F4D’S FRANCA SOZZANI AWARD
Francine LeFrak is a social entrepreneur and women’s empowerment activist. In 2008, Francine founded Same Sky, a jewelry initiative that provides training and employment to women survivors of the Rwandan Genocide who are living with HIV/AIDS. Francine offers women a hand-up, not a handout, by providing them with the dignity of work and tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty. In addition to work abroad, Same Sky now provides employment to women who have recently been released from Hudson County Jail, helping them to re-enter society.
Before her work as a social entrepreneur, Francine had a successful career on Broadway and as a social issues film producer where she garnered multiple Tony, Emmy, and Peabody awards. Francine also serves as CEO of the Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Foundation, which supports institutions of higher learning, hospitals, and cultural institutions. She is a founder of The Francine A. LeFrak Foundation and The Same Sky Foundation which aim to eradicate poverty through employment and encourage community-led solutions to promote women’s empowerment in the developing world and in America.
In recognition of Francine’s commitment to empowering women, she has been honored with a number of awards including the UN Women For Peace Award, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, the Women Together Award presented at the UN for microfinance, and the “Chevalier” of the Legion of Honor as presented by the French government. Francine is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post’s Impact and What’s Working sections where she is a leading voice in the ethical shopping movement. She is the Chair Emerita of the Women’s Leadership Board at the Harvard Kennedy School, a body of influential women leaders that advance issues related to gender equality and gender research. Francine holds Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters from Manhattanville College and from Mount Ida College.