Empowering women through affordable homeownership
Home is the Key partner Chico’s FAS believes in empowering women — and understands the central role that having access to a decent, affordable place to live can play in changing lives.
Lori Shaffer serves as Chico’s FAS senior vice president of outlets and chair of the company’s Corporate Giving Board. In this Q&A, she shares her thoughts about why the Chico’s FAS-Habitat for Humanity partnership means so much.
Q: What draws Chico’s FAS to the cause of affordable housing and to Habitat’s work?
A: We absolutely share Habitat’s vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live. As a company that serves women, Chico’s FAS is committed to supporting the well-being of women everywhere and helping to empower them. We know that having an affordable place to call home does just that. It has a ripple effect for women, their families, and the communities and neighborhoods in which they live. We want to help more women have access to this key that unlocks stability and opportunity. Transformational change is possible when women come together to support each other, and that is what this partnership is all about.
Q: How does affordable housing help to empower women?
A: It provides the foundation for a solid life. Anytime a woman can build a safe place to live that has a mortgage payment she knows will be consistent and within her budget, she is empowered to achieve her full potential. We’ve learned through our partnership with Habitat that, throughout the U.S., decent and affordable housing is out of reach — and increasingly so — for far too many women and their families. It’s not acceptable for so many women to be forced to pay as much as 50 percent of their income for a place to live. Chico’s FAS wants to help change that reality, so that families aren’t in a position of having to choose which basic needs they can cover with the money that is left over. It’s really a fundamental concern.
Q: Chico’s FAS has rallied such enthusiastic Habitat volunteers. What does your support of Habitat add to your corporate culture?
A: I’m proud of our company’s commitment to women. Our company has been partners with our local Habitat affiliate since 2001. It’s the most requested volunteer activity from our associates. Last year, after becoming a national partner, we increased our volunteer participation by 47 percent in Fort Myers, contributing more than 650 hours. Nationally, associates joined in four builds across the country, contributing even more hours. When you can physically touch a home, construct a doorway, build the baseboards, install door knobs, you know you’ve made a direct and physical impact. Habitat is more than donating money, it’s about donating our time. It drives a culture of commitment that engages associates on a personal level. It’s also great team building.
Q: How, specifically, is Chico’s FAS helping Habitat?
A: For a second year we are proud to be as sponsor of Habitat’s Home is the Key campaign. From now through May, you can join Chico’s, White House Black Market and Soma to empower women by making a donation in any of our boutiques, outlets or online. We also support Habitat’s Women Build program, which is such a great, hands-on way for women to proactively help other women and their communities. Our company and associates are committed to positively impacting the communities where we live and do business, and we hope you will join us!