For the past three years, Town & Country magazine has been hosting their Philanthropy Summit at the Hearst Tower in New York City. Every year the day-long event brings together some of the leading philanthropists from across a wide spectrum of issues.

For its fourth ever installment, Town & Country brought together a curated audience of leaders and world-class philanthropists that included thought leaders, entrepreneurs, visionaries, and innovators for a day of thought-provoking programming and networking. Speakers included former New York City mayor, businessman and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg, six-time Academy Award nominated actress Glenn Close, and Academy Award winner, 10-time Grammy winner, and activist John Legend.

“It was wonderful to be a part of the Town & Country Philanthropy Summit and hear the stories behind the great work being done on a variety of important issues,” said TreadRight Ambassador Céline Cousteau.

Cousteau attended the event as a representative of TreadRight alongside Peggy Clark, Vice President Policy Programs, the Aspen Institute, Director, Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, as well as Marie Anne MacRae, Vice President Global Strategic Partnerships, TTC, and Zach Vanasse, Program Manager, The TreadRight Foundation.

As a Supporting Sponsor, TreadRight took the opportunity to showcase some of the handicrafts created by the artisans the foundation supports through the Heritage Initiative in partnership with the Alliance for Artisan Enterprise, including TRIA ETC, Laboratorio Giuditta Brozzetti, Ock Pop Tok’s Village Weavers Project, and the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco, as well as Manitobah Mukluks’ Storyboot Project and works from artisans in partnership with Me to We.

“It is our mission at TreadRight to continuously seek out opportunities to elevate artisan work and communicate the importance of this culture and empowerment issue whenever possible,” said Cousteau.

“Philanthropy is an essential piece of The TreadRight Foundation’s efforts to embrace and celebrate cultural diversity and to bring authentic artisanal products to global markets. The Alliance for Artisan Enterprise is delighted to remain a partner in this important work,” noted Clark.

In exhibiting the elegant and stunning works created by the artisans TreadRight helps to support, the foundation was looking to demonstrate the capacity travel has to help enable local communities by creating jobs, increasing incomes, and encourage appreciation and respect for unique culture and heritage, as well as highlight the value businesses can provide by supporting philanthropic endeavors in their respective fields.

In the June/July 2017 issue of Town & Country, WE co-founder Craig Keilburger was named one of "the 50 philanthropists of they year" with the publication citing his work to push our understanding and appreciation of the potential of travel through the ME to WE program, an innovative social enterprise that provides products that make an impact, empowering people to change the world with their everyday consumer choices.

While the issues covered throughout the event ranged from climate change, to criminal justice reform, to mental health, the global refugee crises, and the arts, a consistent theme of doing good where you can with the means at your disposal echoed throughout.

“Philanthropy begins very simply when we ask, ‘What can I do?’” said Stellene Volandes, Editor in Chief of Town & Country, as she introduced keynote speaker Michael Bloomberg.

“When we give people the opportunity to thrive, they become part of the solution,” said Sandra Uwiringiyimana, co-founder, Jimbere Fund, who spoke on the ‘What Does “America First" mean for the Global Refugee Crisis’ panel.

“There’s so much reason to feel optimistic, if you’re just willing to say, ‘how can I help?’” said Valerie Jarrett, Former White House Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, who joined John Legend for the day’s ‘Is America Truly Free?’ discussion.

Another theme permeating across the diverse issues was the need to find passion in one’s philanthropic undertakings and stick with it in order to deliver meaningful and lasting positive change.

“We make [philanthropic] decisions based on our heart strings,” noted Elaine Wynn, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, who spoke on the ‘The Case for Arts Philanthropy’ panel.

“It’s about the long haul,” contributed Zosia Mamet, actor and Ambassador for War Child. “Find a way that you want to help and commit to it.”

Indeed, the universal themes of compassion, humanity, and continued dedication to doing good served as the connective tissue across the spectrum of ideas and issues. The inspiring and energizing discussions underscored the importance for continued philanthropy, brought forth powerful ideas, and reiterated the mindset behind TTC’s continuing sustainability journey: we have the power to make a difference, we have to use it to ensure we make a positive difference.

Check out more pictures from the 4th annual Town & Country Philanthropy Summit on our Facebook page!


Photos by Andrew Werner

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