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WomanOf the Month 10-05: Anne Crews

A driving force behind Mary Kay Inc.’s support for efforts to combat domestic violence is Anne Crews, vice president of government relations. A 22-year veteran of the corporation, Crew brought us up to date on the company’s involvement during this, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation, which expanded its mission in 2000 to address domestic violence, has committed $3 million in support for 150 shelters/safe houses in all 50 states. Further, a foundation-funded documentary targeting the impact of domestic violence on children airs Oct. 20 on PBS at 10 pm EST. The foundation has awarded the National Network to End Domestic Violence a grant to encourage its member state coalitions to host screenings of the documentary. Says WomanOf the Month Crews, “One of Mary Kay’s missions is to enrich women’s lives through its long-term commitment to support programs to eliminate domestic violence. Many of its employees are actively involved with volunteer organizations and also through the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation.”

The corporation’s efforts are comprehensive. It expects its leaders to educate other employees about domestic violence issues; information appears on the website at www.marykay.com and www.mkacf.org.

“We feel one way our company structure is unique is in the structure of our sales force,apostrophe notes Crews. “They are in the homes of the hostesses and the customers and develop personal relationships with those customers, friends and families. They can assist in educating them that domestic violence is a crime and in educating about resources. There is hope for those who want to get out. The sales force can also let customers, friends and family know about the National Domestic Violence Hotline [1-800-799-7233] and about resources available through the foundation website,apostrophe says Crews.

“Statistics show that one in three adult women will experience domestic violence in adulthood,apostrophe says Crews. “With a sales force of 710,000 in the U.S., we know we have the potential to be dealing with the issue. The sales force is very active in volunteering in the community through skin care classes, donating products to shelters, and other activities that bring them closer to potential victims or victims.apostrophe

In June 2005, six of Mary Kay Inc.’s independent national sales directors attended Lobby Day on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., meeting with their representatives and senators to encourage reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which expired Sept. 30. It has passed both the Senate and the House and now is in conference.

The Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation, for its part, funded in 2001 an award-winning documentary on domestic violence focusing on survivors. The film ran on PBS through 2004. It is called Breaking the Silence: Journeys of Hope, and is still available from the American Bar Association and other sources. (Visit www.mkcaf.org for more info.)

This week, on Oct. 20, the foundation is launching its latest effort on the domestic violence front, but this time the production focused on children. Again underwritten by the foundation and produced by Connecticut Public Television, the 60-minutes PBS documentary is called Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories. The program interviews mothers and experts as to how the courts and children are faring in this fight.

Crews is an active participant on the boards of many organizations working to end domestic violence. For years she has worked with The Family Place in Dallas, a shelter and program with space for about 1,000 women and children. It offers day care, intervention and prevention programs, and myriad other resources. She is currently president of the board of directors. She also serves on the National Network to End Domestic Violence and the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence. In 2002, she was appointed to the U.S. Department of Justice Advisory Board on Violence Against Women.