Fashion Designer and Philanthropist, Donna Karan is a powerhouse. Known for her designs and ‘calming spirit through chaos’. Her daughter mentions, ‘“My mom is like a butterfly’. It was her charitable spirit of helping others that led her to create the Urban Zen Foundation to fulfill her dreams of lending her hand to others in need. After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Donna Karan immediately lent a hand but knew she also wanted to help the country on a much larger scale. November 21, is a culmination of charitable work with Haiti as she plans to open a holiday marketplace at her Urban Zen Center in dowtown New York City.
Ms. Karan’s palette of dreams, visions and passions has expanded to include a stunning array of philanthropic work in supporting artisans in Haiti; seeking holistic treatments for patients with cancer and other illnesses; continuing to raise money for ovarian-cancer research at Super Saturdays, an annual event that she helped start 16 years ago in her East Hampton backyard; and her retail venture Urban Zen, which looks for crafts to market from people all over the world. She donated $2.5 million to start a fashion-design master’s program at Parsons, the New School of Design, out of ‘a wish to give the most promising designers the space and place to experiment and explore their true potential,’ she mentions to NY Times.
On the philanthropic efforts in Haiti, ‘At first, I felt it was really important to give them something that could help. So we supplied tents and living facilities,’ Karan, 66, tells PEOPLE of her Urban Zen Foundation. ‘Then, when I went down to visit, I realized that everybody here is an artist – and their creativity is so much a part of their being.’ So as a designer, Karan did what she does best.
‘My dream was to work with them to develop products and help communicate what the soul and spirit of Haiti was all about,” she recalls. “They’re making truly artisan products of a high quality.’ Karan plans to open a holiday marketplace at her Urban Zen center in downtown New York City on Nov. 21, featuring products from Haiti and countries around the world, with proceeds going back to the preservation of artisan culture, PEOPLE reports
And her efforts don’t stop there. Donna Karan and her foundation are looking into plans to opening a vocational school in Haiti because it’s important to be able to give people jobs. She tells People, ‘It’s not just giving money, it’s giving people education and helping them create something that they’re passionate about. She continues, ‘ I really believe the concept of conscious consumerism, and when you wear something that affects peoples lives, that’s the happiest you could possibly feel.’
My dream was to work with them to develop products and help communicate what the soul and spirit of Haiti was all about. ~Donna Karen
Donna Karan is truly fulfilling a purpose with her passion and helping others as well. ‘Donna Karan’s voice’ is definitely heard. More on Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation is at the website: www.UrbenZen.com
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