About the DvF Awards

The DVF Awards – Honoring Extraordinary Women

This year marks the 5th anniversary of the DVF Awards. The DVF Awards were created in 2010 by Diane von Furstenberg and the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation to honor and support extraordinary women who have had the courage to fight, the power to survive and the leadership to inspire. Women who have transformed the lives of others through their commitment, resources and visibility.

Two awards are given to women working within the Vital Voices network who, against the odds, are promoting tolerance and advancing the status of women in their respective countries. The People's Voice Award is chosen by popular vote from four nominees who are working within the United States to better their communities. Voting is open to the public and the award is granted to the woman who receives the most votes. The Inspiration Award is given to a woman who has demonstrated exceptional strength, and is using her experience and influence to effect positive change. The Lifetime Leadership Award is given to an individual who has dedicated her entire life and body of work to instilling leadership, strength and courage in other women.

Each honoree will receive $50,000 from the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation to further her work at the organization with which she is affiliated, and will be recognized at an awards ceremony on Friday, April 4 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on the occasion of the Women in the World conference.

  • Two awards for women in
    the Vital Voices network
  • The People’s Voice Award
  • The Inspiration Award
  • The Lifetime Leadership Award

Meet the 2014 DvF Honorees

Gloria Steinem - DvF Lifetime Achievement Award

Gloria Steinem - DvF Lifetime Achievement Award

Meet the other honorees

Ms. Foundation for Women


“There is no bigger gift than doing the work we love. I was given this gift by everything from witnessing grassroots activism in India to the example of wise women like Bella Abzug, Alice Walker, Wilma Mankiller – and many more. They taught me that people are linked – not ranked – and that transformation must be made from the bottom up. It’s a simple message that saved my life. It now makes my life by passing it on.”

Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, editor, and feminist activist. An organizer and frequent media spokeswoman on issues of equality, she is particularly interested in the shared origins of sex and race caste systems, gender roles and child abuse as roots of violence, non-violent conflict resolution, the cultures of indigenous peoples, and organizing across boundaries for peace and justice.

Ms. Steinem graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Smith College in 1956, then spent two years in India on a Chester Bowles Fellowship. She wrote for Indian publications, and was influenced by Gandhian activism.

In 1972, Ms. Steinem co-founded Ms. magazine. She continues to serve as a consulting editor for Ms., and was instrumental in the magazine’s move to be published by the Feminist Majority Foundation. She also helped to found New York magazine in 1968, and has written numerous bestselling books.

Ms. Steinem helped to found the Women’s Action Alliance and the National Women’s Political Caucus. She was president and co-founder of Voters for Choice, and was co-founder and serves on the board of Choice USA. She was the founding president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, and was a founder of its Take Our Daughters to Work Day. Now, she is working with the Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College to document the grassroots origins of the U.S. women’s movement.

In 1993, she co-produced and narrated an Emmy Award winning TV documentary for HBO, “Multiple Personalities: The Search for Deadly Memories.” With Rosilyn Heller, she also co-produced an original TV movie for Lifetime, “Better Off Dead,” which examined the parallel forces that both oppose abortion and support the death penalty.

In 1993, Ms. Steinem was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca Falls, New York. She is currently working on a book about her more than 30 years on the road as a feminist organizer, due out in 2015.


Alica Keys - DvF Inspiration Award

Alica Keys - DvF Inspiration Award

Meet the other honorees

Keep a Child Alive


Alicia Keys is a 15-time Grammy® Award winning singer/songwriter/producer, an accomplished actress, a New York Times best-selling author, an entrepreneur and a powerful force in the world of philanthropy and in the global fight against HIV and AIDS.

Keys recently released her fifth studio album, Girl on Fire, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200, and reached number one on the iTunes album chart in 19 countries. Since the 2001 release of her monumental debut album, songs in A minor, Keys has built an unparalleled repertoire of hits and accomplishments with more than 30 million albums sold worldwide.

Keys made her directorial debut for Lifetime’s "Five" and most recently served as Executive Producer of the critically-acclaimed film "The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete." In 2011, she made her producorial debut with the Broadway play Stick Fly, which Keys also composed the original music for.

A devoted and influential philanthropist in the global fight against HIV/AIDS, Keys co-founded Keep a Child Alive (KCA) and serves as Global Ambassador for the organization. She also joined Greater Than AIDS to launch “Empowered,” a national campaign highlighting the power of women to change the course of HIV/AIDS through every day actions.


