Retailers Give Back

By Abigail A. Lorden, Editor-in-Chief | September 08, 2009

It's been nearly one year since the U.S. and global economies were shaken to their core by the Stock Market Crash of 2008. The recession that has followed has touched every single American in a unique, and often challenging, way. As with all challenges, these adverse times present an opportunity to learn a valuable lesson, or rather several lessons: that life does, in fact, go on and we might as well get to living rather that be halted by uncertainly; that our true riches come from each other; and that the toughest times, as they have for thousands of years, present the opportunity for our highest growth.

One group of individuals from across the retail technology industry is embodying the spirit of these lessons and has rallied around a singular cause: that of providing resources for the 143 million vulnerable and orphaned children across the world. Their cause is the Retail Orphan Initiative (Retail ROI, www.retailroi.org). Its members range from the CIO of Sears Holdings to the research vice president of Gartner, Inc., as well as executives from IHL Consulting Group, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, 1-800-Flowers, and many others.

The group has three overriding goals: to raise awareness about orphans worldwide; to work with retailers, hospitality operators and others to create internal programs for orphan/foster care; and to become a fund-raising arm for community-based charities that provide resources directly to orphaned children.

Retail ROI has already provided funding for several localized charities in the U.S. and Africa, and is eager to engage the hospitality community in its efforts. Hotels and restaurants have had a long-established commitment to humanitarian causes the world-over, and undoubtedly will be inspired by their peers in the retail industry. If nothing else, their efforts serve as a great example of the words of Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing

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