Avon Marks International Women’s Day with $2 Million Donation

Avon is answering the challenge to #BeBoldForChange this International Women’s Day with a donation of about $2 million for victims of gender-based violence.

The Avon Foundation for Women is donating £1 million to provide front-line services for victims of domestic violence, which is one of two causes embraced by the foundation. Of these funds, £250,000 will go to United Kingdom-based Refuge, the country’s largest provider of specialized support for women and children fleeing abusive situations. The Avon Foundation is vetting similar organizations in South Africa, Romania and Argentina, where it plans to distribute the remaining funds.

Beauty company Avon Products, which made the move from the U.S. to the U.K. earlier this year, also partnered with Refuge on a new study that, according to a company announcement, explores a “recently recognized area of coercive control” primarily affecting women and girls aged 16–21. On Monday, Avon hosted an event at Somerset House in London, where it shared the findings of this study with global experts and other stakeholders in the area of domestic violence. The Avon Foundation said this research will serve as the basis of a forthcoming campaign.

In addition to funding critical services for victims, Avon is marking International Women’s Day—held annually on March 8—with a nearly £1 million donation to The Justice Institute on Gender-Based Violence, an initiative of Voices Against Violence. The Justice Institute uses multi-disciplinary training to improve victim protection and criminal justice responses to violence against women. To accomplish this, the program brings together judges, prosecutors, government agencies and other representatives of the criminal justice system, in an effort to foster collaboration and tangible reform.

“Since 2004, the Avon Foundation’s Speak Out Against Domestic Violence initiative has been a powerful voice for women, with programs in 50 countries,” said Sheri McCoy, Avon CEO. “We’ve already served 11 million women, educated 29 million about domestic violence, and contributed nearly $60 million to empowerment programs. This new donation expands our impact further, which will make a significant difference to NGOs supporting women in need of help.”

To date, Avon and its charitable arm have donated more than $1 billion to the fights against domestic and gender violence, as well as breast cancer, another key issue affecting women. That sum includes £2 million to fund 10 separate Justice Institute trainings in eight countries. The creator of these Justice Institutes, Voices Against Violence, is a public-private partnership between Vital Voices Global Partnership, the U.S. Department of State, and the Avon Foundation for Women.

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