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Domestic Violence Shelters Nationwide to Receive $3 Million Cash Infusion During Economic Downturn

Foundation Started by the late Mary Kay Ash Awards Grants to Women's Shelters in all 50 States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands

DALLAS, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Domestic violence shelters nationwide are receiving an influx of badly-needed cash, thanks to the foundation started by the late Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Inc. The Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation (MKACF) is awarding grants totaling $3 million to domestic violence shelters across the U.S.

The grants -- 150 in all, covering all 50 states, Washington, D.C., the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico -- will be used for programs aimed at curbing domestic violence, and to help the shelters keep their doors open during the current economic downturn. In a time when expenses are up and donations are down, many shelters risk losing staff or even closing altogether.

"These grants from the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation come at a critical time for shelters across the country," said Sue Else, president of the National Network to End Domestic Violence. "Thousands of women come into shelters every day for help and hope for themselves and their children. These grants will help shelters across the country provide needed support for women who have suffered domestic abuse."

Country Music Joins the Fight

Of the $3 million in grants, more than $600,000 will be awarded to 31 shelters in the names of country music artists who helped the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation "kiss domestic violence goodbye" last year through the A Kiss for Country philanthropic program. Each of these grants will be awarded to a shelter in the country music artist's home state or a designated state. The program, in partnership with the Country Music Association, asks celebrities to lend their lips to show support for the cause. Through the online auction of their lip prints and autographs on specially designed "Kiss Cards," 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the Foundation's programs committed to ending domestic violence.

The Danger of Domestic Violence

The U.S. Surgeon General reports that domestic violence is the #1 cause of injury to women in the U.S. Domestic violence is also a major cause of death. Every day, three women die from domestic violence-related incidents. According to The National Network to End Domestic Violence, 1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence during their lives. For example, in New York City, the city health department says nearly half of all women murdered in New York City in recent years were killed by their intimate partners.

The Mary Kay Commitment

"The Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation is a leader in supporting programs to help women survive violent relationships and re-establish their lives," said Anne Crews, member of the MKACF Board of Directors and vice president of Mary Kay Inc. "Shelters need our help, especially now, because they are the front-line resource for battered women and their children, whose needs are great."

Mary Kay has long recognized the importance of educating women about domestic violence and keeping them safe from it. Mary Kay Inc. provides materials on domestic violence awareness and prevention to its independent sales force which currently exceeds 1.8 million worldwide. MKACF funds include those contributed by thousands of Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants and by the Foundation's title sponsor, Mary Kay Inc.

For domestic violence statistics in your state, please visit: http://www.ncadv.org/unsorted/statespecificfactsheets_232.html

About MKACF:

The Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation was created in 1996 and its mission is two-fold: to fund research of cancers affecting women and help prevent domestic violence while raising awareness of the issue. Since the Foundation's inception, it has awarded nearly $18 million to shelters and programs addressing domestic violence and $10.8 million to cancer researchers and related causes throughout the United States. To learn more about the Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation, log on to http://www.mkacf.org or call 1-877-MKCARES (652-2737).

SOURCE Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation

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