Donna Karan honored in DC for Haiti serviceOne year after a devastating earthquake rocked the island nation of Haiti, thousands of families remain sheltered due in large part to efforts supported by fashion designer, Donna Karan.

Deeply moved by the earthquake’s impact on the Haitian people, Karan’s Urban Zen Foundation partnered with ShelterBox, an international disaster relief organization to provide emergency shelter and life-saving equipment to disaster survivors.

More than 28,000 ShelterBoxes, which include tents, water purification systems and tool kits, have been distributed in Haiti. The ShelterBox aid delivered can support approximately 280,000 people and accounts for a quarter of the tents used to shelter those displaced by the disaster.

The fashion icon and passionate philanthropist enlisted celebrities  including Whoopi Goldberg, Wyclef Jean, Mary J. Blige, and Ralph Lauren and upscale retailers like Neiman Marcus to launch “Hope Help & Relief Haiti,” an ongoing initiative whose mission is to create a conscious community of leaders in music, fashion, film, finance and art to become agents of change for the renewal of Haiti.

In addition to hosting a star-studded fundraiser in which ShelterBox was the main recipient of support, Karan displayed ShelterBox tents in stores and generated customer donations through online promotions.  This generated hundreds of thousands of dollars to secure shelter for the people of Haiti as the rainy season approached.

“Donna Karan has an incredible ability to inspire others to act and her efforts continue to have a huge impact on the Haitian people,” said Veronica Brandon Miller, ShelterBox USA executive director.

Karan’s long-term commitment to philanthropy and global healing led her to found the Urban Zen Foundation, an organization that brings together like-minded people and organizations to define solutions and implement action in the areas of well-being; empowering children; and preserving culture.

“When the earthquake happened, a call to action was needed where we created Hope Help & Relief Haiti (HHRH), ‘a tent today, a home tomorrow,’ to look for the best potential solution of how we could help,” said Donna Karan. “ShelterBox was the answer. It gave a person a tent with all the tools necessary for survival to take care of families. From sleeping bags to a water filtration system, the ShelterBox tents are still one of the most important things that Haiti needs.”  

Donna Karan will be honored as ShelterBox USA’s Humanitarian of the Year at a reception on Feb. 3, 2011, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Liaison Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Details are available at or by calling (941) 907-6036.

Individual tax-deductible donations to ShelterBox USA can be made at, 941.907.6036 or via text message by sending SHELTER to 20222 for a one-time $10 donation.

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