November 12, 2012 at 07:30 AM EST
ANN INC. and Vital Voices Global Partnership Award Fourteen ANNpower Project Grants to Emerging Female Leaders
Initiative Provides Leadership Training to High School Girls and Funds Community Projects Designed to Drive Positive Social Change

NEW YORK, Nov. 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ANN INC. (NYSE: ANN), the parent Company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, and Vital Voices Global Partnership are proud to announce the 2012 ANNpower Grantees today. The group represents fourteen diverse and driven young women from across the country who are committed to serving their communities as the next generation of female leaders.

Through a competitive national application process in March, 50 rising high school juniors and seniors were selected to be ANNpower Fellows and participate in the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, a groundbreaking partnership that provides leadership skills and mentorship for young women. Upon completion of leadership training, the Fellows were challenged to take their first steps as rising leaders by developing projects to initiate positive social change within their communities.

"Four months ago, we challenged these young women to take the lead in developing plans that will have an impact in their communities. From teaching underprivileged families healthy eating habits to launching a girls leadership summit, these ANNpower Project Grants will support the realization of the visionary plans of these dedicated young leaders," said Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices.

The Grants are awarded based on a comprehensive review process of the project proposals by ANN INC. and Vital Voices leadership, as well as the newly appointed ANNpower Advisory Council.

"We are so honored to award these inspiring young women with the resources to help put their ideas into action," said Kay Krill, President and CEO of ANN INC. "As a company for women, ANN INC. is passionate about empowering the next generation of female leaders. The 2012 ANNpower Grantees are helping us lead this charge by 'paying it forward' and initiating change within their communities. We look forward to all that they will achieve in the coming year and feel privileged to take part in their journey."

ANN INC. has committed to invest more than $1.3 million in the ANNpower Initiative through its ANN Cares charitable platform through 2014. In doing so, they will provide leadership training and mentorship opportunities to at least 50 Fellows annually.

To learn more about the 2012 ANNpower Grantees, the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, or the ANNpower Fellow application process, which opens December 16, 2012 through January 21, 2013, please 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 North America. The Company operates 962 Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Factory, LOFT and LOFT Outlet stores in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada 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.

SOURCE ANN INC.

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