As we approach Mother’s Day, and look to celebrate all moms, we are reminded of the essential work that still needs to be done to give every woman and child a chance to survive and lead healthy and prosperous lives.
Domestic violence continues to be a major barrier to the social and economic empowerment of women. At Avon, we refuse to accept this as the status quo. That’s why, in 2004, the Avon Foundation for Women launched its Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program – and one of its main pillars has been to fund emergency shelters across the U.S. that provide a safe spaces for women and children in imminent danger where they can heal emotionally and physically, move toward self-sufficiency, and learn positive coping skills.
One of Avon Foundation’s grantees is Sanctuary for Families (Sanctuary), New York City’s largest service provider for survivors of domestic violence and their children. At an event on April 27, held at Sarah Burke House, Sanctuary’s 58-family shelter in the Bronx, local-area Avon Representatives and the Avon Foundation for Women presented a $5,000 grant to Sanctuary, marking more than $675,000 donated to the organization by the Avon Foundation for Women during a nearly 20-year philanthropic partnership.
This donation coincides with the launch of Avon’s Branching Out Empowerment Tote for Mother’s Day 2017, a limited-edition fundraising product honoring domestic violence survivors and created through Avon’s special collaboration with Sanctuary for Families’ Children’s Collaborative Art Project.
Christine Jaworsky, Director of the Avon Foundation’s leading Speak Out Against Domestic Violence Program shared, “Late last year, I reached out to several domestic violence agencies to begin this project. Sanctuary for Families quickly and enthusiastically accepted, and together we reviewed lots of gorgeous art created by children who reside here with their moms, in safe havens, supported by Sanctuary’s dedicated and incredible staff. The final artwork selected for this tote was created by three young children in shelter with their mother at the time.”
The painting features a large, colorful tree with many branches – symbolizing the children’s family tree, filled with hope, healing and growth. Funds raised from the new Empowerment Tote will be donated by Avon to the Avon Foundation to be able to provide more grants for more programs that provide critical services for women and their families.
Sanctuary for Families’ Executive Director, Judge Judy Harris Kluger, spoke more about the interesting history and programs available to survivors at Sarah Burke House, New York State’s first and largest domestic violence transitional shelter: “This building was purchased from New York City back in 1990 and underwent a complete renovation to create a state-of-the-art domestic violence shelter,” said Judy. “Today, we are an organization of over 200 full-time staff and countless volunteers. We communicate with clients in over 30 languages, and provide the clinical, legal, shelter and economic stability services to help them rebuild their lives in the aftermath of abuse. None of this would be possible without the generosity of donors like Avon. You’re a major philanthropic force in the U.S. – and we thank you for your support!”
The Avon Representative attendees, who are at the heart of the causes that Avon funds, had the opportunity to tour Sarah Burke House and experience firsthand the impact of their fundraising on survivors and their families.
Judge Kluger added: “People are here for a terrible reason, but it’s a wonderful place. Together, we are making a difference for many thousands of adults and children every year, and tirelessly advocating for an end to gender violence.”
To learn more about Sanctuary for Families, visit www.sanctuaryforfamilies.org.