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It’s not every day that local charities have an opportunity to win $5,000 for their organization. It’s even rarer that the women behind the scenes get to be treated to a day of luxury and style. Those two ideas are exactly what we wanted to accomplish when we partnered with Mednikow for our $5,000 Charity Giveaway. The giveaway would not only bring much-needed funding to a philanthropic cause, but it would also give our readers a glimpse of the women who run the organizations on a daily basis. These women are hardworking, intelligent, big-hearted, beautiful people who deserve a moment in the spotlight to shine; Mednikow was happy to oblige.

After several rounds of voting, our readers narrowed down the competition, and we are happy to announce that Malachi’s Storehouse is our $5,000 winner! Congratulations to all of our top six finalists. You are the true heroes among us.

Meet representatives from our six charity finalists in the $5,000 Charity Giveaway sponsored by Mednikow.

Meet representatives from our six charity finalists in the $5,000 Charity Giveaway sponsored by Mednikow.

On a sunny November day, we met representatives from each of the top six finalists at Mednikow to learn more about their charities and indulge them for the day. To say it was a smashing success of style and sparkle would be an understatement. Our lovely models wore Little Black Dresses, and in some cases, Little Black Jumpsuits, provided and styled by D’Aja Tweedie of Nordstrom Phipps Plaza. The black garments were the perfect backdrops for Mednikow’s stunning jewelry collection. No day of glamour is complete without a little makeover, and makeup artists Nori Blagg and Laura Johnson of The Cosmetic Market Avalon enhanced each woman’s natural beauty. When all was said and done, the models were glowing with confidence — and jewels!

Today, we’re elated to introduce you to the six finalists for our $5,000 Charity Giveaway sponsored by Mednikow. Besides accomplishing big things for their individual organizations, these women are accomplishing big things in the Atlanta community. We know you’ll be just as inspired by them as we are.

Kathy Malcolm Hall

Co-Director, Malachi’s Storehouse (aka the winner!)

Malachi’s Storehouse is a market-style food pantry, hot meal provider and clothing closet. An outreach of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Dunwoody, the organization serves 800 people per week with 250 of those receiving a weekly hot meal. Here’s how it works: Kathy has 17 teams of volunteers serving in different capacities. On Wednesdays, people seeking a meal arrive at 5 a.m. The hospitality team distributes tickets, and recipients leave until the doors open at 11 a.m. for their meal. Because Malachi’s Storehouse partners with several local food distribution organizations like the Atlanta Community Food Bank and Second Helpings, they are never quite sure what is going to arrive at their kitchen door, but they know every item is a blessing. “Many faith traditions look at each day as a gift and say, ‘What can we do with this gift that we have today?’ It isn’t ‘make a business plan and develop an end goal.’ It really is, ‘let’s start where we are,’” says Kathy. After lunch, people get to shop the market to select their own foods and produce, and they’re given the opportunity to shop the clothing closet, too. It’s a complete morning of care and shopping. “People in poverty don’t have a lot of choices,” Kathy explains, “so it’s a big core value to us to allow people to feel empowered.” Like many of our representatives, this is not Kathy’s full-time job. “I do this because I love it, and because it helps me. It helps me be in the world in a way that I can feel proud of.”

How can Atlanta residents get involved?

Malachi’s Storehouse’s biggest fundraising event is the Hunger Walk/Run held in collaboration with the Atlanta Community Food Bank. Mark your calendars for Sunday, February 25, 2018!

How do you like to spruce-up a little black dress?

“Great shoes. A little black dress is a palette that you can add a pop to.”

Kathy is modeling the following pieces from Mednikow: Natural color, uniform-size, opera-length black, golden, grey and white South Sea and natural color pink freshwater pearl necklace. Dress from Nordstrom.

Kathy also got to wear an antique reproduction diamond bracelet and a cocktail ring featuring an 8-carat round diamond surrounded by even more diamonds.

We love these multicolor sapphire, emerald and diamond flower earrings.

We love these multicolor sapphire, emerald and diamond flower earrings.

Claire Dees

Co-Founder & Executive Director, Spectrum Autism Support Group

Nearly 20 years ago, Claire joined forces with a concerned mother seeking an autism support group for herself and other parents. The duo scheduled their first meeting, complete with donated refreshments, and were stunned when 100 people showed-up. The rest, as they say, is history. “We said to people, ‘What are you looking for in a support group?’ Many people started saying they wanted information, resources and education, but also summer and after-school resources,” Claire explains. Through the first meeting, the goal became clear: to add camps for kids with autism to the area community. Now, the organization serves approximately 750 children per year in summer camps. Monthly support meetings still happen at the First Baptist Church of Duluth, but with strong leadership and vision throughout the years, Spectrum Autism Support has been able to grow ten-fold, and there’s no stopping Claire. “It’s become my passion. I had a son with autism; he passed away six years ago of a sudden heart-attack. He was 23. At the time, my husband said, ‘You know, you don’t have to do this disability work anymore.’ And I said that I can’t think of doing anything else. It is more his legacy that I do continue it.”

