NEW: Alex and Ani Donates $1 Million to Bryant University
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Alex and Ani, Inc. - named one of Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest growing companies for 2011, has donated $1 million to Bryant University. The gift -- $100,000 a year for 10 years – will support the University’s nationally recognized International Business (IB) program.
Giovanni Feroce, CEO of Alex and Ani, calls the gift “a commitment to growth and international expansion. Bryant offers local unparalleled expertise for any serious business to access and leverage in their international efforts. My hope is that other companies in the region understand the value and necessity of partnering with Bryant and follow suit.”
The gift from the company, known for the signature expandable bangles, earrings and necklaces designed by owner Carolyn Rafaelian, illustrates Alex and Ani’s “give as we grow” approach to philanthropy, Feroce said. “With Carolyn’s support, we are coordinating major gifts to local institutions that are long-term partners in creating jobs in Rhode Island. Bryant was at the top of that list,” he said. Rafaelian’s father, Ralph, graduated from Bryant in 1955. In honor of the gift, Bryant’s Chafee Center for International Business has renamed its conference room The Ralph Rafaelian ’55 Conference Room.
The company’s gift was inspired by a relationship that began in 2010 when Alex and Ani approached the Chafee Center seeking guidance as it expanded its business into Spain. The Chafee Center connected Feroce with faculty and students in the University’s IB program. In the spring of 2011, Alex and Ani became one of 17 companies to partner with the IB Senior Practicum – a hands-on business lab in which seniors majoring in IB serve as consultants to help companies meet global business challenges.
Feroce received the students’ recommendations in May 2011. “The immense professionalism of the Chafee Center and its director, Ray Fogarty, along with the detailed feedback and continuous support provided by the practicum team, Prof. Madan Annavarjula and staff at the Chafee Center have proven extremely valuable in our global business expansion strategy,” he said.
“Corporate partnerships like this one with Alex and Ani give our students opportunities to practice what they learn in the classroom as they prepare to lead in a global context,” said Jose-Marie Griffiths, vice president for academic affairs. “In addition, the company is an especially relevant corporate role model. Its domestic success is turning into an international success in front of our students’ eyes, and its commitment to corporate philanthropy offers Bryant students an example to follow.”