Saturday, November 29, 2008

Avon Foundation's Hope Honors

Looking for a place to donate this holiday season? Consider the Avon Foundation whose causes are breast cancer and domestic violence. They raised a lot of money this year at their awards celebration, but more is always needed.

The Hope Honors, the star-studded eighth annual Avon Foundation Awards Celebration, honored leaders in the causes of breast cancer and domestic violence at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. Since its inception in 2001, the Avon Foundation awards celebration has raised $15.6 million, including $1.6 million this year.

Hosting this year’s event were Andrea Jung, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Avon Products, Inc. and Carol Kurzig, Executive Director, Avon Foundation. Award presenters and special guests included award-winning actor Patrick Dempsey; celebrity makeup artist and Avon Global Creative Color Director Jillian Dempsey; actress and designer Lauren Conrad; personal finance expert Suze Orman; designer Cynthia Rowley; and renowned breast cancer surgeon and best-selling author, Dr. Susan Love.

The celebratory event culminated with a special musical performance by 19 Recordings/Jive Recording Artist Jordin Sparks.

The Avon Foundation, a public charity, is a global leader and change agent in the causes of breast cancer and domestic violence, and Avon is the largest corporate supporter of the breast cancer cause. These issues continue to be of grave concern: there is a new diagnosis of breast cancer in the U.S. every three minutes, and one in three women worldwide is a victim of violence, while some 10 million children witness domestic violence in the U.S. each year. Since 1992, the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has supported access to care and finding a cure in more than 50 countries. Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence was launched in 2004 and has now rolled out in a dozen countries. In addition, the Avon Foundation supports emergency and disaster relief. Total funds raised and awarded worldwide for all these causes exceed $660 million.

Avon Foundation Awards Recipients

Every year since 2001, the Avon Foundation has recognized individuals, organizations and companies for leadership in the breast cancer and domestic violence causes. This year’s honorees included the following:

The Medical Advancement in Breast Cancer Award was presented by Andrea Jung to Dr. Steve Whitman and Dr. David Ansell for their tireless efforts at identifying causes and solutions to the disparity in breast cancer mortality between black and white women in Chicago, where a black woman is twice as likely to die of breast cancer than her white counterparts. Two black women die each week in Chicago, totaling 111 deaths each year, because they do not have the same access and quality of care as white women. Doctors Whitman and Ansell identified this disparity and now lead a groundbreaking city-wide effort, the Metropolitan Chicago Breast Cancer Task Force, which brings together every key Chicago area hospital and institution, the city and state governments, and women throughout Chicagoland, to collaborate on ending this disparity.

The Community Advocacy Champion Award was presented by Andrea Jung to The Northern Westchester Shelter, a highly effective private non-profit organization founded in 1980 in Pleasantville, NY, to provide a safe haven and caring services to survivors of domestic violence. Beyond the impact on their own community, the Northern Westchester Shelter programs provide a model that other shelters emulate. The award will be accepted by Executive Director CarlLa Horton. In addition to their efforts to assist domestic violence victims, the Northern Westchester Shelter partnered with the Avon Foundation to create a unique video, which will be shown at The Hope Honors, to increase awareness of domestic violence and provide hope that the cycle of abuse can be broken. The video has been distributed to domestic violence programs nationwide since its completion in spring 2008.

The Women’s Empowerment Crusader Award was presented by Suze Orman to Sandi Gallagher, an Avon Sales Representative from Dracut, MA, in recognition of her personal work on behalf of victims of domestic violence. The Crusader award recognizes an Avon Sales Representative or Sales Manager who has demonstrated outstanding philanthropic efforts in the community. In her Avon career Sandi has achieved the level of Unit Leader, and she is also a dental assistant. In 2007 Sandi was the recipient of an Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund award, a cash award to individuals to support programs or projects that empower women. Sandi volunteers her services to support pro-bono reconstructive dental treatments for victims of domestic violence at the all-volunteer St. Luke Dental Clinic, and she donated her $5,000 Hello Tomorrow Fund award to this program. Through her work at the Clinic, Sandi has helped restore not only many women’s smiles, but also their self confidence and ability to build a new life.

The Avon Foundation Safety Net awards provide funds to hospital and clinics that provide breast health services for the medically underserved in their community. Jillian and Patrick Dempsey presented the 100th Avon Foundation Safety Net grant to the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing at Central Maine Medical Center to provide state-of-the art digital mammography equipment as well as patient navigator staff. The grant will enable Central Maine Medical Center to reach community members in Lewiston and the surrounding rural area, including Somali refugees, and link women in need to cutting-edge breast cancer detection and treatment services. This award will be accepted by Mary Dempsey and Kerry Irish, Director of the Dempsey Center, on behalf of Central Maine Medical Center.

New this year is the m.powerment awards, recognizing programs focused on empowering young women to prevent dating abuse and partner violence. The m.powerment campaign was created by mark, Avon’s boutique beauty brand, and grants were announced by Lauren Conrad to seven domestic violence agencies nationwide. Representing one of the recipient organizations were Tracey Weber from the New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence and Rahquan Brown, a Peer Educator with the New York City Healthy Relationship Training Academy.

The Avon Foundation Hall of Fame Award recognizes the support of companies that have shown a consistent, significant commitment to the Avon Foundation mission. This year Andrea Jung inducted Verla International, a consulting company for beauty product development, manufacturing and distribution; and Li & Fung USA, a leading consumer goods supply chain management company. Both have been generous allies that are helping bring the Avon Foundation closer to the goal of eradicating breast cancer and domestic violence.

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