NEW YORK, Jan. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, a groundbreaking partnership between ANN INC., the parent Company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, and Vital Voices Global Partnership, launched a nationwide search for young women throughout the United States who embody the skills to be tomorrow's leaders. The goal of the Initiative is to identify 50 ANNpower Fellows amid rising high school juniors and seniors who have the potential to be the leaders of their generation. Applications are now being accepted until January 21, 2013 at ANNpower.org. The Fellows chosen will receive leadership training and mentorship by prominent women leaders from around the world as well as a chance to turn their trailblazing ideas into real projects that will positively impact their home communities. As a part of the Initiative, 50 ANNpower Fellows will be invited to attend the 2013 ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum, April 1-4 in Washington D.C. At the Forum, Fellows participate in three days of comprehensive leadership training and mentoring from internationally renowned women who are part of the Vital Voices Global Leadership Network, as well as executives from ANN INC., including President and CEO, Kay Krill. The Forum's curriculum equips these aspiring leaders with the training and mentorship they need to realize their full leadership potential. Armed with these new skills, the Fellows will then return to their communities to create projects to affect change and apply for project grants to put their ideas into action. ANNpower grants will be awarded in the Fall of 2013 and winning Fellows will spend the school year implementing their projects and receiving mentoring from ANN INC. associates. "At ANN INC. we are driven by a simple yet meaningful purpose - to inspire and connect with women to put their best selves forward every day," said Kay Krill, President and CEO, ANN INC. "We are proud to launch this year's application period alongside the Vital Voices Global Partnership with the goal of finding and empowering the next generation of women leaders committed to making a difference in their communities and the world." In support of this effort to find the best and brightest young women applicants, 82 Ann Taylorstores across the nation will dedicate a window during the month of January with the ANNpower recruitment call-to-action: "Do you know a girl who wants to change the world?" "The ANNpower Initiative speaks to the heart of Vital Voices' mission. We invest in women whose leadership is transforming communities and improving lives," said Alyse Nelson, President and CEO of Vital Voices Global Partnership. "We are proud to partner with ANN INC. as we train, mentor, and empower talented and dedicated young women who want to change the world." This past year, the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative provided grants to 14 passionate and innovative young trailblazers who are implementing meaningful programs in their communities. For example, 2012 ANNpower Grantee Hanna Karimipour, from Tallahassee, Florida is implementing a project which is focused on addressing the disparities in female leadership within her state. "The ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum has opened my eyes to the power of women to make change, and the power that I have to make a change. One of the best lessons that I learned is that the best time to take action is now," Karimipour said. ANN INC. has committed to invest more than $1.3 million over a four year period in support of the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative. For more information about the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative or to apply for an ANNpower Fellowship, please visit ANNpower.org. About ANN INC. ANN INC. is the parent Company of Ann Taylor and LOFT, two of the leading women's specialty retail fashion brands in North America. The Company operates 981 Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Factory, LOFT and LOFT Outlet stores in 47 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Canada as of October 27, 2012, as well as online at AnnTaylor.com and LOFT.com. Visit ANNINC.com for more information (NYSE: ANN). About ANN CaresANN INC.'s commitment to corporate responsibility extends into the communities where we live and work. Through our charitable platform, ANN Cares, we develop campaigns that engage, inspire, and connect our clients and our associates with the charities that we support. We provide support to renowned programs that contribute to women's and children's health and well-being, as well as our associates and the environment. Since 2005, we have contributed over $25 million to our national charitable partners. Visit ResponsiblyANN.com for more information. About Vital Voices Global Partnership Vital Voices Global Partnership is a leading non-governmental organization that identifies, invests in and brings visibility to extraordinary women around the world by unleashing their leadership potential to transform lives and accelerate peace and prosperity in their communities. Founded by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 1997, the organization trains and mentors women leaders as agents of transformative change in economic development, human rights and political participation. The Vital Voices Global Leadership Network includes more than 10,000 leaders representing 144 countries who have trained and mentored 500,000 additional women and girls in their communities. Visit www.vitalvoices.org to learn more. SOURCE ANN INC.