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Avon Products Foundation Announces Record-Setting Funding for the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Submitted by: Avon Products, Inc.

Categories: Philanthropy & Corporate Contributions

Posted: Oct 09, 2001 – 12:00 AM EST


$50 million in funding includes an unprecedented gift to the National Cancer Institute and three comprehensive cancer centers to accelerate medical research and improve access to treatment for medically underserved women

Oct. 09 /CSRwire/ - Avon fundraising gala to raise $1.6 million and honor leaders in the fight against breast cancer. Andrea Jung, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE: AVP), will announce tonight that the Avon Products Foundation will award a record-setting $50 million, raised by the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, to a leading public health agency and leading national cancer centers to fund access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer.

Ms. Jung will announce the gift - the largest single corporate foundation gift ever made to the breast cancer cause - at the first ever Avon Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer Awards, a fundraising gala and awards ceremony honoring individuals and corporations who have led the fight against breast cancer. The awards include the areas of leadership, medical advancement, media and grassroots community advocate.

Unlike any other corporate supporter of the breast cancer cause, funds raised by the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade support virtually every facet of the disease, including a comprehensive array of biomedical research, clinical care, education, financial assistance and support services. Gifts from the Avon Products Foundation are also unique in that they have a special focus on medically underserved women, including those who are low-income, elderly, minority, under- and un-insured. This focus encompasses education and outreach, state-of-the-art clinical care and inclusion of these women in research studies.

"As the company for women, Avon is committed to corporate social responsibility and to the breast cancer cause, one of the most important issues in women's health," said Ms. Jung. "We are committed to helping find a cure for breast cancer while providing access to care for all women, and helping end historic disparities in health care. With this latest gift, we are especially proud to initiate a unique public-private partnership with the National Cancer Institute."

Avon Breast Cancer Crusade Beneficiaries

The $50 million in total gifts is being awarded to four beneficiaries:

-- National Cancer Institute (Bethesda, MD) - $20 million

-- Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Comprehensive Cancer Center (Boston) - $10 million

-- University of California, San Francisco Comprehensive Cancer Center $10 million

-- Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University (Chicago) - $10 million

The unprecedented $20 million to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) is Avon's largest single award ever, and is the largest corporate foundation award of its kind ever bestowed on this government agency. The NCI funds will advance breast cancer research and expand vital early phase clinical interventions that show promise for effective prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

"The Avon Products Foundation award comes at a great time in the history of breast cancer research," said Dr. Robert Wittes, Deputy Director for Extramural Sciences, National Cancer Institute. "Advances in cancer biology have made it possible for the first time to begin drawing a molecular picture of cancer cell behavior, which will form the basis for a generation of informative diagnostic tests and the discovery of much more effective drugs aimed at treating and preventing cancer. We are just at the beginning and are thankful to the Avon Products Foundation for its generous commitment that will help accelerate our efforts tremendously. Using all this promising biology to create effective diagnostics, preventives, and treatments for cancer is the major clinical challenge ahead and is what translational research is all about."

Avon's remaining gifts totaling $30 million will fund three leading national cancer centers, each receiving $10 million: Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Comprehensive Cancer Center; University of California, San Francisco Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University. The funds will support biomedical research, clinical care for medically underserved women and construction of new state-of-the-art facilities focusing on breast cancer research and care at each institution.

Avon Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer Awards

The evening's fundraising gala is expected to raise an additional $1.6 million for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, and will honor individuals and corporations who have led the fight against breast cancer in the areas of medical advancement, corporate leadership, media leadership and community advocacy. A special Pink Ribbon Award will be given to an Avon independent Sales Representative as the top Avon Breast Cancer 'Crusader' in the U.S. Each honoree will receive a $20,000 gift to contribute to the breast cancer charity of their choice.

-- Medical Advancement Award: Karen Antman, M.D., Director, Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY. Dr. Antman is one of the first two women in the country to head a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center and has served on numerous congressional health and service committees. Her research accomplishments include the development of now standard regimens for the treatment of certain cancers and she is recognized for her dedication to poor communities, bringing much-needed care to the medically underserved.

-- Corporate Leadership Award: Genentech, a pioneer in the
biotechnology industry in San Francisco. Genentech established an innovative approach to breast cancer treatment by introducing Herceptin, one of the few drugs on the market to show significant survival benefit to women with metastatic breast cancer. This initiated a new approach to breast cancer treatment, with new and innovative methods for developing drugs. Genentech also leads the effort to involve medically underserved patients in clinical trials.

