NEW YORK (December 27, 2011) — This holiday season in a further commitment to UNICEF, Gucci is pleased to announce a USD 1.15 million donation to UNICEF's "Schools for Africa" initiative in the name of its children's collection. Founded in 2004 in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Peter Kramer Stiftung, UNICEF's "Schools for Africa" initiative aims to increase access to quality basic education for millions of children in Africa, with a special emphasis on helping the most disadvantaged—girls, orphans, children living in extreme poverty and other vulnerable children.
As the partnership with UNICEF enters its seventh year, Gucci proudly continues to support the "Schools for Africa" initiative because it firmly believes that an education is a gift forever. Inspired by a sense of commitment to the world's children, and in the spirit of the company's 'Forever Now' philosophy, to date Gucci has contributed over USD 10 million to UNICEF and is currently one of the largest corporate donors to "Schools for Africa." Previously in 2010, Gucci committed USD 1 million to UNICEF in celebration of the initial launch of its children's collection. Through these efforts, Gucci has contributed to UNICEF and partners reaching more than 5.5 million children in sub-Saharan Africa with improved access to and quality of education.
Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini said, "Ever since we first worked with UNICEF in 2005, it has been inspiring to lead this partnership and ensure its growth over the years. Now, we are proud to extend Gucci's commitment to UNICEF by making a further USD 1.15 million contribution to the many children they serve. When I visited Malawi in November 2009, I saw the difficult situation children face in sub-Saharan Africa where every third child doesn't get the chance to go to school. I saw that UNICEF's "Schools for Africa" initiative is successfully giving more children access to a good education, providing a start in life that so many of us take for granted. Through our commitment, we hope to help these children who may otherwise not have the chance to go to school."
To date, Gucci's involvement with UNICEF has also provided for a variety of projects to raise awareness as well as contribute to the initiative. Since the partnership's beginning, Giannini has created exclusive products from which a percentage of sales support UNICEF. In 2011, Giannini designed a new 'Gucci for UNICEF' Sukey bag and as in previous years, twenty-five percent of the retail price of each bag sold will benefit UNICEF's "Schools for Africa" initiative. Sales from the 2010 Sukey bag generated a total contribution of USD 1.45 million. Earlier this year, Gucci made a USD 70,000 contribution to the initiative for the launch of its special edition U-Play watch.
Also in support of "Schools for Africa," Gucci has made a donation of USD 250,000 to UNICEF in honor of this year's release of the luxury edition book Gucci: The Making Of. Published by Rizzoli, Gucci: The Making Of is an insightful tribute to the heritage and influence of the iconic, multi-faceted Italian fashion house, whose name over the last 90 years has become synonymous the world over for Italian handcrafted luxury and fashion authority.
This past Mother's Day, for the first time Gucci introduced a limited edition Mamma bag. 25% of the retail price from each bag sold supported UNICEF HIV/AIDS programs. Gucci guaranteed a minimum donation of USD 70,000 for HIV test kits used to diagnose more than 60,000 expectant mothers, part of UNICEF's comprehensive programs that aim to eliminate HIV infections in newborns.
2011 also saw the inauguration of the UNICEF Women of Compassion Luncheon, where the U.S. Fund for UNICEF honored Giannini along with Carrie Auer, UNICEF Representative in Malawi—for their key contributions to UNICEF's mission to save and improve children's lives worldwide. Held last February in Los Angeles, the UNICEF Women of Compassion Luncheon donated all proceeds to benefit the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
Leila Pakkala, Director of UNICEF's Private Fundraising and Partnerships Division said, “Gucci's donation will make a real difference for children. A good education helps enormously in paving the way to a successful and productive future, and investing in education will not only improve the lives of children today but also future generations. Our thanks go to Gucci both for this new generous donation and their ongoing commitment to our work for children."
Founded in Florence in 1921, Gucci is one of the world's leading luxury fashion brands. With a renowned reputation for quality and Italian craftsmanship, Gucci designs, manufactures and distributes highly desirable products such as leather goods (handbags, small leather goods, and luggage), shoes, ready-to-wear, silks, timepieces and fine jewellery. Eyewear and fragrances are manufactured and distributed under license by global industry leaders in these two sectors. Gucci products are sold exclusively through a network of directly operated boutiques (365 DOS as of September 2011) and a small number of selected department and specialty stores.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, safe water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.