FFANY Shoes on Sale Marks 20 Years

This is a milestone year for QVC Presents “FFANY Shoes on Sale.”

The annual breast cancer fundraiser, which takes place on Tuesday at New York’s Waldorf Astoria, marks its 20th anniversary this year. And to commemorate the occasion, FFANY will salute someone who’s been involved with the event from the beginning.

President Bill Clinton, who served as honorary chairman of the first affair in 1993, will receive the FFANY Jodi Fisher Humanitarian Award, an honor introduced in 2010 to pay tribute to the Shoes on Sale co-founder, who died in 2009.

Although the former commander-in-chief is not expected to attend the event, FFANY President and CEO Joe Moore said Clinton’s long-standing support of Shoes on Sale and his advocacy for various social causes made him the obvious choice as the sole honoree for the 20th anniversary. Clinton, who heads up the philanthropic Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, will likely accept the award via video, Moore added.

“We’re giving him the Humanitarian Award this year because he’s always supported this event,” said Moore. “There’s no one more deserving than he is, with all of the work he does across the world.”

Not only will FFANY honor Clinton at the gala but it also will pay tribute to donors and participants who’ve made significant contributions to Shoes on Sale over the years. Brown Shoe Co., Camuto Group and The Jones Group Inc. will be recognized for their yearly donations of more than $500,000 each, and longtime event volunteers and past award winners will be acknowledged as well.

This year’s Shoes on Sale also marks Moore’s last as the head of FFANY, as he is set to retire in 2014. (Brown Shoe Chairman Ron Fromm will take his place.) Looking back, Moore said the overall growth of the fundraiser has been enormous. It started in 1993 as a small sale in Central Park and a dinner to honor those who gave money, and has transformed into a much larger initiative focused on raising awareness and supporting breast cancer education and treatments.

The amount of money donated to the charity also has been significant. To date, Shoes on Sale has collected more than $41 million, and organizers hope to hit the $45 million mark this year.

“What we’ve achieved in my 15 years being involved with Shoes on Sale has been very rewarding,” Moore said. “It’ll be sad to leave, but I’ve run my course and I’m eager for it to be in other people’s hands to carry it to the next level. It can be bigger and better.”

This year, more than 120,000 pairs of shoes from at least 80 brands have been donated.

“We’ll continue the successful approach that we’ve had in the past,” QVC CEO Mike George said, adding that he expects to raise at least another $3 million through this year’s event. “A lot of people have donated, and we’ll have good sales.”

Hosted by this year’s spokesperson, actress Julianne Hough, Shoes on Sale again offers guests a chance to shop for half-price footwear in the French-inspired salon area. That sale typically generates between $60,000 and $90,000 in revenue. The New York gala wraps up at 9 p.m. and will be followed by “FFANY Club,” an after-party featuring drinks, dancing and a live perfomance by former “American Idol” finalist Pia Toscano.

QVC also takes to the air once more for the cause, starting at 6 p.m. on Oct. 10. Its program will include shoe sales, survivor stories and highlights from the gala. Additionally, the network will offer a “Shoe of the Day” every day in October, from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., and even more styles will be available on QVC.com and QVC’s mobile apps. And Hough will be featured on the network’s blog several times in October to promote the sale.

As in years past, all proceeds go to breast cancer research and educational institutions such as The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania and The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Some beneficiaries of the funds will be present at the gala, as well as on the television broadcast.

George said he expects a bump in viewership this year, as the cable channel will promote the gala and merchandise heavily online and through QVC’s social media.

“Leveraging all of these social platforms is taking on a bigger importance for us. It helps evoke the relationship and connections between our viewers and this event,” said the CEO, adding that he anticipates another banner year for the fundraiser. “It’s really grown into an event that generates substantial money every year. We certainly expect this year to be the same.”

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