This Friday is The Fourth Annual DVF Awards and we can’t wait to honor the five extraordinary women who will be recognized this year. Following in the footsteps of Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton, the recipient of the Lifetime Leadership Award is the incomparable Robin Roberts. You have likely come to know Robin as the Co-Anchor of Good Morning America, where she has conducted headline breaking interviews with countless luminaries, musicians, athletes and celebrities including President Barack Obama, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, First Lady Michelle Obama and NBA superstar LeBron James. Robin first touched the hearts of Americans with her courageous and very public battle against breast cancer in 2007. Then, in June 2012, she faced another health battle when she was diagnosed with MDS or myelodysplastic syndrome, a disease of the blood and bone marrow once known as pre-leukemia. Robin underwent a bone marrow transplant in September of that year, her sister Sally-Ann was a perfect match. Robin’s story triggered an outpouring of support from across the nation. She joined forces with Be the Match to inform the public about the need for more donors, and since her diagnosis over 56,000 people have joined the registry. Robin made a triumphant return to the anchor desk on February 20, 2013, five months to the day since she underwent the transplant. The DVF Awards support will go to help Robin continue her important work. In Robin’s words, “Receiving the DVF Lifetime Leadership Award will inspire me to continue to shine the light on the achievements of women around the world.”
This year’s Inspiration Award, given to a woman who has demonstrated exceptional strength and bravery in the face of adversity, and is now using her experience and influence to effect positive change, will go to Natalia Vodianova. As an international supermodel, philanthropist and President of The Naked Heart Foundation, Natalia has used her visibility to raise awareness for a cause that is very close to own heart. As a child, Natalia experienced poverty first hand and the lack of a social support system in Russia. So she created the Naked Heart Foundation, to provide a safe and inspiring environment for every child living in Russia. Through her foundation, she has created play parks and playgrounds in 68 Russian towns, with a mission to ensure that every child has access to a vibrant, safe and stimulating place to play. “When I hear ‘inspiration,’ I think ‘love,’” says Natalia. “When we are in love or we love what we do, this is our biggest inspiration. My charity work with The Naked Heart Foundation is completing and fulfilling my life and inspiring me every day. I wish this feeling to everyone.”
Two awards will also be given to two women within the Vital Voices Global Partnership. This year’s recipients are Andeisha Farid from Afghanistan and Sunitha Krishnan from India. Andeisha is the founder and Executive Director of the Afghan Child Education and Caring Organization (AFCECO). She spent her childhood living in refugee camps and while there, began tutoring Afghani women and children who lacked a place to learn—educating the next generation of leaders in her country. Sunitha is the co-founder of Prajwala (Eternal Flame), a group that rescues women and children from brothels and provides quality education to the children of prostitutes.
We are also pleased to announce the winner of this year’s People’s Voice Award, Tammy Tibbetts, who is recognized for her work with She’s the First, an organization that sponsors girls’ education helping them to be the first in their families to graduate. “My vision is a world where youth around the world define their aspirations based on brave firsts and achieve them with peer-to-peer support,” says Tammy.
All of this year’s honorees are using their resources, commitment and visibility to transform the lives of other women, and that is what The DVF Awards are all about.
The awards will take place on Friday, April 5 at The United Nations.