Nearly one billion women worldwide are affected by domestic and partner violence – one in three women around the world, and these annual events are recapped in the Avon Empowerment Booklet. Men can be victims of partner violence, too, but the vast majority of those affected are women, making this an issue of vital importance to all families worldwide.
To help end this devastating cycle, Avon launched Speak Out Against Domestic Violence in 2004 to raise awareness and funds to develop and implement prevention and direct-service programs for victims of domestic violence. Now expanded to nearly 50 countries, the company also empowers its network of Associates, Representatives and customers to get involved through events, fundraising initiatives and advocacy efforts aimed at reducing and preventing domestic violence. Resources available in the U.S. to support these efforts include the Domestic Violence & Dating Abuse Resource Guide, offered at no charge online, and various educational videos created by the Avon Foundation and partner organizations and available on the Avon Foundation website.
In the U.S., the Avon mark. brand launched the m.powerment by mark. program in 2008, dedicated to breaking the cycle of dating abuse and partner violence for young women. All funds raised through the sale of m.powerment products are awarded as grants to programs and organizations that are working to break this cycle. Since 2008 almost $1 million has been raised and grant recipients include a network of some two dozen colleges nationwide for programs that will provide preventative training and education.
Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence programs in nearly 50 countries worldwide have included an award-winning public service campaign and domestic violence short film competition in Mexico; educational events in Chile; a national petition presented to Parliament in the U.K.; two weeks of activities in Poland, led by a well known journalist; and an education campaign in Brazil, which received an award from the Brazilian government.
Expanding the mission beyond helping the victims to the goal of prevention, Avon has developed partnerships with key expert organizations, such as the U.S. Department of State, UNIFEM, Vital Voices and the International Association of Women Judges, to seek collaborative solutions and drive change to help end violence.
Fundraising and awareness are achieved through the sale of unique Avon Speak Out Against Domestic Violence and "Empowerment" fundraising products, including bracelets and necklaces that feature the infinity symbol, representing unlimited possibilities for all women, once they are free from violence. The Avon mark. brand also offers special m.powerment fundraising products to support the cause, focused on women 18-24 years old. In the U.S., all Avon fundraising products come with important information on the issue of domestic violence and resources for those seeking help. Sales of Speak Out and Empowerment fundraising products in the U.S. totaled almost $3 million in 2010 and $10 million to-date.
In the U.S., the Avon Foundation's annual Walk the Course Against Domestic Violence series was held in 2009 - 2011, in collaboration with the (Professional Golf Association) PGA TOUR Wives Association to raise funds and awareness. The event series included a unique fundraising walk on some of the most prestigious golf courses in the US.
Avon launched a multi-platform initiative in honor of International Women's Day March 2007, and these annual events are recapped in the Avon Empowerment Booklet. Avon co-hosted its first Global Summit for a Better Tomorrow at the United Nations, focused on empowering women, in partnership with UNIFEM, UN-DESA, and The Virtue Foundation. The 2008 Global Summit, also held at the UN, which focused on ending violence against women and included a $1 million commitment from the Avon Foundation to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women. In this same year, Avon also supported a Senior Roundtable for Women & Justice at the U.S. Department of State for women judges from around the world, to find global solutions to improve women's safety and access to justice.
Reese Witherspoon, First Lady Michelle Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Avon's Andrea Jung at the Global Summit
In 2009, a $1.5 million grant by the Avon Foundation for Women launched the Avon Global Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School, focused on working with judges, legal professionals, governmental and non-governmental organizations to improve access to justice in an effort to eliminate violence against women and girls. Avon also made a new commitment of $250,000 for the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.
In 2010, The Avon Foundation for Women, Vital Voices, and the U.S. State Department launched The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Women, an innovative public-private partnership to foster the creation of cross-sector collaborations to reduce violence against women. Avon and the Avon Foundation for Women donated $1.2 million to Vital Voices to bring together 15 country delegations from diverse sectors in a global forum to create and share innovative solutions. The Avon Foundation also donated $500,000 to the U.S. Department of State Secretary's Fund for Global Women's Leadership for grants to NGOs around the world working on domestic and gender violence, including organizations from the 15 countries represented in the Global Partnership.