Fashion industry powerhouse Karen Harvey’s The Blue Project is helping women in shelters get back on their feet and prepared for the workforce.
As the founder of Karen Harvey Companies, Harvey advises some of the biggest names in the fashion industry to find world-class talent and develop business strategies. After seeing a growing need, Harvey created The Blue Project in partnership with Women in Need. The program helps women in shelters get back on their feet as they prepare for jobs and job interviews. KHC helps the women put resumes together, and the women participate in 10 prep sessions focused and tailored on getting them interview-ready and prepared to re-enter the workforce. The women visit the KHC offices for essential exercises like resume building, interview practice, focusing their mindset and more. We asked the philanthropic powerhouse to share some words of wisdom.
What first inspired you to join WIN and start The Blue Project?
Philanthropy is a way of life. It’s a way of thinking about the fact that everything we do is not just about us and should be in service of something bigger.
Why do you feel like this is needed now more than ever?
From the moment I opened my first company, I said and decided, as soon as we turn a profit, I’m going to create something that uses our work and our industry to support teenage girls who might be less advantaged. The Blue Project was formed in the third year after Karen Harvey Consulting was first launched, and it was created as a mentorship program to initially work with teenage girls whose mothers or families were either homeless or come from broken families.
You are also involved in the Fashion Tech Forum, helping with sustainability initiatives. How are you advising that the industry makes these important shifts?
We identify what aspect of giving each of us is passionate about and bring that to the center of our work and our organizations. For me, it is mentorship. So now, we are mentoring young talent on a regular basis. And I think, for everyone, thinking about how to support emerging talent or those who might not have access even to education or the opportunity to learn new skills, we can find a way to identify those groups and mentor them, I think particularly after locked down.
As we enter giving season, how do you advise people to find their philanthropic passion and get involved with a cause?
In some ways, I think all we have to do is look around us and see what’s needed. Is it food for the homeless? Is it feeding the homeless on the holidays through a program, is it bringing gifts to children living in shelters? We’ve been incredibly involved with Save the Children. And I think that’s a very easy way to just contribute money to an organization and a cause that is not just taking care of children in war-torn countries, but right here at home, and so we have to pick our heads up. We have to look around, we have to see what’s needed and align on how we’re going to execute, and there are plenty of organizations out there that are more than willing to help you.
Photography by: PHOTO COURTESY OF Karen Harvey Companies