part in regular fundraising events that are connected to our social activities, and we continue to update them on the Foundation’s work.

Q: Are there other ways that Ricki’s supports women’s empowerment or equality?

A: In the spring of 2018 we launched a Celebrate Your Shape campaign, which has been well received internally and by customers — a campaign that honours women of all shapes, sizes, and diversity. It’s not just a marketing campaign, but a reflection of who we are as associates, and it supports our brand positioning of current fashion in Sizes 0-18.

Every day we go to work with the goal to help women get up, face the day, get dressed and out the door feeling polished and put together — and most of all positive and comfortable about who they are.

It’s really in parallel with the broader mandate of the End Poverty for Women Campaign — helping to women move forward, whether it’s through their day, or toward a better life.

Thank you, Ricki’s, for supporting the Canadian Women’s Foundation and your long-term commitment to moving women out of poverty!