NEW YORK, NEW YORK - November 15th 2007: Madonna and Gucci will host an exclusive fundraising event on February 6, 2008 to celebrate the opening of Gucci's largest store in the world, the New York 5th Avenue Flagship. Co-chaired by Gucci's Creative Director, Frida Giannini, this event will benefit Raising Malawi and UNICEF, and will consist of dinner followed by a guest speaker, musical performance and an after party. This special evening will be dedicated to raising funds and awareness for orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in Africa. Joining Madonna and Frida Giannini is a list of distinguished co-chairs, including Adrien Brody, Arpad Busson, Salma Hayek and Fran�s-Henri Pinault, T�Leoni, Lucy Liu, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher, Gwyneth Paltrow, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, and Sting and Trudie Styler. Both together and individually, Gucci and Madonna share a history of commitment to the fight against AIDS, as well as support for orphans and children affected by HIV/AIDS. Beginning in 1997, Madonna served as Honorary Co-chair of the record-breaking Gucci fundraising event for Aids Project Los Angeles. Ten years later, Gucci and Madonna have both responded to the global circumstances of the AIDS pandemic, pursuing interests on behalf of orphans and children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa.
"I am grateful that Gucci is joining forces with me to bring attention to a country with millions of children in desperate need of our help" said Madonna.
"Raising Malawi has already done tremendous work in helping these children. But we have much more to do and this event will surely bring us closer to our goal." Since 2006, Raising Malawi has been dedicated to bringing an end to the extreme poverty and hardship endured by Malawi's one million orphans, over half of whom have been orphaned by AIDS. Co-founded by Madonna, Raising Malawi provides thousands of children with physical assistance, long-term sustainability, and psycho-social programs to address their emotional needs through several community-based projects including orphan care centers, orphanages, medical clinics, crisis nurseries, feeding programs and a soon-to-come girls' boarding school. Gucci has been a UNICEF corporate partner since 2004, starting with a local holiday event in Los Angeles, and growing to a global campaign in over twenty countries in 2005. The Gucci campaign supports UNICEF programs in Malawi and Mozambique, where over one million children have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Gucci's support has enabled UNICEF to provide lifesaving healthcare, protection, clean water and education to orphans and children affected by HIV/AIDS. "AIDS is one of the most devastating public health problems in recent history," said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. "Every day, 6,000 children lose a parent to AIDS, and 1,400 children die from AIDS. We can't thank Gucci and Madonna enough for their commitment to helping UNICEF fight the battle against HIV and AIDS. By helping us raise funds, they are helping children in Africa to survive and thrive." "We are honored to have Madonna host this very special event with us, celebrating the opening of our New York Fifth Avenue flagship store while generating funds for Raising Malawi and UNICEF," said Mark Lee, Chief Executive Officer of Gucci. "At this significant moment in Gucci's history, we are proud to continue our commitment to a cause of great importance to the company. We are inspired by the work of Raising Malawi and UNICEF - organizations that are improving life in communities devastated by HIV/AIDS, and helping thousands of children in their daily struggle to survive." The event is being entirely underwritten by Gucci, so every dollar raised will go directly to the important work of Raising Malawi and UNICEF.