Michael Kors made billions when he took his company public last year (setting the bar for designers like Marc Jacobs). But Kors isn’t just using that money to take fabulous jet-set vacations–he’s using his good fortune to give back.
One organization that’s very dear to Kors’s heart is New York-based God’s Love We Deliver. Founded in 1985 during the AIDS crisis, the organization delivers more than 1 million meals to hungry and sick New Yorkers every year. Kors has been with the organization for over 20 years, receiving its Golden Heart Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2012. (This year, he has an award named after himself for Outstanding Community Service; the first recipient will be Hillary Clinton on October 16.)
It’s a cause that has always touched Kors. When the AIDS/HIV crisis hit, he says that “every day” he heard news of a friend, a coworker, or an employee who had been struck down by the disease. Kors wanted to help. “I’m not a scientist, I’m not a doctor, so I knew I couldn’t find a solution,” he said. “But I can deliver a meal.”
So when God’s Love faced a crisis–the need to expand its space and start a waiting list, which it had never had to do in its 28 years of delivery–Kors donated $5 million. The renovated building in the heart of SoHo will now be named in Kors’s honor.
“I never dreamed I would have one store,” Kors told the press and donors gathered to break ground Wednesday. “Certainly I never dreamed I would have more than 400 stores with my name on them. But to have my name on this building, which means that we’ll be able to provide more meals to people in need than ever, I have to tell you, it’s really gratifying.”
Joan Rivers–who says she got involved with the organization back when AIDS was still called “gay cancer”–was on hand to heap praise on Michael Kors. It’s easy to see why the comedienne called Kors one of the “best people around”; Kors doesn’t just donate his money, he also donates his time. He and his entire staff spend one month every year volunteering with God’s Love, cooking and delivering meals.
“I have to say, the variety of people who work for me in all ages in different departments, to come down here and know you’re making a difference is really gratifying,” he told press. “We’ve seen so many people who work with us get more and more involved with the organization.”
Thanks to Kors’s donation, and those of other donors, the current space will expand from 18,000 square feet to over 44,000, doubling the amount of meals God’s Love can deliver every year. Kors may constantly be growing his brand–but we have a feeling this could be the expansion he’s most proud of.