September 25, 2012 at 07:30 AM EDT
ANN INC. Announces ANNpower 'Commitment to Action' at Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting
ANN INC. Pledges to Expand Efforts in Partnership with Vital Voices to Train and Empower the Next Generation of Women Leaders

NEW YORK, Sept. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ANN INC. (NYSE: ANN), the parent Company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, is proud to announce a 'Commitment to Action' with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to expand on the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative: The Next Generation of Women Leaders at the 2012 Annual Meeting. 

The commitment enhances ANN INC.'s ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, piloted in 2011, as a groundbreaking partnership with international NGO, Vital Voices Global Partnership. The effort aims to train and empower young women in the U.S. to create positive social change in their local communities and become the next generation of leaders.

Starting this year, and through 2014, ANN INC. commits to invest more than $1.3 million in the ANNpower Initiative through its ANN Cares charitable platform. In doing so, they will provide leadership training to at least 50 Fellows annually, selected through a competitive, national application process of female rising high school juniors and seniors. After completing leadership training, each Fellow develops a project designed to create positive social change within their home community and will be eligible to receive an ANNpower Project Grant to put her ideas into action. The 2012 grants will be awarded in October.

"As a company for women, ANN INC. is passionate about women's issues and we are so proud to have our work supported by the Clinton Global Initiative," said Kay Krill, President and CEO of ANN INC. "With this commitment, we intend to grow the ANNpower Initiative by expanding leadership training, offering additional mentorship, and raising the visibility of the issue through involvement of high-profile women."

Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership, added, "This partnership is a powerful example of private sector commitment to invest in solutions. We know that enhancing women's leadership yields returns for whole communities, which is why we're proud to work with ANN INC. as we empower young women to become the leaders of their generation. We have been so impressed by the talent and dedication of the ANNpower Fellows, we look forward to supporting them and all that they will achieve."

ANN INC. is proud to announce the launch of the first new component of their Commitment to Action with CGI – the ANNpower Advisory Council, which will consist of influential women in media, business, and entertainment who have displayed exceptional leadership. Actress Jennifer Morrison ("Once Upon a Time," "House") will spearhead the Council and the call-to-action is open for additional interested members. Ms. Morrison has long been a powerful advocate for empowering young female leaders. The role of the council members will be to review, score and recommend outstanding grant proposals as well as serve as mentors to the Fellows and ambassadors of the ANNpower Initiative to the public.

In addition to the Advisory Council, ANN INC. will identify additional opportunities for leadership training and mentorship throughout the Fellows' involvement with the ANNpower Initiative, including the first Vital Voices Global Summit in December 2013, an exciting opportunity still in development in which ANNpower Grantees will be invited to join a dynamic gathering of the most active and engaged international women leaders. These leaders will come together to discuss strategies, share challenges and successes, and strengthen the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network through trainings, networking and building consensus on solutions to address pressing issues that women face across the globe. Our Grantees will attend the Summit to not only learn from these leaders but also to share their own experiences and offer insights into America's future leadership. 

  To learn more about the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, visit ANNpower.org.

About ANN INC.
ANN INC. is the parent Company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, two of the leading women's specialty retail fashion brands in the United States. The Company operates 962 Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Factory, LOFT and LOFT Outlet stores in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as of July 28, 2012, as well as online at AnnTaylor.com and LOFT.com. Visit ANNINC.com for more information (NYSE: ANN).

About ANN Cares
ANN INC.'s commitment to corporate responsibility extends into the communities where we live and work. Through our charitable platform, ANN Cares, we develop campaigns that engage, inspire, and connect our clients and our associates with the charities that we support.  We provide support to renowned programs that contribute to women's and children's health and well-being, as well as our associates and the environment.  Since 2005, we have contributed over $20 million to our national charitable partners.  Visit ResponsiblyANN.com for more information.

About Vital Voices Global Partnership
Vital Voices Global Partnership is a leading non-governmental organization that identifies, invests in and brings visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities. Founded by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 1997, the organization trains and mentors women leaders as agents of transformative change in economic development, human rights and political participation. The Vital Voices Global Leadership Network includes more than 12,000 leaders representing 144 countries that have trained and mentored 500,000 additional women and girls in their communities. Visit www.vitalvoices.org to learn more.

About the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to create and implement innovative solutions to the world's most pressing challenges. CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 150 heads of state, 20 Nobel Prize laureates, and hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations and NGOs, major philanthropists, and members of the media. To date CGI members have made more than 2,100 commitments, which are already improving the lives of nearly 400 million people in more than 180 countries. When fully funded and implemented, these commitments will be valued at $69.2 billion.

CGI's Annual Meeting is held each September in New York City. CGI also convenes CGI America, a meeting focused on collaborative solutions to economic recovery in the United States, and CGI University (CGI U), which brings together undergraduate and graduate students to address pressing challenges in their community or around the world. For more information, visit clintonglobalinitiative.org and follow us on Twitter @ClintonGlobal and Facebook at facebook.com/clintonglobalinitiative.

SOURCE ANN INC.

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