How can Atlanta residents get involved?

Now in its 20th year, Spectrum Autism Support is celebrating with monthly events all year long, but Claire says not to miss the Wine Tasting event happening on March 17, 2018.

How do you like to spruce-up a little black dress?

“Always adding accessories like jewelry. I tend to go for pearls first. Different accessories can make an outfit. A lot of times people don’t comment on your dress, but they do comment on your accessories.”

Claire is modeling the following pieces from Mednikow: Long white gold and pearl lariat necklace, wide woven design bezel set diamond bracelet in 18 karat white gold and large 18 karat white gold diamond flower earrings with a white South Sea pearl in the center. Mednikow Atlanta manager of 22 years John Thompson says, “If a woman finds a great pair of earrings, she should wear them frequently. Have two times as many earrings as anything else.” All prices available upon request. Dress from Nordstrom.

Get a closer look at those earrings!

Get a closer look at those earrings!

Kelly Maliska

Development Director, Arthritis Foundation of Georgia

The Arthritis Foundation of Georgia’s mission is to find a cure for the more than 50 million people who are plagued with arthritis. However, Kelly first became interested in the organization for a very specific subgroup of those 50 million: children. “It’s not just something your grandparents get; it’s autoimmune,” Kelly states. In fact, her most recent statistics indicate there are well over 300,000 kids with arthritis. As a result, the foundation focuses on research and lobbying for advocacy because there are only a handful of biologics, or medicines, available, and they only work for a short period of time. “Once your body becomes immune to it, you have to switch to another one, and once you’re out of options, you’re out,” explains Kelly. Local efforts for affected children include specifically designed camps complete with trained doctors and nurses at zero cost for attendees. A percentage of all the Arthritis Foundation of Georgia’s events goes towards funding those camps and provides general advocacy for families. “It’s our job to take you by the hand and introduce you to the best doctors and explain what you want to ask, so you don’t feel alone.”

How can Atlanta residents get involved?

The Jingle Bell Run is coming up on Saturday, December 9, through Grant Park and Zoo Atlanta. It’s the longest-running holiday-themed 5K, and events are held all over the country.

How do you like to spruce-up a little black dress?

“Always jewelry. I have a ton of jewelry; I LOVE jewelry. And bags. I love a good purse.”

Kelly is modeling the following pieces from Mednikow: Golden opal torsade pendant with diamond cap on a long yellow gold chain, light and dark large amethyst bracelet in yellow gold, amethyst and diamond drop earrings in yellow gold and a light and dark amethyst ring with diamonds in yellow gold. Prices are available upon request. Dress from Nordstrom.

This duo is simply divine!

This duo is simply divine!

Rebekah Henry Murphy

President, Junior League of Atlanta

Founded in 1916, the Junior League of Atlanta is a unique movement of women volunteer leaders with a mission to develop women’s potential and to improve the local community. Essentially, the Junior League of Atlanta develops women as civic leaders. As a 100-year-old organization, the group is certainly doing something right. The Junior League has over 100 non-profit partners in the Atlanta area, and the organization works with these groups to provide financial resources and volunteers. The group also focuses on three key areas that are specific issues within the Atlanta community. Rebekah describes the League’s outreach like this: “While we have always worked with promoting the welfare of women and children in the community, we saw a need to focus on education, generational poverty and the commercial sexual exploitation of women and children. There’s a great need for resources and thought-leadership in these areas.” As president, Rebekah is the volunteer CEO for one year who leads over 3,500 members towards the common goal.

How can Atlanta residents get involved?

Sign up for the Shamrock ‘N Roll 5K, 10K, and kids’ fun run at Atlantic Station on March 17, 2018, or plan to visit the 21st Annual Tour of Kitchens March 24 and 25, 2018.

How do you like to spruce-up a little black dress?

“Always with strappy evening shoes and fun earrings.”

Rebekah is modeling the following pieces from Mednikow: Opera-length white South Sea and natural color graduated-size pink freshwater pearl necklace with diamond accents, five-row Angela Cummings pearl bracelet with diamond and gold clasp, South Sea pearl and diamond drop earrings in white gold and a natural color pink freshwater pearl ring with a diamond surround in white gold. Prices are available upon request. Outfit from Nordstrom.

This showstopping set will turn heads!

