Birmingham residents Jennifer Granger 51, and Amanda Fisher, 33, joined forces in 2017 and founded Fashion x Philanthropy, a curated fashion experience that raises awareness about impact organizations and enables social change — one designer shoe at a time.
By Rachel Schostak
Photography Allison Farrand
1. Can you tell us about your professional background?
AF: My career has been a series of serendipitous moments. I actually stumbled into the first phase of my career while I was in my junior year of college at the University of Michigan doing event production, communications and fundraising for impact organizations that I worked with in the past. I went from lending a hand to a local charity with their marketing or promoting an event they had coming up to full-service event management. I started my own company, Amanda Fisher Productions, in 2010. Fast-forward six years later, I was managing an event at a beautiful home in Birmingham benefitting the Detroit Symphony Orchestra when I realized my passion for real estate. I took a leap and became a residential Realtor. Two years ago I met Jennifer and we both agreed there was a gap in the market of commerce and impact. Fashion x Philanthropy was born! Now alongside real estate, I’m back in events for impact organizations! I’ve truly come full circle.
JG: My professional career was in technology before children. But, I have dedicated the past two decades of my life to help volunteer and fundraise for those who need it the most — underserved children and their families. No matter what city I live in, my top priority is how do I give back to the community and its people. I first started volunteering for the Pajama Program in New York, which provides pajamas and books to children in foster care, and helped create a nonprofit, Spirit of Hope, which provides scholarships to kids in the foster care system. During my time in Sacramento, I volunteered for the Sacramento Children’s Home, Make-A-Wish, City Year, Salvation Army, Crocker Art Museum and the Sacramento Regional Family Justice Center. Since I moved to Detroit in 2017, I started Fashion x Philanthropy and sit on the board of City Year, and help many local charities through fundraising, chairing events or being an ambassador in the community to support their mission.
2. You both are givers in our community and very involved with various organizations — can you share a few organizations that are near and dear to your heart?
AF: Jennifer and I are both on the board of City Year Detroit. These organizations are like your children — you can’t really pick a favorite, but City Year definitely has my heart. I also love Empowerment Plan, Starfish Family Services and many of the organizations working in Brightmoor, just to name a few. There are so many incredible impact organizations out there right now. It’s so exciting to see how the philanthropic ecosystem has grown.
3. You came together and started the charitable organization Fashion x Philanthropy. How did you two meet and come up with the Fashion x Philanthropy concept?
Both: We got set up on a “blind date,” because our friends knew how passionate we both were about philanthropy. When we first met, it just clicked. We also love fashion, but felt there had to be a way to better combine the world of commerce with the community. We knew there was real power in bringing people together who love the things we do, and to seamlessly give back while they shop. Fashion x Philanthropy is the catalyst between retailers and impact organizations in order to increase social change.
4. How do you pick event partners and the charity benefactor?
Both: It has always been very organic for us to choose a benefactor. We take an overarching look at the event, who our target audience will be, and then with our knowledge of the outstanding philanthropic leaders in our community, we decide which impact partner we think would be the best to collaborate with. We always make sure that the organization we recommend aligns with our retailer’s social mission to ensure they are just as passionate about the cause as we are. Now that we have gotten some traction, impact partners and retailers will approach us if they think they are a good fit as well. It’s like a perfect puzzle.
About your passion for giving…
5. Can you share some of the past FXP events and local charities you have supported? Any special moments that stand out?
Both: Each event we do incorporates a fashion element, typically with a fashion show or a presentation, and a collaboration with a retailer and one or more community partners. We’ve done events to benefit the Detroit Music Hall, St. Jude, Child Safe and the Pajama Program to name a few. We love when there is synergy between our partners and think it’s extremely important to facilitate and promote organizations working together to increase their collective impact. One of our favorite collaborations was between Pajama Program and Child Safe, both of which are serving children in foster care. We were excited to bring them together because they were both working for the same cause, just in different capacities. We also co-chaired and sponsored Fash Bash this year at the Detroit Institute of Arts, which was truly amazing. For our most recent event, we were honored to host designers of Veronica Beard, who in partnership with Neiman Marcus graciously donated 10% of gross sales and 100% of ticket proceeds to the Empowerment Plan.
6. How can someone attend your events?
7. Any specific plans for Fashion x Philanthropy in 2020?
Both: We want to keep strategically growing so that we can be as impactful as possible within the community. We are also looking to expand into other markets and have some exciting ideas of how we can deepen the correlation between fashion and philanthropy so that our subscribers can look good and feel good too. Stay tuned!
8. Is there anyone that inspires you within the philanthropic/nonprofit world?
AF: My Dad, Phillip, is my hero. He inspires me every day with his passion and his relentless drive to maximize impact. He’s been paving the way in the impact investing arena, and I’m just grateful I get to learn from him. I feel so lucky every day to call him my father! My other mentor in philanthropy is Doug Stewart, our executive director of the Fisher Foundation. He has taught me so much in the world of giving, but he’s also just an incredible person. He even officiated my wedding!
