Amid truffles, cocktails, and colorful FEED 10 Bags at New York City's Fifth Avenue Godiva store, Godiva CEO Jim Goldman and FEED co-founder Lauren Bush Lauren announced a new initiative meant to embrace inspirational women, the Lady Godiva Project.
If you didn't know, Godiva Chocolatier was in fact named after the 11th-century legend, in part because of her generosity. Her husband, Lord Leofric, made a bet with her that he wouldn't tax the citizens of Coventry, England, if she rode a horse down the streets of the town — naked. She mustered up the courage to complete act, despite her modesty, to save her townspeople; what was more miraculous than her scandalous ride was that the people in turn closed their shutters. (Take a closer look at Godiva's logo: it's Lady Godiva on the horse).
The new program, named after the inspirational woman, has both local and national outreach: the online community forum allows users to nominate inspirational women for the chance to win a $10,000 grant for their cause. The company will award 12 women this year with $1,000 awards.
In addition to a local initiative to inspire women, Godiva picked one national Lady Godiva honoree. The "perfect inspiration" for the award? Lauren, who founded the "conscious consumer" FEED Project in 2006, has helped donate 60 million meals to schools. To honor Lauren and help her cause, Godiva will sell a custom FEED 10 bag in the stores, starting April 19 (just in time for Mother's Day). The bags, which are made by women artisans in Liberia's first free-trade factory, will donate 10 school meals. Lauren said the bags not only empower children, but the women in Liberia as well: "To support this wonderful group of women, who need our support, is so exciting. This order means the world to them," she said.
At the event, Lauren expressed her excitement at the partnership. "It's such a joyful gift, the gift of chocolate, and the gift of giving back — it's a win-win," she said to the crowd. Lauren, a self-proclaimed "chocoholic" who loves to have a little dark chocolate before bed, said it was a "feel-good partnership." "The notion of highlighting both local and national women doing great things — who doesn't want to get behind that?" she said.
Goldman said the Lady Godiva program was a natural fit for Godiva Chocolatier. "This is part of our DNA," he said. "We've been giving for many years but really hadn't rolled it into one powerful program. What we realized is what we're all about, Lady Godiva, who embodied the inspiration that we wanted." He said it was important to also regonize women on a local level. "We want to elevate people who are doing great stuff, but not in the spotlight," he said.
The bags can be bought in Godiva stores for $25 — best bought with chocolate.