Pamela Owunta

Director of Development and Operations, Dress for Success Atlanta

Atlanta’s branch of Dress for Success, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, is one of 136 affiliates located in 30 countries. Together with strategic partners, it serves 1,200 women annually in 12 counties in the metro area and provides life-changing resources, tools and job development coaching to move those women who are disadvantaged to become self-sufficient. “Our goal is to ensure that they are thriving in their personal lives as well as in their work lives. We do that by providing clothing as well as job coaching, mentoring, resume development and employment retention. For us, it’s building every woman’s confidence,” explains Pamela. Known for their clothing reach-out, Dress for Success provides up to five complete professional outfits to every client. Through local partners with job-readiness programs, Dress for Success works with women to prepare for success professionally and personally. If you are gearing up for a post-holiday closet clean-out, consider donating your items to Dress for Success. “We ask for all of the donations to be clean and on hangers, but we take everything that is work appropriate. We’re looking for suits, dresses, jewelry, shoes, handbags, even toiletry items. We give all of our ladies everything that we all have to be work appropriate.”

How can Atlanta residents get involved?

The Inventory Sale is Saturday, December 9, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dress for Success headquarters on Howell Mill. Because Dress for Success operates on donations, they often find themselves with fabulous items that can’t be utilized for clients because they’re not work appropriate. Think designer handbags and shoes. “We just had some vintage Chanel pants come in that will be in the sale,” shares Pamela. “And when I say the prices are affordable, prices start at $2, and we don’t go over $30.” Sounds like a great sale to us!

How do you like to spruce-up a little black dress?

“To make it my own, I love big, exotic jewelry. I’m Nigerian, so I wear a lot of my own jewelry from my country. I love emerald green, I love pearls, and I love diamonds. A little black dress for me means accessorizing and also popping it with a red lip. Giving it that Hollywood glam, vintage look.”

Pamela is modeling the following pieces from Mednikow: Heart-shaped sapphire and diamond pendant in white gold, a snake bracelet in alternating sections of pave sapphires and diamonds as it wraps around the wrist in 18 karat white gold, bombe-shaped sapphire and diamond earrings in 18 karat white gold and an oval sapphire and diamond ring. In our opinion, the snake bracelet steals the show. “People want something they aren’t going to find anywhere else and aren’t going to see anywhere else,” insists John. Prices are available upon request. Dress from Nordstrom.

Each of these pieces could easily stand-alone, but they play so nicely together, too!

Each of these pieces could easily stand alone, but they play so nicely together, too!

Cati Diamond Stone

Executive Director, Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta

Susan G. Komen Greater Atlanta was founded 27 years ago in order to fight breast cancer on two fronts: locally, by providing services for those who cannot otherwise afford them, and globally, by funding breast cancer research. While everyone knows about the mission to fund breast cancer research, you might be surprised to learn that the largest part of their work is done locally by partnering with other organizations to meet the needs for metro-Atlanta. “What we know is that more women are diagnosed with breast cancer in metro-Atlanta compared to the United States as a whole,” Cati explains. “There’s an issue here, mostly with late-stage diagnosis, so we are out and about in the community 365 days per year providing education so people understand the need for breast health.” Susan G. Komen suggests a mammogram every year starting at age 40, and clinical breast exams every other year starting at age 20. As a breast cancer survivor, Cati can speak with authority. “I was diagnosed at age 35, and had I waited, I wouldn’t be here with you today.”

How can Atlanta residents get involved?

Get your tickets for Bubbles and Bling, a fundraising cocktail party that doubles as a costume party. This year’s event is on January 27, 2018, and the theme is “Prom.” The organization’s other major event, Race for the Cure, is on May 5, 2018.

How do you like to spruce-up a little black dress?

“I’m a pretty simple, clean kind of girl, so for me usually that means an interesting shoe or a fun pair of earrings, but I’m definitely a classic, not too out there kind of dresser.”

Cati is modeling the following pieces from Mednikow: Black Tahitian South Sea graduated pearl necklace, three-row multicolor diamond bracelet in white gold, chandelier white and yellow diamond earrings in white and yellow gold and finally a  large emerald-cut yellow diamond ring with white diamond accent side stones. John explains the significance of Cati’s earrings: “Earrings are the most important thing a woman can wear. They’re on either side of her face, so it’s the first thing you see.” Prices are available upon request. Dress from Nordstrom.

We envy the lucky lady who has these two pieces wrapped up for the holidays!

We envy the lucky lady who has these two pieces wrapped up for the holidays!

Thank you to these amazing women not only for being our models, but for the work they do in our community to improve the lives of our fellow Atlantans. We’d also like to give a HUGE thank you to the following for making this shoot and giveaway possible:

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Want to meet more amazing Atlanta women? Check out our FACES archives and prepare to be inspired!

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