Press Release - March 7, 2007
Virtue Foundation and Avon Announce Global Summit for a Better Tomorrow in Celebration of International Women's Day.
NEW YORK, March 7, 2007 -- The Virtue Foundation and Avon Products, Inc. announce The Global Summit for a Better Tomorrow, co-sponsored by UNICEF, UNIFEM, and UN-DESA. The Global Summit for a Better Tomorrow is a call to action to address the most important issues facing women today. The Summit was designed to raise global awareness of International Women's Day, and takes place Wednesday, March 7, 2007, the eve of the holiday's official celebration, at the United Nations.
The Global Summit for a Better Tomorrow will represent a gathering of some of the most influential and accomplished leaders in the arena of women's empowerment around the world, as well as celebrities including Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) and Melina Kanakaredes (CSI: New York), who will share inspiring personal stories. The program will address three major areas of interest affecting women today: healthcare, education, and economic empowerment. The Virtue Foundation, who successfully raises public awareness about these critical global issues, will bring them to life at the Summit with personal stories from women, who have overcome great adversity and yet have been inspired to take action.
"Virtue Foundation is guided by the principle that true global change must begin within each of us -- one person at a time, one act at a time. Awareness coupled with action will lead to a better and more peaceful world," said Dr. Joseph Salim, cofounder and Executive Director of the Virtue Foundation. "We believe the most powerful way to resolve many of the world's problems is to empower women and girls, especially those most in need. We are proud to partner with Avon at the United Nations today to help raise awareness and inspire action on these critical issues affecting women and girls worldwide."
"As the company for women, Avon is incredibly proud to help lead the call for worldwide awareness in those areas where women are most affected, and this Summit is an important step forward on that journey," said Andrea Jung, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Avon Products, Inc. "We share a similar sense of purpose, commitment and conviction with the Virtue Foundation, and we are thrilled to partner with them and the United Nations on this unprecedented event."
In addition to remarks from Dr. Joan LaRovere and Andrea Jung, the Summit will include a keynote speech from Dr. Shashi Tharoor, United Nations Under-Secretary- General for Communications and Public Information. Other speakers slated to appear will include Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director, UNIFEM; Ann Veneman, Executive Director, UNICEF; Dr. Ebby Elahi, Assistant Clinical Professor, Ophthalmology, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine; Carol Kurzig, Executive Director, Avon Foundation. Additional participants include respected members of the media Sara James (Dateline NBC) and Alexis Glick (Fox News), as well as special presentations by celebrities, including recent Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) and Melina Kanakaredes (CSI: New York).
Attendees at the Summit will include pre-eminent female heads of business, members of the media, and key leaders from non-profit organizations that have made great strides to benefit women. All are uniting for the cause of helping every woman to seek and embrace a brighter future for herself.
Avon plans to use the Summit as a springboard for its other International Women's Day initiatives, all of which fit into the program's ultimate message of "empower women, change our world:" the Avon Worldwide Women's Poll and Empowerment Index, the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund, and the Avon Foundation's Breast Cancer Prevention Research Initiative. Avon believes in empowering women both through knowledge and through seed capital -- both benchmarks of the company's own corporate philosophy -- and Avon's International Women's Day programs reflect these ideas.
At the Summit, Avon will reveal the results of its first annual Avon Worldwide Women's Poll and Empowerment Index. In partnership with GfK Roper, Avon commissioned a report of women in 16 countries, representing all of the major regions of the world, to highlight and gauge women's advancement in six major areas of interest: Education, Employment, Economic Independence, Personal Safety, Health, and Political Participation.
The Avon Worldwide Women's Poll and Empowerment Index will illuminate the strides women have already made while also emphasizing those strides that still need to be made. Avon hopes that the annual Avon Worldwide Women's Poll and Empowerment Index will be used as a reliable benchmark for members of the media and other interested parties to track the progress of women worldwide each year until the world reaches the ultimate goal of global equality.
Avon also adds to its roster of philanthropic activities the creation of the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund, another International Women's Day initiative which will be announced at the Summit. The Hello Tomorrow Fund will distribute $5,000 a week to help deserving individuals fulfill their dreams of creating a better tomorrow for women in the United States. Avon will also be implementing this program globally in 18 countries.
Beginning Tuesday, April 17, 2007, the Avon Hello Tomorrow Fund will provide one $5,000 award per week to an individual who has submitted a compelling application to advance the interests of women, and ultimately improve society in one of three central empowerment areas: awareness and outreach, business development, and community service.
In addition, the first honorary Hello Tomorrow Fund award winner will be announced: Dr. Darlene Morgan Brown, a school administrator in New Orleans whose school was selected to participate in the Virtue Foundation Katrina Education Initiative, a program that is providing 21st century technology enabled education to hundreds of children affected by Hurricane Katrina. Darlene hopes to use the money to start an entrepreneurship program for 6th and 9th grade girls and their mothers. Many of her students still live in trailers post-Katrina and Darlene hopes that this program will encourage female students to think about their future careers while helping their mothers create future financial stability.
In addition, Avon plans to announce the creation of the $5 million Avon Foundation Breast Cancer Prevention Research Initiative. Since women in many countries currently lack adequate access to early detection, Avon hopes to create a "better tomorrow" by improving the resources available to them. As a result, the money will go towards developing a new screening test to detect the earliest changes in the breast prior to developing breast cancer, enabling women in countries worldwide to increase their chances of survival by catching the disease early.
Avon is a company committed to corporate responsibility, having donated upwards of $1 billion of its revenue globally to charitable causes, most notably through the activities of the Avon Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) public charity, and its Avon Breast Cancer Crusade program. Together, Avon's charitable initiatives have founded scholarships, volunteer programs, domestic violence awareness, breast cancer education, awareness, research, and care, as well as providing disaster response to national and international emergencies including the Asian tsunami.
About Virtue Foundation
Virtue Foundation is a public charitable and nongovernmental organization with special consultative status to the United Nations. The Foundation's mission is to increase awareness of prevalent global issues, to inspire people to action, and to render humanitarian assistance through healthcare, education, and empowerment initiatives. Comprised entirely of volunteers, Virtue Foundation is guided by the principle that true global change must begin within each of us -- one person at a time, one act at a time. For more information about Virtue Foundation, visit http://www.virtuefoundation.org.
About Avon Products, Inc.
Avon, the company for women, is a leading global beauty company, with over $8 billion in annual revenue. As the world's largest direct seller, Avon markets to women in well over 100 countries through over five million independent Avon Sales Representatives. Avon's product line includes beauty products, fashion jewelry and apparel, and features such well-recognized brand names as Avon Color, Anew, Skin-So-Soft, Avon Solutions, Advance Techniques, Avon Naturals, Mark, and Avon Wellness. Learn more about Avon and its products at http://www.avoncompany.com.
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