The luxury department chain Saks Fifth Avenue has launched the Visionary Voice Awards program to honor women working in mental health care.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Saks Fifth Avenue will recognize women who are helping to pave the way for the future of mental health care and solutions through its first Visionary Voice Awards program.
The initiative builds upon Saks’ commitment to increase understanding of the importance of mental health, improve access to care and promote skills that build positive mental health for those who need it through the Saks Foundation.
Last month, Saks revealed its Here for the Future spring campaign, recognizing forward-looking designers, artists and activists. The Visionary Voice Awards are an extension of that campaign, honoring women working in the mental health field.
In February 2020, Saks dedicated its Fifth Avenue windows to mental health awareness. Saks partnered with Fountain House, a community-based model for people living with mental illness, and Crisis Text Line, which provides free, 24/7 confidential support for those in crisis. The windows showcased the artwork of Fountain House Gallery artist Osvaldo Cruz.
For the inaugural Visionary Voice Awards, the Saks Foundation’s nonprofit partners nominated 12 women demonstrating leadership in the mental health space. The nominees were reviewed by the Saks executive committee and associates from across the business to select three winners.
They are Dr. Tasha M. Brown, an assistant clinical professor of medical psychology at Columbia University; Dr. Cristiane Duarte, a professor at New York-Presbyterian Youth Anxiety Center, and Angie Stringer, president and chief operating officer of Girls Inc. of Sarasota County. A $10,000 donation will be made to support the work of each recipient, with the donations going to Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry, New York-Presbyterian Youth Anxiety Center and Family Strengthening Program at Girls Inc., Sarasota, respectively.
On March 16, this year’s Visionary Voice Award recipients will be highlighted on Saks’ digital channels through email and homepage coverage as well as social media content.
“We are excited to celebrate Women’s History Month by honoring three inspirational women who are making a difference in mental health,” said Emily Essner, chief marketing officer at Saks. “We strive to create purposeful campaigns and use our platform to engage with our community in meaningful and authentic ways. With the Visionary Voice Awards, Saks is proud to champion female leaders and further the Saks Foundation’s mission to make mental health a priority in every community.”
Since the Saks Foundation’s start in 2017 (originally the HBC Foundation in the U.S.), the retailer’s parent company Hudson’s Bay Co. has invested more than $4 million in U.S. mental health initiatives and reached more than 4.5 million individuals. The retailer has supported programming in more than 60 high schools and colleges to promote positive mental health. It has also funded two research and treatment institutions. The foundation has invested in such partners as Glenn Close’s Bring Change to Mind, The Jed Foundation, New York-Presbyterian Youth Anxiety Center, and Columbia University’s Department of Psychiatry.