Veronika Scott - DvF People's Voice Award

Veronika Scott - DvF People's Voice Award

Meet the other honorees

The Empowerment Plan


"Growing up with addicts for parents, everyone treated me as if I was just an extension of them. I spent my childhood trying to prove to people that I had value and that I was worth investing in. Every woman we hire at The Empowerment Plan has experienced so much in her life and yearns for the chance to be given a clean slate and to have someone see them for the amazing, talented, and valuable person that they are."

Veronika Scott, founder and CEO of The Empowerment Plan, was born to parents that struggled with unemployment, mental health issues, and addiction. Carrying these burdens with her for years, it wasn’t until college that Veronika was able to use her experiences to her advantage. To start, she built an organization around a single idea: to design a self-heated, weather-resistant coat that transforms into a sleeping bag for the homeless. That idea evolved into a system of empowerment in which homeless mothers are paid to learn how to produce the coat, giving them an opportunity to earn money, find a place to live, and gain back their independence. The mission of The Empowerment Plan is to prove that homeless parents have worth and are fully capable of learning and adapting to create a better future for themselves and their families.

Veronika is the youngest recipient of the John F. Kennedy New Frontier Award from the JFK Library Foundation and Harvard University. She has also received an IDEA Gold Award from the Industrial Design Society of America. The Empowerment Plan story has been told across the world and shared at events such as the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Forbes 400 Philanthropy Summit.


Kah Walla - DvF Vital Voices

Kah Walla - DvF Vital Voices

Meet the other honorees

“As women – and I think as African women – we are a significant part of these economies. And if this economy wants to grow – if this country wants to grow – then it’s a good idea that we sit at a table and that we start talking to each other and seeing what’s best on both sides.”

Kah Walla is an entrepreneur, activist and elected official from Cameroon. Kah is one of Cameroon’s foremost political leaders and is often cited as an example of a new generation of leadership throughout Africa. For 25 years, she has focused on good governance, the rights of women and youth, and the rule of law. She has worked with civil society in Cameroon and throughout Africa, developing policies and projects at the international, national and local levels that are inclusive of all: from farmers to motorbike taxi-drivers to persons with disabilities, student associations and governments.

In 2007, Kah was elected to the Douala City Council. Her political leadership is known for its focus on transparency and sound budget management. In 2008, she stood up against a constitutional amendment designed to eliminate presidential term limits and played a key role in advocating to overhaul the independent electoral commission. In 2009, Kah created Cameroon Ô’Bosso, a citizen movement to promote and defend the social, economic and political rights of Cameroonians. On October 9, 2011, Kah ran as a candidate for the presidency of Cameroon. In a country which has only known two presidents in the last 50 years, her campaign was groundbreaking.

An entrepreneur herself—Kah launched her consulting firm, STRATEGIES!, almost twenty years ago—Kah is also recognized for her work to create a culture of entrepreneurship globally. She serves on the board of the World Entrepreneurship Forum, and in 2008, she was one of seven women entrepreneurs in Africa profiled in the World Bank report, Doing Business: Women in Africa.

Kah’s objective today is to effect political change in Africa, and to build the systems of governance that will enable the continent to achieve its incredible potential.


Liron Peleg-Hadomi & Noha Khatieb - DvF Vital Voices

Liron Peleg-Hadomi & Noha Khatieb - DvF Vital Voices

Meet the other honorees

“You have to be optimistic that peace can be possible because otherwise you cannot continue living your life. There are difficult times. But I don't see myself living in Israel and not working to bring together communities and trying to make an impact.” – Liron Peleg-Hadomi

“This is how change starts. I believe in the small steps. These drops will eventually bring the big rain. And it will come.” – Noha Khatieb

Liron Peleg-Hadomi, a Jew, and Noha Khatieb, a Palestinian Arab living in Israel, have committed their lives to peaceful coexistence. Liron and Noha met in 2007 when both traveled to Northern Ireland as part of a Vital Voices delegation that brought Arabs and Jews together to collaborate with peace builders from Northern Ireland and South Africa. They instantly bonded on a personal level and returned to Israel inspired to build a new culture of tolerance.

Liron is a community organizer. Noha works for Israel’s Ministry of Education promoting cross-cultural understanding. LEAD, the program they co-created, works to ease tensions and foster healthy engagement with mutual understanding and respect. Through monthly dialogues and workshops, they are creating the next generation of women peace builders. Participants have credited the program with allowing them to put preconceived notions and prejudices aside to see one another simply as women. Some who might otherwise never have met have forged professional connections and personal friendships, just as Noha and Liron were able to do in Northern Ireland.


DvF Awards Past Honorees

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