Henkaa's Giving Back: Remembering Jo
Our late founder Jo lit up every room she walked into with her bright smile and incredible energy ✨
Jo taught all of us the importance and power of being yourself. And it's part of our mission at Henkaa to continue her legacy by sharing this message in everything we do.
In her memory, Jo's husband Stan and their children established the Joanna Duong Chang Memorial Foundation with the support of the Toronto Foundation.
By supporting our small business, you’re also investing in girls and women to reach their fullest potentials because we donate 1% of our sales to Jo's Foundation year-round.
The mission of Jo's Foundation is to break down barriers preventing girls and women from reaching their full potential.
As a first step, the funds established the JDC Memorial Scholarship at the University of Waterloo for a female business major in the Math Faculty, Jo’s Alma Mater. To date, Jo has been the only woman to win the University of Waterloo's Faculty of Mathematics Young Achievement Award (2016). With women still underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programming, we feel it is important to support the success of young women in this field.
The process to recognize and honour Jo at her alma mater began in 2020, and we're proud to announce that the first recipient if this award: Angelina!
To learn more about Angelina, head on over to rememberjo.com!
In addition to the scholarship, Jo's Foundation supports charities that:
- Empower women to be financially independent
- Support, educate, improve access and create community for girls and women in varying life stages to be self-confident, build supportive networks and improve their quality of life
- Provide opportunities to support entrepreneurial efforts, including access to training, professional development and mentorship
Read on below for Henkaa's additional fundraising efforts to support Jo's Foundation, and where the funds have been dispersed so far.
Forever in our hearts, we know Jo's still with us, walking beside us as we continue to build upon the vision she created and shared with us. A vision where we...
...love ourselves as we are...
...feel confident and safe to express our true selves...
...make life easier for ourselves while also reducing our fashion footprint...
...celebrate our unique journeys through life
Thank you for your support - we are grateful for you 💗
Jo loved celebrations, and her birthday on July 29 was always ones of the biggest bashes of the year.
In the past, we've worked with amazing local businesses to deliver Celebration Boxes with yummy food to foundation supporters and Henkaanistas.
This year, we continue to partner with small women-owned businesses to fundraise for the Joanna Duong Chang Memorial Foundation - while building community and spreading their good work to more people.
We're working with Shiftly.ca to bring you 2 curated gift bundles for self-care - with items we think Jo would've loved. Shiftly.ca is generously donating 5% of each gift bundle to Jo's Foundation!
Both Henkaa and Jo's Foundation are active in giving back to the community.
Jo's Foundation made a donation of $1500 to the Thunder Woman Healing Lodge Society, which will be matched by the Toronto Foundation's Black and Indigenous Futures Fund.
The mandate of the Thunder Woman Healing Lodge Society: "To establish a Healing Lodge for First Nations (Status and Non-Status), Inuit, and Metis 2SLGBTQIA+ women who are in conflict with the law, and for those who have survived intergenerational trauma. To provide cultural support, traditional knowledge and resources, for the advancement of wholeness and balance. To empower First Nations (Status and Non-Status), Inuit, and Metis 2SLGBTQIA+ Women to take their honoured place within their community and culture."
Since 2020, Henkaa has donated 200 pairs of underwear each year to the YWCA, a much needed essential. The YWCA helps women and girls “flee violence, secure housing, find jobs, establish their voices, enhance skills and develop confidence.”
Read about Henkaa's past giving efforts here.
Henkaa was born out of a desire to empower women while creating a more diverse, inclusive, and sustainable fashion space. It began with the idea that women could find freedom, comfort, and joy in the clothing they wore - through Made in Canada convertible, multifunctional clothing that is size-flexible and that be worn for many different events and activities. This is quite opposite of most other pieces of clothing, especially dresses that you'd wear for special occasions, which are often one-time use and very size restrictive.
The Henkaa team and I are more committed than ever to our values of diversity, inclusion, and sustainability and through our 10-year history, we have not wavered from them; however, the events and circumstances of the past three months - both the Black Lives Matter movement and the COVID-19 pandemic - have brought into sharp relief the realization that we need to and must do more. We cannot stand idly or silently by.
As a team and as a brand, we will continue to listen, learn, share, and act to amplify important causes.
Today we are announcing the launch of our checkout donations matching program, where you can add a donation of 1% to 5% of the value of your order in support of three organizations we are supporting for 2020.
Henkaa will match each of your donations and split the donations equally between:
- Joanna Duong Chang Memorial Foundation - an endowment fund Henkaa helped to establish with Joanna's husband, in memory of our fearless founder who passed away last year. This foundation is Jo's legacy, and aims to create a scholarship at Joanna's alma mater, the University of Waterloo to support women Math majors and seek to donate funds to charities that empower women and girls to reach their fullest potentials
- YWCA Toronto - while many of us have been doing our part to by staying home during the COVID-19 pandemic, home may not be the safest place - especially for women and their children who are experiencing abuse and violence. Donations to YWCA will support their women's shelters and women fleeing abuse.
- Black Women in Motion - we are committed to supporting Black Lives Matter and we will be donating to this important organization which has a mission to empower, celebrate and support the advancement of Black womxn
We're showing up, and standing up for what we believe in. We're a small but mighty company, and together with you, we can make a big difference! Thank you, our community of Henkaanistas for supporting us and these meaningful causes.
And speaking of our community, and what's important to us, we want to make it known that YOU are important to us. You make all of this possible, and as we approach our 10 Year Anniversary, we will be taking a look back and remembering the celebrations and events in your lives that we've had the honour of being a part of.
As we work towards making the world a better place, we will also continue to celebrate special days and make every day special too.
Thank you for coming on this journey with us - we look forward to continuing to be a part of yours as well.
Co-Owner & Managing Director