Heroes of the Heart
Since our inception, dedicated supporters have shared their time, resources and passion with Joyful Heart in a big way. Due in large part to their support, we are able to provide life-changing services for survivors and those that are a mainstay in the healing process. We are privileged to honor and acknowledge and handful of these individuals as Heroes of the Heart.
Alexandra Cohen doesn’t consider herself a hero. Yet, few people have done as much charitable work or have had as a profoundly positive impact upon the lives of many as the current mother of four. Inspired at a young age by her mother, who took it upon herself to raise twelve children from other homes, she began to give of herself at an early age; feeding the elderly during lunch in high school, serving food in soup kitchens, volunteering at the local hospital.
When Alexandra married and had children of her own, she was moved by the plight of one of her daughter’s friends, aiding in the construction and development of a playroom for the children’s oncology unit at Schneider’s Children’s Hospital in Long Island. She is also passionate about education and she and her husband have helped support schools in through the Harlem Children’s Zone and are responsible for the construction of science labs and libraries throughout the boroughs.
A few years ago, Alexandra was introduced to Joyful Heart through a friend who invited her to an event. As women shared their stories, she began to cry. The stories hit home; she had a relative who was in an abusive relationship and was a survivor of sexual assault. As she listened, she heard pain, but also peace and strength that came from sharing and receiving the support they deserve. From there, Alexandra was inspired and hooked on Joyful Heart.
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She is best known for developing the famous line of philosophy beauty products, yet her true calling lies in her charitable endeavors. That is why in 2007, she chose to leave her company, focusing instead on the development of Art of Grace, a not-for-profit that focuses on elevating the public’s awareness of other important causes.
The children’s book, The Changing Room, was an organic outgrowth of her friendship with Joyful Heart founder, Mariska Hargitay. Motherhood, for Cristina, awakened a sense of newfound joy. Mariska, having just given birth to her son August, was going through a similar experience. The book was an effort to share the overwhelmingly positive experience of motherhood (a child’s laugh, a baby’s smile) with survivors and supporters alike.
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The creative genius behind the New York City based jewelry company, Me & Ro, was more than happy to work with Joyful Heart, as the foundation’s mission is one close to her heart. Having seen a friend through the healing process, she was well aware of how trying the process can be. The Fearlessness pendant, available through the Heartshop, was created to raise awareness surrounding the issues of sexual assault and violence.
Renzi designs and takes her inspiration from ancient cultures, the natural world and "the human need both to adorn and to communicate through jewelry." She uses thousand-year-old beads, fine metals and precious stones come together in unique and elegant contemporary designs. Since founding of Me&Ro in 1991, Renzi’s designs have continued to increase public awareness surrounding a range of important issues.
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Take a look behind the stellar reputation of Fifth&Pacific—formerly Liz Claiborne—in the philanthropic field, and you will find the utterly remarkable Jane Randel. As VP of Corporate Communications, Randel manages both external and internal communications, oversees all philanthropic programs, and has been the driving force behind the company's award-winning cause marketing program aimed at raising awareness about and ultimately preventing violence against women.
In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the Liz Claiborne Foundation, Ms. Randel is on the National Domestic Violence Hotline Advisory Board and is a member of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape/National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s Honorary Board. Ms. Randel is the immediate-past President of the Board of the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence and served six years on the Board of Safe Horizon, the nation’s largest victim assistance organization. In 2005 she was named one of 21 Leaders for the 21st Century’s by WomensEnews; in 2006, she was included on the Crain’s New York Business list of “40 under 40;” and in 2009, she was honored by the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York for her work on teen dating abuse. Ms. Randel is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and lives in New Jersey with her husband and three sons.
Read more here.