Getting is good, but giving is better.

That’s a philosophy that Tory embraces in all she does — from helping women start and further their careers at Women For Hire, enabling them to launch their own small businesses via Spark & Hustle and finding them terrific deals on cool stuff her Good Morning America weekly “Deals & Steals” segment.

But there’s also a philanthropic side to Tory, which has played out over the years.

Whether getting on a plane to personally help New Orleans residents find jobs after Hurricane Katrina to raising more than $100,000 in a week to aid victims of Hurricane Sandy in the New York metro area, Tory believes in helping others help themselves.


Here are a few of Tory’s personal initiatives:

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and the large parts of the Gulf Coast, Tory flew to Houston’s Astrodome where displaced residents were being housed. Over the next several days, she gave job search advice — and hope — to hundreds of people who had lost everything.

Then Tory met Doris Banks, a story that became this beautiful account in The New York Times.

Fast forward to June 2014.

Tory, in regular touch with Doris, was about to speak to women at the annual FestiGals conference in New Orleans. A text appeared on her iPhone. It was Doris — having moved back to New Orleans — checking in with her old friend.

“Did you really expect to come to here and not see me?” Doris wrote. “I’m on my way over to say hello — even if it’s only for a minute.”

At the end of her speech, Tory begged the crowd’s indulgence — then told them the story of how a young mother who lost everything in Katrina found a new life in Houston — but could never call it home.

“I am New Orleans and New Orleans is me,’” Tory said, quoting Doris and identifying her as the woman in the back of the room. The women applauded loudly. And then, as they left the room, one by one they thanked Doris for “coming home.”

Inspired by scenes, signs and shouts throughout the New York City Marathon of strangers cheering strangers to the finish line, Tory launched a holiday campaign to bring good cheer to people who need it most.

The Marathon was a reminder that anytime is a good time to cheer for people who need it. Bringing a smile to someone’s face should be something we do every single day. Over the course of just three weeks, our community raised $50,000, which we personally dispersed in a number of creative ways to people she identified as deserving of some holiday cheer.

Recipients included:

  • Individual baskets of cheer to 50 foster kids and teenagers awaiting homes at Children’s Village in Westchester County NY.
  • We delivered the baskets and an assortment of board games to kids in group homes and pledged to buy books for all of them. Video games are also on the way!
  • Clothes, winter coats and toys for families served by Brooklyn Community Services, which helps displaced and struggling families who live in shelters, have suffered domestic abuse or who have simply hit hard times.
  • The staff of 36 also received Starbucks gift cards from us.
  • Starbucks cards for police officers at Manhattan’s 20th Precinct as a small token of thanks for all they do.
  • We took two foster teens who have aged out of the system and are on their own on shopping sprees for dorm room makeovers.
  • Treats for military families and hospital workers across the NY metro area.
  • Cash tips to random rest room attendants in airports, highway rest stops and other public facilities.
  • A Christmas cash bonus to an always colorfully-dressed homeless man near our office who asks for nothing and often helps other homeless people with their issues.