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IHG surpasses $5Mil for UNICEF.
Friday, 29th June 2007
Source : InterContinental Hotels Group
Company created "Designs of Hope" events to achieve goal in five years, and therefore was able exceed its five-year goal of raising $5 million to benefit the US Fund for UNICEF.

The primary fundraising vehicle for the initiative was a company created multi-city, fashion-themed event series called "Designs of Hope."  The fifth and final season of these galas-the most successful to date-concluded June 8 with an event at the InterContinental Hotel in Houston. 

Events were also held at the InterContinental Hotels in Atlanta and Chicago earlier this year.  The three events generated close to $1.8 million for UNICEF programs that provide care and support for orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV and AIDS.

"We believe strongly in UNICEF's mission and are incredibly proud of what IHG was able to help accomplish through Designs of Hope over the past five years," said Vicki Gordon, senior vice president, Corporate Affairs, IHG. "Now that we've reached the successful conclusion of the Designs of Hope event series, we plan to look for innovative new ways to support the work of UNICEF."

The first "Designs of Hope" event was held in Atlanta in 2002 and its success prompted expansion of the concept to Chicago and Houston. Built around inclusion and fun, the galas showcased the best of each community-from chefs, designers and style leaders to artists, entertainers, merchants and corporate citizens.

"The Designs of Hope events have played a vital role in raising the profile of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in key U.S. cities," said Marjorie Schaffner, Director Midwest Region, U.S. Fund for UNICEF. "The galas have provided an entertaining platform from which to speak about the work of UNICEF and created an effective, engaging means of expanding the network of support in our respective communities."

The final three events in Houston, Chicago and Atlanta offered vastly different themes.  At the June 8 event in Houston, nostalgia was the order of the evening as the crowd remembered former UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Audrey Hepburn. The Houston UNICEF chapter presented a Gold Medallion award to the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund for its work around the world in support of women and children impacted by HIV and AIDS, and the event's grand finale was an elegant fashion show celebrating Hepburn's most memorable films. Award-winning actress and artist Jane Seymour was a special guest for the event and also received a UNICEF Gold Medallion for her global humanitarian work.

At Chicago's gala on May 20, guests were treated to a wide range of unique entertainment that included Hoopalicious, one of the leading hoop dance performance artists in the world; the internationally acclaimed Ensemble Espańol Spanish Dance Theatre, and the percussion group "Ensemble du Rhythm," who performed original arrangements of traditional West African songs. Geoffrey "Merlin" Akins, an international "bubbleologist," amazed the crowd by creating intricate soap bubble sculptures of caterpillars, cubes and even a mist-filled volcano.

In Atlanta on May 6, the Southeast Chapter of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF recognized Vicki Gordon with a special award for creating and serving as the driving force behind the Designs of Hope events.  There was a special presentation from CNN about the challenges facing the continent where much of UNICEF's work is focused, and the evening concluded with a dazzling "Best of Spring 2007" fashion show presented by Saks Fifth Avenue.

National benefactor sponsors for Designs of Hope in 2007 were InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and Delta Air Lines. Key local sponsors included Marathon Oil Corporation in Houston; Abbott, Credit Suisse, Energy BBDO, Vince and Suzanne Hemmer, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and U.S. Equities Realty LLC in Chicago; and ING and Saks Fifth Avenue in Atlanta.

UNICEF notes that an entire generation of children and adolescents has never known a world free of HIV and AIDS. Currently, 15.2 million children under the age of 18 have lost a mother, father or both parents to AIDS. An increasing numbers of parents are dying, leaving infected, affected and vulnerable children behind. UNICEF is responding decisively to the crisis by working to stop infections among young people through preventive education, supporting antiretroviral drug programs that are keeping HIV-positive mothers from passing on the virus to their babies, and leading and supporting programs that provide care and support for orphans.

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