Nearly $3 Million to Support Careers in Retail Raised by NRF Foundation Honors


At the eighth annual NRF Foundation Honors held in New York City, nearly $3 million was raised to fund the NRF Foundation’s career-development programs and resources. The event, with more than 700 in attendance, served to recognize the outstanding leadership of retail executives, award student scholarships and highlight retail as an industry of opportunity.

“In every community across the country, retail provides limitless ways for people of all backgrounds to pursue their passions and achieve success,” said Bill Thorne, NRF Foundation executive director. “We are honored to celebrate retail’s future leaders and are thankful for the countless supporters who share in our belief that our industry is unmatched in offering opportunities for individuals, families and communities large and small.”

The event, presented by American Express and PwC, was co-hosted by Bloomingdale’s chairman and CEO and NRF Foundation board chairman Tony Spring and Walmart U.S. president and CEO and NRF board chairman John Furner. Lowe’s chairman and CEO Marvin Ellison received The Visionary award for his stewardship to drive positive change within the retail industry and leadership in transforming Lowe’s into a world-class, omnichannel retailer.

The evening also recognized The List of People Shaping Retail’s Future 2023:

  • Erin Izen, Home Depot senior director workforce programs;
  • Suresh Kumar, Walmart Inc. executive vice president global chief technology officer and chief development officer;
  • Aman Advani, Ministry of Supply co-founder and CEO;
  • Bahja Johnson, Gap Inc. head of customer and community belonging; and
  • Steve Madden, Steve Madden founder, creative and design chief.

The event also included the announcements of the NRF Foundation’s scholarships. Megan Marr of LIM College was announced as the top recipient in the 2023 NRF Foundation Next Generation Scholarship presented by SAS. Delaney Hanson, Grace Long, Alison MacCloud and Gustavo Rubio from Florida State University were named the top team in the 2023 NRF Foundation Student Challenge competition presented by Kohl’s.

Additionally, the School District of Philadelphia was honored as the 2023 NRF Foundation Rise Up Partner of the Year presented by Old Navy.

Adam Lukoskie. Photo by Ian Wagreich.

In other NRF Foundation news: The Foundation announced Adam Lukoskie as its new executive director. Lukoskie previously served as vice president of the NRF Foundation. He succeeds Bill Thorne, who has held the top leadership role of the NRF Foundation since March 2020 while also serving as senior vice president of communications and public affairs for the National Retail Federation.

“As the scope of work for the NRF Foundation has increased in tandem with its growth and success, Adam Lukoskie’s leadership has been instrumental in building our career preparation resources and strengthening key relationships with our partners across the retail community,” NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said. “His passion and commitment to the next generation of retail leaders will amplify the NRF Foundation’s impact and will connect an even broader audience to opportunities within our incredible industry.”