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UNICEF and GUCCI: New Initiatives for Orphans and Children Affected by HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa


By: Deanna Helmig, US Fund for UNICEF

2009 marked the fifth anniversary of the global Gucci/UNICEF partnership, which began in 2005 when Gucci introduced the first annual Gucci Campaign to Benefit UNICEF. In this campaign, Gucci stores in over 20 countries donated a percentage of sales from a special group of products to support UNICEF programs for orphans and children affected by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa…

The annual Gucci Campaign to Benefit UNICEF has consistently supported education, healthcare, protection and clean water programs for orphans and children affected by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. In this five-year period, Gucci committed over US$ 7 million to UNICEF, resulting in Gucci’s current status as the largest corporate donor to UNICEF’s ‘Schools for Africa’ campaign.

‘Schools for Africa’ is a joint campaign established in 2004 by UNICEF, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, and the Hamburg Society. The initiative aims to increase access to quality basic schooling for all, with a special emphasis on helping the most disadvantaged – including children orphaned by HIV/AIDS and children living in extreme poverty.

Each year, Gucci has intensified the company’s commitment to UNICEF and to saving and improving children’s lives by expanding the annual campaign and introducing significant new initiatives to support the partnership. Moreover, in addition to the Gucci campaign’s consistent support to UNICEF programs in Malawi and Mozambique, in 2009 it expanded to support programs in South Africa. Collectively, over 2.3 million children have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic in these three countries. Funds generated from sales in China support UNICEF programs for children affected by HIV/AIDS in China.

Since 2005, Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini has designed an exclusive accessories collection dedicated to the Gucci Campaign to Benefit UNICEF. Gucci stores worldwide donate a percentage of sales during the holiday season from this special collection. For example, in 2007, Frida Giannini created a special product to extend the company’s commitment to UNICEF throughout the year, to complement the holiday campaign. The exclusive ‘Gucci for UNICEF’ Indy bag was launched in November 2007 and was dedicated to UNICEF for one full year to increase its fundraising potential. Giannini designed and launched a second product, the special edition ‘Gucci for UNICEF’ Baboushka bag, in February 2009. Gucci donated 25% of the retail price to UNICEF for each bag sold for a full year.

In 2008, the White Tattoo Heart collection was created and supported for the first time by a global advertising campaign featuring Grammy Award-winning artist Rihanna. Moreover, on the evening of February 6, 2008, Gucci presented a major fundraising event in New York together with Madonna. Co-chaired by Gucci’s Creative Director, Frida Giannini, the evening was dedicated to raising funds and awareness for orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Through ticket sales and a live auction, the event successfully raised a total of approximately $2.7 million to benefit UNICEF’s ‘Schools for Africa’ program.

For the 2009 campaign, Giannini commissioned acclaimed Fashion Director, author and illustrator Michael Roberts to create a new children’s book entitled Snowman in Africa. Gucci donated 100% of the $25 retail price of the book to UNICEF for each book sold in Gucci stores and on from November 16 – December 31, 2009. Taking inspiration from Michael Roberts’ illustrations, Giannini also designed exclusive Gucci accessories as well as a Gucci Gift Card to benefit UNICEF. Gucci donated 25% of the retail price of the dedicated accessories collection and special edition Gift Cards to UNICEF as well.

Moreover, the 2009-10 ‘Gucci for UNICEF’ Baboushka bag also supported UNICEF’s ‘Schools for Africa’ initiative. Funds from each 2007-8 ‘Gucci for UNICEF’ Indy bag provided medicines to keep 250 HIV-positive or HIV-exposed infants in Malawi healthy for one year or therapeutic nutrition to strengthen five HIV-positive children in Mozambique.

In order to see first-hand how Gucci’s support of UNICEF is making a difference in the lives of thousands of children in sub-Saharan Africa. Frida Giannini traveled with UNICEF to Malawi in November 2009. Giannini visited schools, a care center for orphans, and a hospital and reaffirmed Gucci’s on-going commitment to aiding these essential UNICEF programs.

This year, the launch of the ‘Gucci for UNICEF’ Sukey bag in grey designed by Giannini, ‘La Pelle Guccissima,’ will be sold in Gucci stores in over 20 countries worldwide and at from April 15, 2010, until February 28, 2011.
Gucci will donate 25% of the retail price from all sales of the special edition ‘Gucci for UNICEF’ Sukey bag to support UNICEF’s ‘Schools for Africa’ programs in Malawi and Mozambique where nearly one million children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The

For more information, please contact: Deanna Helmig, Director of Corporate Marketing Partnerships, US Fund for UNICEF.