The 23rd annual QVC Presents “FFANY Shoes on Sale” fundraising gala returns this week, featuring an even larger assortment of footwear for sale than ever. More than 87,000 pairs have been donated by 85 brands, 16 of which are new to the event.
Typically, about 75,000 pairs of shoes are sold during the live gala and accompanying QVC telethon, said Mike George, president and CEO of QVC. He estimated that this year’s event could add from $1 million to $5 million to the total of $50 million raised by the fundraiser in its history.
FFANY Shoes on Sale will be held Oct. 25, once again at the Waldorf Astoria in New York, hosted by QVC personality Jill Martin.
And in an unusual twist, the complementary three-hour QVC telethon, which typically runs after the gala, aired last week, on Oct. 20.
Newcomers among the 85 brands participating in Shoes on Sale include Daya by Zendaya (who is also the 2016 PSA spokesperson), Carter’s, Fila, Tretorn, ED by Ellen Degeneres and Ann Marino by Bettye Muller. In addition, the fundraiser has doubled its selection of men’s footwear.
With this larger assortment, the organizers plan to highlight more product on Oct. 25. Ron Fromm, president and CEO of FFANY, said the inventory of shoes for sale during the evening will double, to 3,500 pairs. And the Designer Shoe Salon is expanding to include space in the foyer of the Waldorf, where for the first time the public will be allowed to shop, beginning at 7:30 p.m., though entry will be limited to the first 500 people.
The Special Honorees
In addition to hosting the Shoe Salon, FFANY will bestow its annual awards at the gala. This year, the organization is recognizing Aquazzura founder Edgardo Osorio as its Designer of the Year; activist and author Sandra Lee will receive the Jodi Fisher Humanitarian Award; and e-tailer Shopbop has been named Retailer of the Year.
“We are proud to honor these exceptional people and companies at this year’s FFANY Shoes on Sale,” said Fromm. “This year’s honorees were chosen not only for their leadership within their respective fields, but for their continual dedication and support to the footwear industry and breast cancer research.”
Finally, a special tribute to Jerome Fisher, the co-founder of Nine West who died in June, will take place at the event as well. Fromm said the Fisher Charitable Foundation will announce “a substantial gift” to lead off a text pledge drive.
Making a Difference
For more than 20 years, competitors from across the footwear industry have united to support FFANY Shoes on Sale by donating shoes and other resources. This year, four companies are serving as Pink Benefactors, meaning they’ve contributed more than $500,000 worth of product. Those companies are Caleres, Camuto Group, Nine West Holdings Inc. and Marc Fisher Footwear.
Diane Sullivan, chairman, president and CEO of Caleres, highlighted her company’s commitment to fighting breast cancer. “We all know someone who has been affected by the disease,” she said. “The money that comes back from this great event to our community and [research teams like] Siteman Cancer Center benefits our co-workers, families and friends. It is very personal to us, and we are honored to lend our support.”
There are nine beneficiaries of the charity event, including Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center and the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Angela DeMichele, co-chair of Abramson’s 2-Prevent Breast Cancer Translational Center of Excellence at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, said funding received from Shoes on Sale “has been instrumental” in developing the research center at the university.
“2-Prevent is focused on breast cancer recurrence, developing innovative ways to detect and prevent recurrence before it becomes incurable metastatic disease, and developing personalized approaches to treating those who have developed recurrence through molecular diagnosis and tailored treatment,” she added.
Said QVC’s George: “I’m always blown away by the stories [from the beneficiaries], by how important the funding is for them and how they use it. You feel good that the funding is going to worthwhile organizations.”