An economic tailspin. Federal bailouts. Retail bankruptcies. Low consumer spending. Good news may be at a premium these days, but a group of the retail industry’s information technology executives is creating hope by focusing on the future—and helping the many under-privileged children who could shape it.
There are 400 million vulnerable children across the globe. Some are abandoned or participate in a foster-care program. Others live with their families in poverty and are at risk of dying from disease or famine. Every 5.2 seconds one of these forgotten children will die.
Concerned about these sobering statistics, a band of the industry’s IT leaders decided it was time to make a difference. Pushing aside the turbulent global economic conditions, and equally harsh human conditions affecting families worldwide, the team created the Retail Orphan Initiative, or RetailROI.
“The not-for-profit organization is dedicated to creating awareness about adoption opportunities and providing solutions for these vulnerable children,” said Timothy Kasbe, senior VP and CIO for Sears Holdings Corp., Hoffman Estates, Ill., and a founding member of the RetailROI board of advisers.
The group, which officially formed in November, is committed to raising funds and awarding them to charities dedicated to needy children. Some grants will cover orphan care such as food, shelter, clothing, medical services and education; others will assist foster-care and adoption organizations, and programs that rescue children from human trafficking. The foundation is also focused on establishing grants and zero-percent interest loans for adoption, and supporting life-skills training for orphaned and vulnerable children.