Fundraising in bloom
Fort Wayne, Indiana (June 1, 2009) — Imagine driving through your downtown past flurries of pink ribbons on a warm spring day. The ribbons gently swaying in the breeze are a reminder of hope for a cure for breast cancer. Hope for a new day.
That is exactly the scene you will find in Fort Wayne, Indiana, during the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer’s “Turn the Town Pink” campaign. Each pink ribbon represents an individual touched by breast cancer. The ribbons also remind us that strength and encouragement are found all around us.
Planting a Seed
That strength is what keeps us going, and that encouragement is part of what has made it a remarkable year for the Vera Bradley Foundation! To start, our total giving toward our $10 million commitment to the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis has reached a total of $8.45 million since the inception of the Vera Bradley Foundation in 1998.
In addition, our multidisciplinary team of researchers has continued to make swift and promising progress. One exciting milestone was the new company, CS-Keys, started by Linda Malkas, Ph.D., Vera Bradley Chair in Oncology at Indiana University Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis. Malkas is translating her biomarker discoveries into a cancer blood test kit that will be available in doctors’ offices. George Sledge, M.D., co-leader of the Breast Cancer Program at the IU Simon Cancer Center, was elected president of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (see page 26 for the full story). What’s more, our two big fundraising events in Fort Wayne: Tickled Pink and the Vera Bradley Classic Golf and Tennis Tournament, raised an impressive $1,072,000 last year.
To keep the momentum going, we’re adding an exciting new national campaign to create awareness of breast cancer and breast cancer research that we’re calling Hope Grows! Inspired by flowers that can be grown anywhere, the Hope Grows campaign will generate enthusiasm for the Foundation and the cause across the nation. “A national campaign is necessary to help raise funds throughout the year and create continual awareness for the Foundation,” says Catherine Hill, Executive Director of the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer. “Hope Grows raises dollars for research through flowers.This campaign is a perfect fit with Vera Bradley and the new Hope Garden product.”
The seed packets open doors to create awareness for the Foundation’s message, say the Foundation’s committee members. “A tiny seed planted in the ground that grows into a beautiful blooming flower is symbolic. It stands for strength, love, beauty, joy and life. And our wish is that by planting these seeds all around the country, our message of hope will grow,” says Susan Westrick, Vera Bradley Marketing Coordinator, who helped develop the campaign. “The more people know about the Foundation, the more they understand and appreciate the mission.”
Incorporating flowers with the pink ribbon is an important part of the campaign because it sets the Foundation apart from other breast cancer organizations that use the pink ribbon as a symbol to create breast cancer awareness.
“The pink ribbon isn’t going away,” says Jennifer Roberts, Vera Bradley Senior Art Director. “This symbol is universal. We want to integrate flowers because we feel flowers represent us more specifically. We wanted something different and fresh, something that could spread, literally.”
Roberts’ vision is that someday there will be a nation full of pink cosmos flower gardens—a new kind of victory garden. “Flowers go so well with the Vera Bradley brand,” Roberts says. “It just works.”
Watching Hope Bloom
Now imagine driving across the country and seeing thousands of pink cosmos flowers blooming in the distance. You see fields of flowers, fields of hope, spreading from one hometown to the next. Hope for a cure is on the horizon.
Look for Hope Grows seed packets in Vera Bradley stores beginning this spring.
Facts about the cosmos flower —the official Hope Grows flower
- Are grown as annual and perennial flowering plants.
- Can be grown quickly and successfully in all regions.
- Look like miniature pine tree needles.
- Are one of the easiest seeds in the world to grow.
- Bloom twice a year.
- Occur in solid pink, white, maroon and pink with deep pink flares. Hope Grows seeds are pink.
- Grow 3 to 6 feet tall.