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Participants can receive micro loans, mentorship and business-education opportunities, she explains.

The Foundation was part of her blueprint since launching her label in 2004. Philanthropy, she says, is part of her identity. “There is no greater reward than giving back. It’s part of my personal history; it’s something I teach my children, and it is woven into the DNA of our company.”

_Ralph Lauren and the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention.

Lauren became involved in breast-cancer awareness charities through his friend Nina Hyde, the Washington Post fashion editor who was diagnosed with the disease and died in 1990.

A commitment to the breast cancer cause runs deep through the fashion and beauty industry _ it’s largely where all that pink comes from _ but Lauren takes it farther. He helped establish a center for breast cancer research at Georgetown University Medical Center, and he encouraged the Council of Fashion Designers of America’s Fashion Targets Breast Cancer campaign.

The focus on breast cancer eventually morphed into all cancers, especially in underserved communities. The Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation spearheads the Pink Pony Fund and the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention, a partnership with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

“Seared in my childhood memory,” he has said, “is one particular moment when my mother had a health scare and panicked about where she could turn for help.”

_Georgina Chapman of Marchesa and the Rose Home.

When Chapman married film producer Harvey Weinstein, they didn’t want wedding gifts _ they wanted to start their union by building something meaningful, says Chapman. They collected donations for the Rose Home, a residence for about 50 girls in New Delhi that their trust created from scratch.

Chapman says her British family has longtime ties to India and she particularly wanted to help girls and give them a sense of belonging, self-worth and family. “Most of the girls are permanent residents,” she says. “We get legal guardianship of them. Most of the girls are found in the train stations or walking around the streets.”

She adds, “We thought of doing a school, but I thought what they really needed was a home and some semblance of normality. They go to school, but it’s a regular school nearby. I get all their marks sent to me, and they get really good grades.”

_Tommy Hilfiger and Millennium Promise.

Hilfiger says that giving back had to be a part of his growth plan, personally and professionally. He grew up in a small upstate New York town and thought about the big time. “I always wanted to be successful enough to give back to causes that are near and dear to my heart,” he says.

Hilfiger and his wife Dee, each with a child affected by autism, joined the Autism Speaks board earlier this year. And the Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation gave a five-year commitment to Millennium Promise, a nonprofit that aims to eliminate extreme poverty, hunger and preventable disease through partnerships with groups such as UNICEF and the World Agroforestry Centre.

All it took to convince him was one conversation with Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University and a co-founder of the organization, Hilfiger says.

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