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The Ms. Foundation for Women's 21st Annual Gloria Awards: A National Salute to Women of Vision

A Celebration of Gloria Steinem's 75th Birthday

NEW YORK, May 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Tonight the Ms. Foundation for Women will be joined by prominent members of the entertainment, business, philanthropic and not-for-profit communities in celebration of its co-founder Gloria Steinem's 75th birthday and the Ms. Foundation's 21st Annual Gloria Awards, a tribute to grassroots women activists and philanthropists who ignite change on behalf of women, families and communities nationwide.

The event, which includes a dinner and awards gala at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in New York City, will be hosted by Sara K. Gould, Ms. Foundation President & CEO. This year's Gloria Awards are supported by a host of businesses, organizations, and individuals, including the event chair, Laura Baudo Sillerman, and honorary co-chair, Marla Schaefer.

Each year, the Ms. Foundation honors the remarkable achievements of grassroots women activists and their supporters whose courage, leadership and "outrageous acts in the cause of simple justice," as Gloria Steinem notably says, move us toward the realization of our shared vision for a just and inclusive democracy.

This year, the Ms. Foundation will host a special celebration of Gloria Steinem's 75th birthday. Friends and luminaries will join the Foundation in paying tribute to Gloria Steinem's trailblazing history and ongoing commitment to grassroots organizing led by and for women and girls. In 1973, Steinem founded the Ms. Foundation for Women with Patricia Carbine, Letty Cottin Pogrebin and Marlo Thomas to support women's organizing for policy and culture change from the ground up. Since then, the Ms. Foundation has granted more that $50 million to organizations in urban and rural areas across the U.S.

"We are thrilled to celebrate Gloria's 75th birthday and her many amazing accomplishments as a founding mother of the Ms. Foundation and the contemporary women's movement," says Sara K. Gould. "For decades, Gloria has inspired countless women across race and class to let loose their rebellious, activist selves. Meanwhile, Gloria draws her own inspiration from women organizers who are the experts on their own lives and whose vision and solutions hold the power to transform society and benefit us all. Tonight, in Gloria's name, we honor three of these women as well as an amazing donor activist and a bold corporate foundation."

The 2009 Women of Vision Awardees are:

Naina Khanna, Director of Policy and Community Organizing at Women Organized to Respond to Life-threatening Disease (WORLD). Naina supports, educates and mobilizes women living with and affected by HIV/AIDS to advocate for policy change that meets their unique and, often, unmet needs. Naina serves on the leadership team of the National Women and AIDS Collective, housed at the Ms. Foundation, coordinates the U.S. Positive Women's Network and co-chairs the policy workgroup for the National AIDS Strategy Coordinating Committee.

Gina Womack, Director and Co-Founder of Families and Friends of Louisiana's Incarcerated Children (FFLIC). Gina is an impassioned community organizer dedicated to creating a better life for all of Louisiana's youth, especially those involved in or targeted by the juvenile justice system. Under her leadership, FFLIC has helped reduce the number of juveniles in detention in Louisiana from 2,000 to 541 (2000-2007) and the number of security guards in New Orleans schools by more than 50 percent.

Kirbie Platero, Marie C. Wilson Young Woman's Leadership Award recipient, is a member and community organizer at Young Women United. Kirbie is a 19-year-old activist, mother and artist working to secure reproductive justice for girls and women. She recently helped lead a successful campaign with other young women of color that convinced the New Mexico State Departments of Health and Education and the Albuquerque Public School Board to mandate comprehensive sexuality education in public schools.

The 2009 Philanthropic Leadership Awardees are:

Bonnie Schaefer, Woman of Vision and Action Award recipient and former co-chair & co-CEO of Claire's Stores, Inc., is being honored for her strong commitment to issues impacting women and girls in the U.S. and around the world--from human trafficking to women's visibility in the media. Bonnie serves on the Host Committee for the Women's Division of the Weizmann Institute of Science, and she is a new member of Women Moving Millions, a partnership of visionary donors and the Women's Funding Network.

MAC AIDS Fund and Executive Director Nancy Mahon, recipients of the Corporate Philanthropy Award, are being honored for the Fund's crucial support of women and HIV/AIDS advocacy. Their partnership with the Ms. Foundation has been critical to the success of the National Women and AIDS Collective, the first and only national policy coalition led by and for HIV positive women in the U.S., formed in 2005 by grantees of the Ms. Foundation's Women and AIDS Fund.

About the Ms. Foundation for Women

The Ms. Foundation for Women, a social justice foundation, delivers grants, capacity-building and leadership development to over 150 grassroots and national advocacy organizations throughout the U.S. Ms. Foundation support enables groups to create connections across issues, constituencies and policymaking levels to strengthen social movements and ignite change on behalf of women, families and communities. Since 1973, when it was co-founded by Gloria Steinem, the Foundation has granted more than $50 million to organizations in rural and urban areas nationwide.

Outrageous Acts for Simple Justice

Outrageous Acts is a Ms. Foundation for Women social networking, social change campaign launched in celebration of Gloria Steinem's 75th birthday. Inspired by Steinem's long-standing call for audiences to turn their outrage into action and have fun doing it, Outrageous Acts invites people to engage in, share and support outrageous acts for simple justice on behalf of women, families and communities.

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.

Sara Gould

SOURCE Ms. Foundation for Women
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