- Media Leadership Award: SELF Magazine, co-creator of the pink ribbon, symbol of the breast cancer cause, and ongoing breast cancer educator. SELF Magazine has been actively committed to the issues of women's health and breast cancer awareness for over a decade, and has educated millions of women through editorial features and special publications. Since 1990 they have issued the annual Breast Cancer Handbook, a valuable resource guide dedicated to breast cancer education and the latest advancements in treatment, research and care. In 2001, they plan to launch the first-ever breast cancer summit, convening leaders in the breast cancer fight to discuss medical breakthroughs and continued access to care for the medically underserved.

-- Community Advocate Award: Zora Brown, Founder and President, Breast Cancer Resource Committee, Washington, D.C. Ms. Brown founded the Breast Cancer Resource Committee, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing the incidence and mortality risk of breast cancer among African American women and now the leading authority on the impact of breast cancer in the African American community. In 1993, Breast Cancer Resource Committee established "Rise Sister Rise," a grass-roots organization that is now recognized as the primary referral source for African American women diagnosed with breast cancer.

-- Pink Ribbon Award: Jackie Williams, Avon Leadership
Representative, Sinton, TX. Ms. Williams faced the diagnosis of breast cancer and ovarian cancer several years ago, and her illness, surgery and treatment curtailed her dream of becoming a licensed veterinarian. Taking her boundless determination in a new direction, she renewed her commitment to her Avon business and to the breast cancer cause, managing the dual roles as a successful community breast cancer advocate/educator and Avon Leadership Representative. Ms. Williams manages to serve her 4,000 customers and achieve $270,000 in annual sales while delivering breast cancer seminars, counseling and referral services.

The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade: Funding Access to Care and Finding a Cure Launched in 1993, the mission of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade is to fund access to care and finding a cure for breast cancer. This includes funding medical research into the possible prevention, diagnosis, treatment and cure of breast cancer, and providing women, particularly those who are medically underserved, with access to breast cancer education, early detection screening services, clinical care, financial assistance and support services. Since 1993, the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has generated $140 million net for the fight against breast cancer, distinguishing Avon as the world's largest corporate supporter of the breast cancer cause and the only company to target significant funding to help disadvantaged women obtain clinical care.

Funds are generated by the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade through two initiatives: special Avon Crusade "pink ribbon" fundraising products sold by 550,000 Avon independent sales representatives nationwide and the Avon Breast Cancer 3-Days, a national series of three-day, 60 mile fundraising walks, each with some 4,000 participants, including nine events this year. New to the pink ribbon collection is the limited edition Avon Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer Lipsticks, available through October.

The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade in the U.S. is the largest program of the Avon Worldwide Fund for Women's Health, launched in 1992 to support programs for breast cancer and other vital women's health issues. Now supporting programs in more than 30 countries, the Avon Worldwide Fund has generated more than $150 million to help break barriers to women's health in countries as diverse as Poland, Argentina, Malaysia, Mexico and the Philippines. Avon is committed to reaching $250 million worldwide by the end of 2002.

All women are at risk for breast cancer. According to data gathered by the National Cancer Institute, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States every three minutes, and every 14 minutes one dies of the disease. In the U.S., breast cancer is the leading cause of death for women aged 40-55 and is the most common form of cancer in women. While researchers work to find a cure, early detection offers the best chance for successful treatment.

About Avon

Avon is the world's leading direct seller of beauty and related products, with $5.7 billion in annual revenues. The company currently markets in 139 countries through 3.4 million independent Sales Representatives. Avon is committed to women through programs such as the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade, the Avon Worldwide Fund for Women's Health and the Avon Global Women's Walking-Running-Wellness Program. Product lines include such recognizable brands as Anew, Avon Color, Skin-So-Soft, Advance Techniques Hair Care and beComing. The company also markets an extensive line of fashion jewelry, apparel, gifts and collectibles. In May 2001, the company launched Avon Wellness, a new global collection of health and wellness products for women and their families. More information on Avon can be found on the company's website

For more information, please contact:

Tracey Warshaw Avon Products, Inc.
Phone: (212) 282-5664


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