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L’Oréal Paris celebrates Women of Worth with gala

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NEW YORK  — L’Oréal Paris celebrated 10 extraordinary women who are championing a breadth of social causes at the 14th annual L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth gala this week. Inspired by the L’Oréal Paris tagline, “Because You’re Worth It,” L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth honors the intrinsic beauty and worth of women who are positively impacting their communities through philanthropy. With diverse stories born from personal experiences, the 2019 L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth represent a range of causes including bringing musical expression to special needs children, empowering at-risk teenage girls to build literacy and life skills, improving the lives of youth in foster care through educational coaching and technology, and working with communities to reduce food waste.

Brittany Schiavone, Shanté Elliott, Sally Berenzweig, Ni’cola Mitchell, Samantha Gerson, Hetal Jani, Raja Marhaba, Judy Winter, and Gracie Cavnar attend the 14th Annual L’Oreal Paris Women Of Worth Awards at The Pierre on December 04, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Lawrence Busacca/Getty Images for L’Oreal)

An influential group of media, business executives, philanthropists and past L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth gathered at The Pierre Hotel in New York City to shine a spotlight on the 2019 Women of Worth and provide a national platform to tell their stories. Each Honoree received a $10,000 grant for their non-profit organizations, with 2019 Honoree Brittany Schiavone of Brittany’s Baskets of Hope and 2008 Women of Worth alumna Gracie Cavnar of Recipe for Success Foundation receiving special recognition for their work.

Following a nationwide, online public vote, Schiavone was selected as the 2019 National Honoree. She received an additional $25,000 to support her cause that helps deliver baskets of handmade baby items and Down syndrome support system information to families with Down syndrome babies.

Separately, Gracie Cavnar was named this year’s recipient of the Karen T. Fondu Impact Award. Cavnar was recognized for her work in combatting childhood obesity by changing the way children understand, appreciate and eat their food, as well as helping the community provide healthier diets for kids.

“The L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth are selfless heroes who through great courage, perseverance, and sacrifice are embracing their worth and instilling it in others. They are the purest embodiment of our iconic tagline, ‘Because You’re Worth It,'” said Ali Goldstein, president, L’Oréal Paris. “With the 2019 L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth there are now 140 phenomenal Honorees who continue to make a profound impact on society, and we are proud to continue to help them thrive,” added Karen T. Fondu, President Emeritus and Chairwoman of L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth.

Camila Cabello, Aja Naomi King, Andie MacDowell, Dame Helen Mirren, Amber Heard, and Viola Davis attend the 14th Annual L’Oreal Paris Women Of Worth Awards at The Pierre on December 04, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for L’Oreal)

Brittany created Brittany’s Baskets of Hope, a non-profit dedicated to bringing information, support and guidance to families welcoming babies with Down syndrome into their lives by delivering handmade baskets of baby items, information about Down syndrome and Brittany’s own story, instilling hope in the face of uncertainty. Since its foundation in 2016, BBoH has delivered over 900 baskets to families in 48 states. Brittany is a testament to the success of individuals with Down syndrome and her story helps parents envision futures for their children and all they can achieve.

Cardiac surgeon and host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” Dr. Mehmet Oz presented this year’s Karen T. Fondu Impact Award to Gracie Cavnar, who was recognized for her work in combatting childhood obesity by changing the way children understand, appreciate and eat their food, as well as helping the community provide healthier diets for our kids. Since becoming a Women of Worth Honoree in 2008, Cavnar served as an advisor to the White House in the planning, design and launch of Let’s Move, a national advocacy initiative of First Lady Michelle Obama. Later, she was appointed to the Mayor’s Healthy Houston Task Force, was a keynote speaker at dozens of events, including two TEDx talks, and in 2017 she chaired the International Women’s Forum Global Conference in Houston. After nearly fifteen years on the ground and 50,000+ children taught, the Recipe for Success Foundation has attracted attention from many activists, the White House and national press.

The 2019 Women of Worth Honorees and their non-profits:

  • Brittany Schiavone – Long Island, NY; Founder, Brittany’s Baskets of Hope: delivers baskets of hand-made baby items and Down syndrome support system information to families with Down Syndrome babies.
  • Crystal Chatman – Memphis, TN; Founder & Director, Beautiful Spirited Women: empowers and advocates for teenage girls through mentorship that teaches healthy self-esteem, safe sex and entrepreneurship.
  • Hetal Jani – Queens, NY; Founding Executive Director, SPEAK Mentorship: advances diversity in leadership through college and career preparedness, mentoring immigrant girls on cultural identity, career trajectory and gender association.
  • Judy Winter – East Lansing, MI; Cofounder, Eric ‘RicStar’ Winter Music Therapy Camp: provides opportunities for musical expression, enjoyment and interaction with special needs children through an inclusive day camp.
  • Ni’cola Mitchell – Atlanta, GA; Founder, Girls Who Brunch: inspires and empowers at-risk teenage girls by teaching literacy, education and critical life skills.
  • Raja B. Marhaba – Granada Hills, CA; Founder, The Jonathan Foundation For Children with Learning Disabilities: Provides personalized support to help families with children with learning disabilities navigate special education systems.
  • Sally Berenzweig – Boca Raton, FL; Cofounder, KidSafe Foundation: teaches personal safety to children and adults with the ultimate mission of building strong, resilient families and safer communities.
  • Samantha Gerson – Los Angeles, CA; Founder & CEO, UnBroken: provides free legal and therapeutic support to adolescent survivors of institutional abuses such as conversion therapy.
  • Shanté Elliott – Chicago, IL; Founder, TasselTurn: improves the lives of youth in foster care through personalized support and college and career technology based educational coaching and social-emotional curriculum.
  • Shreyaa Venkat – Ashburn, VA; Founder, NEST4US: works with communities to provide volunteer and leadership opportunities, focusing on reducing food waste and feeding the hungry.

For more information about Women of Worth and the 2019 Honorees, visit www.WomenofWorth.com, and L’Oréal Paris on Facebook  and Twitter. Join and follow the conversation by using the hashtag #WomenofWorth.


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