About The DVF Awards

The DVF Awards were founded in 2010 by Diane von Furstenberg and The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation to recognize and support extraordinary women who are dedicated to transforming the lives of other women; women who have had the courage to fight, the strength to survive, and the leadership to inspire.

Honorees are celebrated annually at the DVF Awards ceremony in New York City, as part of the Women in the World conference.

Each year, five awards are bestowed to women who have demonstrated leadership, strength, and courage in their commitment to women’s causes. The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation grants each honoree $50,000 for their non-profit organization in order to further their important work.

Award Categories

  • The International DVF Award
  • The Inspiration DVF Award
  • The Lifetime Leadership DVF Award
  • The People's Voice DVF Award

The People's Voice DVF Award Nominees

Let your voice be heard.

The People’s Voice DVF Award is chosen by popular vote and will be celebrated at the 10th annual DVF Awards to be held on April 11, 2019 in New York City. Vote for the woman who inspires you most.

This year’s nominees are:

Amanda Nguyen


“I continue to fight for civil rights because I’ve learned no one is powerless when we come together and no one can make us invisible when we demand to be seen.”

Amanda Nguyen is the CEO and founder of Rise, a national civil rights nonprofit dedicated to helping survivors of sexual violence. She is a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize nominee. Amanda penned her own civil rights into existence and unanimously passed the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights, after having to navigate the broken criminal justice system after her own rape. 20 bills protecting sexual violence survivors have been created modeled off of her federal law. The federal law was the 21st bill in modern US history to pass unanimously on the record.

Amanda has been named a Forbes 30 Under 30, by Foreign Policy as a Top 100 Leading Global Thinker, Marie Claire as a Young Woman of the Year, and The Tempest's #1 Woman of Color Trailblazer. Previously, Amanda was appointed by President Barack Obama to the United States Department of State as his Deputy White House Liaison and served at NASA. Amanda graduated from Harvard University.


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Yvette Alberdingk Thijm

Executive Director

“As an immigrant woman, I believe in the power of our stories to bring forward justice. I do this work to support women from vulnerable communities to stand up for human rights.”

Yvette Alberdingk-Thijm is a media activist and justice warrior who dedicates her life to putting the power of story and technology to work for the most marginalized and vulnerable communities around the world. She envisions a world where anyone can participate in creating human rights change and leads a global network of activists at WITNESS to work alongside people who speak truth to power, harnessing the potential of video and technology to ensure their voices are not silenced. Yvette grew up in The Netherlands, where she was raised in a family and culture that championed truth and equality. As an immigrant, lawyer and woman, she believes that truth is where justice starts. And as a social change agent, she knows that community is a healing and repairing force for good. Yvette went on to work in some of the world’s most innovative media and technology start-ups, including MTV Networks and JOOST, pushing the boundaries of media, tech and social good and forging new paths for herself and others. Combining her expertise in media with her commitment to truth and social change, Yvette is now determined to democratize the use of media and tech to create a just world. She believes in the power of story, and in putting that power into the hands of the courageous women who are leading the charge of speaking truth to power and creating positive change in their communities.

With her colleagues and partners at WITNESS, she is reimagining the way that change is made--making it possible for anyone, anywhere to use video and technology to tell their own stories. After all, that is where dignity, justice, and equality begin.

Yvette is also active in fostering a safer ecosystem for digital users at risk, as Board Chair for Majal.org, young women developers who create platforms to champion repressed voices, music and LGBTQ communities in the Middle East, and by serving on the Boards of Benetech.org, AccessNow, and DocSociety.

She is a frequent speaker on and advocates new narratives for human rights practice and promotes collective care as a radical act of resistance in the human rights movement.


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Susan Burton

“I'm encouraged to do the work that I do because of the transformation I witness every day in the lives of formerly incarcerated women and their children.”

Following the tragic accidental death of her five-year-old son, Susan Burton’s world collapsed. Her loss snapped the final tether of resilience, already strained by a past of pain and trauma. She descended into an emotional abyss of darkness and despair, yet was not offered the resources needed to heal. Without support, she turned to drugs and alcohol, which led to nearly 20 years revolving through cycles of incarceration.

Drawing on her personal experiences, Susan founded A New Way of Life Reentry Project (ANWOL) in 1998 — dedicating her life to helping others break the cycle of incarceration. ANWOL provides resources such as housing, case management, employment, legal services, leadership development and community organizing on behalf of and with people who are struggling to rebuild their lives after incarceration. Since its founding, more than 1,000 women and children have found safety and support in seven reentry homes. Over 300 women have been reunited with their children. Since the inception of ANWOL’s legal department in 2007, the organization has provided pro bono services to assist thousands seeking relief from the burden of criminal histories. These services have helped enhance job opportunities by expunging criminal records and offering access to occupational licenses.

Susan is a co-founder of All of Us or None (AOUON) and the Formerly Incarcerated and Convicted People’s Movement (FICPM), both national grassroots civil rights movements comprised of formerly incarcerated individuals, their families and community allies. She also leads an initiative called the SAFE Housing Network, which supports people around the world in developing culturally authentic reentry programs based on the ANWOL model.

