Storefront Philanthropy - Retailers are Creating a New Model of Philanthropy and Cause Marketing

Nov 8, 2010 10:30 AM ET
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What Do You Stand For?

Storefronts can be for more than just peddling wares - they can also serve as a vehicle for promoting the greater good. Although selling products associated with a cause has become mainstream, there are a small number of retailers going beyond the shelf and creating new models for pairing business and philanthropy.

Seattle-based department store Nordstrom caused a flurry of chatter when it signed a lease for a prime NYC location. But the venerable chain isn’t moving into a new flagship location. Instead, Nordstrom will be opening a nonprofit subsidiary that will be branded separately from the well-known retailer. Though the details are still in the works, a Nordstrom spokesperson confirmed “all [store] profits will go to nonprofit organizations.” Perhaps Nordstrom is in search of philanthropic success like that of Geoffrey Beene, the legendary men’s retailer, which donates 100 percent of net profits to nonprofit organizations, raising $145 million for various charities to-date.