The Company for Women

The Avon Foundation for Women has a long history of raising awareness and funds for the causes closest to women.

What has your lipstick done for you lately? If you’re lucky, it has maybe added a nice shine or an opaque hue. It might have moisturized. In some cases, it may have even plumped. But if you’re wearing an Avon lipstick, it may actually be doing a whole lot more.

That’s because Avon has a long-standing commitment to raising funds and awareness for the issues important to the women who use and sell its products. Since 1955, when the Avon Foundation for Women—a U.S. 501(c)(3) public charity that is a separate legal entity from Avon Products, Inc.—was formed, more than $725 million has been donated worldwide through the sale of Avon fundraising products and events.

In fact, the company’s dedication to corporate responsibility goes back even farther: in 1886, David McConnell, the founder of Avon, stated in “Principles That Guide Avon” that the company would “meet fully the obligations of corporate citizenship by contributing to the well-being of society and the environment in which it functions.”

Now, 124 years later, the Avon Foundation for Women continues to build on this legacy by leading Avon’s global philanthropy efforts. “Doing good and giving back are in Avon’s DNA,” says Carol Kurzig, president of the Avon Foundation for Women.

In recent years—beginning with the launch of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade in 1992 and the creation of Speak Out Against Domestic Violence in 2004—the foundation has focused its efforts primarily on breast cancer and domestic and gender violence. And with more than 6.2 million independent Avon sales representatives around the world, the reach of these efforts has been and continues to be truly extraordinary. “Avon uses its woman-to-woman network of power as a household name to raise funds and awareness,” Carol says.

Both the funds and the level of awareness raised in support of these issues are significant. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has raised and donated more than $640 million in more than 50 countries to accelerate breast cancer research and advance access to care, with a focus on assisting the medically underserved. Since its inception, the Speak Out Against Domestic Violence program has awarded more than $12 million to almost 400 domestic violence organizations across the United States to support awareness, education, direct services, and prevention programs, with a focus on children affected by domestic violence.

Though participation in these philanthropic efforts is purely voluntary, Carol says that “Avon sales representatives, who receive no commission on the fundraising products they sell, have raised more than $150 million worldwide since 1992 from items that are priced as low as $3.” In addition to their fundraising, they have been “friend-raising,” engaging millions of customers in these important causes.

Brenda Cheatham, an Avon representative from Sacramento, California, says, “I’m dedicated to the Avon Foundation to keep on doing good deeds for breast cancer and have raised over $25,000 along with bringing new members to walk each and every year. It’s fun, it’s rewarding, and we do make a difference.”

Dortha Hise, another representative from Folsom, California, agrees: “My commitment and dedication to the Avon Foundation and specifically the breast cancer cause is unwavering. I’m proud to be affiliated with a company that has such compassion and deep philanthropic roots that I can participate in.”

It’s clear that the commitment to these philanthropic efforts runs deep in the corporate culture at Avon and that the foundation reflects these values. From the representatives in the field and their customers to the foundation’s management, the desire to make a difference is pervasive. Carol says that the foundation’s current chair and chief executive officer, Andrea Jung, is “very much the passionate heart and spirit behind Avon’s worldwide philanthropy and the company’s vision to be the company for women.”

For more information about the Avon Foundation for Women, visit www.avoncompany.com.