Susan has earned numerous awards and honors for her work. In 2010, she was named a CNN Top Ten Hero and received the prestigious Citizen Activist Award from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She is a recipient of both the Encore Purpose Prize (2012) and the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award (2014). In 2015, on the 50th Anniversary of Selma and the Voting Rights Act, Susan Burton was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of eighteen New Civil Rights Leaders in the nation.

Susan is also the author of a memoir, Becoming Ms. Burton (The New Press, 2017), which received a 2018 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in the category of Biography/Autobiography and the inaugural Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice. In 2017, The New Press published 11,000 paperback “prison edition” copies of Becoming Ms. Burton, which ANWOL has sent free of charge to any prisoner who requests one. Since then, Susan has traveled into jails and prisons in 30 states and three countries, speaking with prisoners and prison officials and delivering copies of Becoming Ms. Burton.


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Maria Vertkin

Founder and Executive Director
Found In Translation

“The people we serve are women and immigrants. The thing we care about is economic opportunity and healthcare access. There has never been a time in my life where it is more important to support women, immigrants, healthcare access and to enable economic mobility.”

Maria Vertkin is a social worker, immigrant, formerly homeless, and Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneur. She is the founder and executive director of Found in Translation, which provides medical interpreter training and job placement to low-income and homeless bilingual women, enabling them to turn their most stigmatized characteristic—their linguistic and cultural backgrounds—into their biggest asset in the workforce.

Found in Translation’s Language Access Fellowship is designed to level the playing field for talented, driven low-income bilingual women. It is free-of-charge and includes common-sense supports such as on-site childcare, transportation assistance, mentoring, and career coaching, and leads directly into jobs paying $25/hr+. Since 2011, Found in Translation has served 221 women who now earn an additional $1.86 million per year, while providing thousands of vulnerable patients with access to linguistically and culturally appropriate medical care. Found in Translation graduates advance equality in healthcare access, improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs and save lives.

For her service and dedication to the community, Maria has received several awards, including the 2011 Kip Tiernan Social Justice Fellowship, which has enabled her to launch Found in Translation, the 2013 Echoing Green Global Fellowship, the 2015 Richard Cornuelle Award for Social Entrepreneurship from the Manhattan Institute, and the Innovator for Social Justice Prize from Grinnell College. She is profiled in the 2016 Chronicle of Philanthropy 40 Under 40 list, and in the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 Social Entrepreneurs.


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Past Awards

2018 Honorees

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, The Lifetime Leadership DVF Award

Misty Copeland, The Inspiration DVF Award

Ariela Suster, The International DVF Award (El Salvador)

Jaha Dukureh, The International DVF Award (The Gambia)

Luma Mufleh, The People’s Voice DVF Award

2017 Honorees

Dr. Jane Goodall, The Lifetime Leadership DVF Award

Karlie Kloss, The Inspiration DVF Award

Yoani Sánchez, The International DVF Award (Cuba)

Baljeet Sandhu, The International DVF Award (United Kingdom)

Louise Dubé, The People’s Voice DVF Award

2016 Honorees

Dr. Martine Rothblatt, The Lifetime Leadership DVF Award

Sarah Jones, The Inspiration DVF Award

Maria Pacheco, The International DVF Award (Guatemala)

Agnes Igoye, The International DVF Award (Uganda)

Emily Greener, The People’s Voice DVF Award

2015 Honorees

Melanne Verveer, The Lifetime Leadership DVF Award

Gabrielle Giffords, The Inspiration DVF Award

Adimaimalaga Tafuna’i, The International DVF Award (Samoa)

Samar Minallah Khan, The International DVF Award (Pakistan)

Becky Straw & Jody Landers, The Adventure Project, The People’s Voice DVF Award

2014 Honorees

Gloria Steinem, The Lifetime Leadership DVF Award

Alicia Keys, The Inspiration DVF Award

Kah Walla, The International DVF Award (Cameroon)

Liron Peleg-Hadomi & Noha Khatieb, The International DVF Award (Israel)

Veronika Scott, Empowerment Plan, The People’s Voice DVF Award

2013 Honorees

Robin Roberts, The Lifetime Leadership DVF Award

Natalia Vodianova, The Inspiration DVF Award

Andeisha Farid, The International DVF Award (Afghanistan)

Sunitha Krishnan, The International DVF Award (India)

Tammy Tibbetts, She’s the First, The People’s Voice DVF Award

2012 Honorees

Oprah Winfrey, The Lifetime Leadership DVF Award

Jaycee Dugard, The Inspiration DVF Award

Panmela Castro, The International DVF Award (Brazil)

Chouchou Namegabe, The International DVF Award (Democratic Republic of Congo)

Layli Miller-Muro, Tahirih Justice Center, The People’s Voice DVF Award

2011 Honorees

Hillary Rodham Clinton, The Lifetime Leadership DVF Award

Elizabeth Smart, The Inspiration DVF Award

Sohini Chakraborty, The International DVF Award (India)

Kakenya Ntaiya, The International DVF Award (Kenya)

Taryn Davis, American Widow Project, The People’s Voice DVF Award

2010 Honorees

Ingrid Betancourt, The Lifetime Leadership DVF Award

Danielle Saint-Lot, The International DVF Award (Haiti)

Sadiqa Basiri Saleem, The International DVF Award (Afghanistan)

Katherine Chon, Polaris Project, The People’s Voice DVF Award