When Lindenhurst native Amanda Munz was studying fashion at F.I.T., she noticed how much material is wasted in the industry and thought, “What can I do with all of this merchandise to make a difference?”
That question led her to earn a master’s degree in public administration from Baruch College and launch her nonprofit, The Fashion Foundation, which sells leftover fashion items and uses the money to donate school supplies to underprivileged students.
“It’s a small organization based on Long Island that anybody can support,” Munz says. “You can buy a top for $10 and make a difference for a local kid in New York.”
Designers from around the world donate their leftover clothing, shoes, and accessories to The Fashion Foundation. Then, anyone can browse thefashionfoundation.org and buy the designers’ donations. Munz and her staff of volunteers use proceeds to buy supplies for schools in need in New York City or Long Island.
Munz says she works closely with schools to learn what supplies students can use, buys the items, and delivers donations directly to the schools. She estimates that the organization has made an impact on 16,000 kids with its donations to schools and shelters.
“We realized schools need different things. They might need basic things, and we’re going to get them whatever they need,” she says.
In November, L’Oréal Paris recognized Munz as one of its 10 Women of Worth from across the country. Munz received $20,000 for The Fashion Foundation and a chance to win an additional $25,000 for the Long Island-based organization based on public voting online.
Munz will also appear in an NBC TV special showcasing L’Oréal Paris’s 10 Women of Worth on Thursday, Dec. 16 at 8 p.m.
“When I got that phone call, I had never gotten something like this,” Munz says. “The monetary donation and the exposure is a really exciting honor and it was a really great moment. I did cry.”
Munz got her start in fashion attending the high school Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) program in fashion merchandising in Dix Hills. From there, she experienced her first internship at a Long Island company when she was 16 years old.
“I really believe my LI roots got me to where I am because of my head start in BOCES and my internship,” Munz says. “I’m happy to be here and proud to have this organization here.”