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Connected for Good
Karen Sommer Shalett | Photo: Greg Powers | January 8, 2013
An electrifying West Coast woman put down roots, and became a poster child for DC’s philanthropic power grid.
While the Beach Boys may wish they all could be California girls, Long Beach native Ashley Taylor Bronczek feels a little differently. “I do love L.A., but it’s just in the last few years that my friends there are starting to get into things like the Junior League,” says the 30-year-old. “I think DC is unlike any other city I’ve seen when it comes to people being involved in nonprofits. Our entire social network revolves around social causes. It’s what makes me love this city so much.”
The transplant had a bit of a head start when she moved to Washington in 2004. The granddaughter of jewelry maven Ann Hand, Bronczek quickly took to the family business—and philanthropic efforts. “My grandparents have long worked with the USO, among so many other philanthropies,” she explains. “My grandmother designed the pins for the different branches for the military and the other organizations she cares about.”
In 2008, Bronczek became a gemologist while studying at the former Gemological Institute of America in Florence, Italy. But it wasn’t until after she’d left her grandmother’s employment and dipped her toe in the real estate market that she decided to create a line of affordable luxury leather bracelets to raise money for the charities that co-brand with her new business. The founder and CEO of We Each Are Responsible launched her first collection of “more stylish LIVESTRONG bands” with the charities Malaria No More and Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation. “The leather is a different color for each charity, with a brass buckle and gold finish,” Bronczek says of the $45 bracelet, $10 of which goes back to the charity for which it’s ordered.
WEAR’s production facilities are local, and Bronczek intends to grow organically. “I really hope that it can be a platform for every charity to brand itself and to use it as a fundraising tool,” she says, “but I want this to be a grassroots campaign. I’m first working with pre-existing relationships— boards I’m on or my friends are involved with. Once I see the response, I can start growing nationally.”
WEAR bracelets, ’Chups, volunteering, buying American, intimate dinner parties, Uber, Pure Barre, George Town Club
DC’s dearth of crispy rice, loud iPhone keyboards, crippling partisanship, First World problems, the term socialite, leggings worn as pants