Fashion 4 Foundling: A Q&A With Beth Stellato & Jen Malichio
We all get by with a little help from our friends!
For the past 150 years, The New York Foundling, has empowered and inspired at-risk children and families by providing services and resources that will help them live independent, stable and fulfilling lives. When the idea of petiteSHOP: A Children's Charity Pop-up was introduced; we jumped at the opportunity to play our part in giving back.
At one point in our lives we all dreamed of becoming a superhero.
To save the world from ______________.
For petitePARADE, a partnership with The New York Foundling symbolized an opportunity to further advocate the brand ethos and mission that every child deserves an opportunity. Our objective partnering up with TNYF was to help provide resources and outlets for the children of the future.
Today, we share the stage with Beth Stellato, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships & Communications—and Jennifer Malichio, Vice President of Development at The New York Foundling. Together we turned the headquarter building at the West Village into a magical boutique where kids can shop for a cause and live out their wildest of dreams in frames shot by Lee Clower.
As we approach our final weekend, be sure to pop-in to petiteSHOP located at 27 Christopher Street, NYC and to your part in contributing to the cause.
Help Us Make A Difference:
pP: How did you get started in non-profit?
BS: From a young age, my parents instilled the importance of giving back and I'm very grateful for that. As soon as I was old enough, I began volunteering at a museum in my hometown of Cleveland. After law school I took a job working at Goldman Sachs on various philanthropic initiatives. I spent over seven years at the firm in a variety of different capacities before moving on. Ultimately I landed at The Foundling; what was compelling to me about working here is that the organization is run as a charitable business - we look for smart, innovative ways to increase efficiency, raise money and heighten awareness in order to produce better outcomes for those we serve.
JM: It happened organically. I'm a lawyer by training and began my professional career practicing law. I ended up transitioning to the nonprofit world after meeting some really interesting people who were doing impactful things. I had lived in New York City for quite some time and never heard of The New York Foundling. When a friend introduced me to the organization, I was hooked! Family is everything to me, so the opportunity to join a place that has been empowering at-risk children and families for nearly 150 years was inspiring. There's a great sense of community at The Foundling. Even with nearly 2,000 employees throughout the five boroughs and Puerto Rico, it truly feels like a family.
pP: How was the petiteSHOP idea conceptualized?
BS: We are constantly thinking about creative ways to raise awareness of our work in the community and to identify new donors and revenue streams. The idea of using our West Village space for an event of some sort had been discussed for a long time. I'd worked with the team at petitePARADE for a number of years and together we conceptualized what is now petiteSHOP at The Foundling. It's really a match made in heaven as our business in serving children and philanthropy is central to petitePARADE's model.
JM: This partnership has opened so many new doors for us and allowed us to share what we do with a completely new audience. It's so much fun to tell new people about The Foundling and see them become engaged and interested in our work.
BS: It's always our aim with these partnerships for all parties to benefit, and for everyone to bring something meaningful to the table - that's what success is to us.
JM: In this instance, everyone - the brands, petitePARADE and The Foundling - have all come out ahead. And Foundling children and families are the ultimate beneficiaries of this effort.
pP: How has the partnership/ initiative impacted the children’s industry and empowered the lives of children and families in New York?
JM: It's no secret that space in New York City is not cheap. By offering our beautiful space on Christopher Street, we were able to provide all of the designers with an economical way to sell their designs direct to consumers and feel good while doing it. In fact, every brand donated ten percent of sales to The Foundling. We also benefitted from the increased press and exposure.
pP: Name three brands 8-year old Beth & Jennifer would wear?
BS: Kids now are so much cooler than when we were young! We love literally every brand being sold in the shop – what’s disappointing is that the clothes don’t come in our sizes!
pP: Do these kinds of partnerships excite the children and families at The Foundling?
BS: They excite everyone! Our staff has really embraced this initiative - we regularly see employees shopping for their own kids, friends' children, grandchildren.... Foundling children played a particularly special role - scholars from our charter school in the South Bronx, Mott Haven Academy, created all of the art work that now adorns our lobby walls and many of them "modeled" in our promotional campaign photographed by Anna Palma and styled by Michel Onofrio. It was such a cool opportunity for them to really feel special, have fun in front of the camera and to see themselves in the resulting pictures, and on the postcards and posters.
pP: How can someone get involved with The New York Foundling? What opportunities exist?
JM: We're so grateful to be the recipient of several city and state grants, but we still need to fundraise from private sources (individuals, corporations, foundations) to provide the comprehensive level of care and service that The Foundling is known for. The most meaningful way members of the community can help is by making a monetary donation. Large or small, literally every dollar impacts the lives of those we serve, and 89 percent of every dollar raised goes directly to programming and services.
pP: Share one of your most memorable experiences at The Foundling. How did it impact you?
BS: Every time we speak to someone who didn't know about us and learned about our work or made a donation as a result of an event we planned, an initiative we produced or an article that was published, it is incredibly rewarding. The Foundling has been around for 145 years and does so much for so many disadvantaged New Yorkers, but we have such a long way to go in making a difference in the lives of children and families. The partnership with petitePARADE has been particularly exciting because it has achieved so many of our goals - increasing revenue, raising awareness and reaching a new audience - and in such a fun, creative way. We're thrilled it's been as successful as it has - truly defying our expectations - and we'll certainly be sad to see the shop close!
pP: What are your 3-must have pieces?
That’s not a fair question because we couldn't pick just three! Each piece is cuter than the last. In particular, Jen loves the Melissa Cat Mary Jane flats. Beth bought books by Home Grown for friends' kids and is obsessed with the Jess Brown Dolls.
petiteSHOP open Thursday- Sunday from 11 a.m - 7 p.m
27 Christopher St, NYC.