JG: My best friend, Julie Teel, who I met in California. Julie truly understands the importance of giving back to your community. Philanthropy was something that was instilled in her at a young age, and it’s clear that giving back is part of her DNA. She’s genuinely passionate and committed to every cause she gets involved in. Julie and I worked side by side in California with many charities to make a difference. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from her and her family.
9. As we are headed into Thanksgiving this month, what are you most thankful for?
AF: Wow, there’s so much to be thankful for. I am truly blessed. We always say, “Family First.” I’m thankful everyday for my family, their health, my amazing husband and my incredible friends who are truly family. I am so grateful and humbled by the roots and the legacy my grandparents left me, and the incredible people I am surrounded by professionally, personally and philanthropically. My husband and I are building our first home in Birmingham together, and we can’t wait to start that next chapter. But now I’ve got the building bug, and I’m already looking for more opportunities to further explore my passion for real estate. It’s just an incredible time right now, and I’m so thankful for this life.
JG: I’m grateful for my husband and my daughters, my friends who have become like family, and for how Detroit has welcomed our family into the community. My husband says this is the happiest he has ever seen me.
Now on to your style…
10. Head-to-toe outfit details of the outfit you are wearing?
Clothing: Majestic Paris for Neiman Marcus soft touch short-sleeve V-neck tee, Veronica Beard Hadley scuba jacket and Veronica Beard Barnes short skirt with buttons, Chanel calfskin high boot, all from Neiman Marcus in Troy.
Accessories: Veronica Beard Nassau scarf, Louis Vuitton gold chain belt (shop similar), Gorjana compass necklace and engagement ring, stacked rings and solitaire diamond necklace by Shay Berger in Birmingham.
Clothing: Veronica Beard cutaway contrast-trim jacket and Veronica Beard Rosanna wide leg jeans from Neiman Marcus in Troy, “Be good to people” signature stretch tank from begoodtopeople.com and Christian Louboutin Anjalina 85 suede pumps.
11. Three words to describe your style?
AF: Classic, feminine and effortless.
JG: Bold, classic with a little edge.
12. Where do you enjoy shopping locally?
AF: I have to admit I do a lot of online shopping. But locally, you can find me at Neiman’s, Saks or Intermix.
JG: Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Dolce Moda.
13. Your go-to brand or look?
AF: My go-to look is always a great pair of jeans, statement shoes, a beautiful belt, a button-down or a soft graphic tee, and a well-tailored blazer. I love mixing high-end and low-end pieces, pairing classic designer staples with something I found for a great deal online or on my travels. The less I have to think about an outfit, the better, and that effortless elegance (with an edge) is something I aspire to.
JG: My go-to brand is Chanel. It’s timeless. My “look” is Mother jeans, a Veronica Beard blazer, a T-shirt and Valentino sneakers.
14. You’re never fully dressed without___?
AF: A belt or a great pair of shoes, of course! Together they can elevate any outfit.
JG: Kindness and a great handbag.
15. One item you can’t leave home without____?
AF: My compass necklace. My husband gave it to me because he calls me his compass, and to me it symbolizes love no matter what direction I’m headed in.
JG: My do good necklace.
16. Your current must-have item?
AF: Anything animal print and all kinds of hair accessories. I’m obsessed.
JG: I just bought a Christian Dior monogram saddle bag and love it.
17. Do you have a style icon?
AF: My grandmother, Marjorie, who we lovingly called “Dearie,” was the epitome of elegance and style. Whether it was her wardrobe or entertaining, no one did it like her in my eyes. She was always the first to know and wear the hottest trends and had so many friends in the fashion world. I would hear her talking about her new favorite designer or her predictions for the hottest color of the season and without fail, there it was on the runways at fashion week. She was classic and bold — the definition of an icon. A true force to be reckoned with.
JG: Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly. I love their timeless look, and they are my go-to look for fancy events.
18. Most cherished item in your closet?
AF: This is a hard one. I would say my wedding band that my husband had replicated from his grandfather’s wedding ring, which he wore throughout WWII. Or my grandmother’s rings — I took a diamond necklace she gave me that wasn’t necessarily my style and reset the stones into a simple ring stack. Now it’s one of my favorite things to wear.
JG: My orange Hermes Birkin bag. I bought it right before Chris, our daughters and I moved to Michigan and for me, it symbolizes the start of my new life here. Every time I look at it, it makes me think of the excitement I felt for planting roots in this community.
19. Favorite quote or words to live by?
AF: My grandmother used to say: “All giving starts with your heart and then you use your head,” “Two of the most important people in your life are a good doctor and a good tailor,” and “The worst thing you can be in life is boring.”
JG: The Granger family motto is “work hard and be nice.” We tell our girls everything in life falls under that. But my personal favorite is “don’t judge someone’s story by the chapter you walked in on.”