Board Member Pamela Hootkin Featured as Wall Street Journal Donor of the Day
Posted on: Friday, July 8, 2011
Lending a Hand to Victims of Domestic Violence
By Melanie Grayce West
July 8, 2011
Pamela Hootkin decided to step up her philanthropic commitment to the city about 10 years ago. So she began by volunteering at a residence for domestic violence victims run by Safe Horizon, a nonprofit agency.
The charity became the center of Ms. Hootkin's charitable work and in the process she looped in coworkers, her company, friends and family, too.
She asked her employer, Phillips-Van Heusen Corp., for financial support through its foundation. She enlisted colleagues to join her in putting on holiday and back-to-school programs for the mothers and children at the Brooklyn shelter, an activity she still does today. Another division of her company adopted a shelter in Staten Island. The company's chairman and chief executive, Emanuel Chirico, helped initiate a campaign to raise awareness about the impact of domestic violence in the workplace.
"Everyone became very involved," says Ms. Hootkin. They were motivated by the commitment to "directly help people who are in crisis," she says.
Safe Horizon serves more than 250,000 New York children, families and adults affected by crime and abuse annually. It is the country's largest victims assistance organization, providing crisis hotlines and services for homless young people, victims of domestic abuse, rape, stalking and child abuse and support to families who have lost relatives to murder.
Ms. Hootkin, 63 years old, is the senior vice president, treasurer and investor relations at Phillips-Van Heusen. A TriBeCa resident, she says she wanted her philanthropic commitment to be local. "I'm a city person and totally committed to the city," she says. "I knew that there are infinite opportunities to make a difference and I didn't want to make it only financially. For me it needed to be both a personal commitment and a financial commitment."
Beyond the volunteer service, Ms. Hootkin and her husband, Stephen, have given more than $200,000 to Safe Horizon, including a recent gift of $50,000. Ms. Hootkin is vice chairwoman of the Safe Horizon board of directors and her daughter, Julie, previously served on Safe Horizon's Junior Council.
Ms. Hootkin's introduction to the organization started simply enough: She was invited to the organization's charity luncheon by a coworker. She knew little of the organization before the lunch, but was deeply moved by the story of a survivor of domestic violence who reached out to Safe Horizon. That young woman ultimately went on to law school and then to become an advocate for victims.
"How can you not respond to the story of a woman who's been abused and has to leave in the middle of the night with nothing but her children and go somewhere to start a new life?" says Ms. Hootkin. "That's pretty compelling."
Read the original article here: "Lending a Hand to Victims of Domestic Violence" http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303365804576432093637034246.html?KEYWORDS=hootkin