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  • Lisa Dewberry

Fashionably building communities, human rights, education and arts


Diane and her husband Barry Diller, media mogul and founder of the USA network, have pledged to give over $1 billion in charitable contributions. PHOTO: ImageCollab

Diane von Furstenberg, fashion designer responsible for the creation and popularity of the wrap dress, is a major philanthropists in the fashion industry. As founder of The Diller–von Furstenberg Family Foundation, which aims to improve people’s lives and strengthen communities, she has already helped generate millions of dollars to help organisations in the public space, education, arts, human rights and environmental sectors. Diane and her husband Barry Diller, media mogul and founder of the USA network, have pledged to give over $1 billion in charitable contributions. The Diller–von Furstenberg Family Foundation supports organisations providing people with opportunities they would not otherwise have access to or which sustainably improves the community as a whole. This philanthropist founded her fashion line in 1972 which has become a global luxury fashion brand celebrated for its bold and creative approach to colour and print and admired for its’ sensual femininity. Renowned for the iconic wrap dress and signature prints, the brand offers a collection of ready-to-wear clothing and accessories establishing itself as a leader of feminine silhouettes. Diane’s commitment to empowering women is expressed not only through her fashion, but also through her philanthropy and mentorship and The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation. She created the DVF Awards in 2010 to recognise and support women dedicated to transforming lives of other women and it provides grants to women who have displayed leadership, strength and courage in their commitment to their causes. Each year five honorees are celebrated at The DVF Awards Ceremony at the United Nations in New York City as part of The Women in the World Conference, where her foundation grants each honoree $50 000 for their non-profit organisation to further their work. In 2005, Diane received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) for her impact on fashion and one year later she was elected CFDA president. This philanthropist has since dedicated herself to fostering emerging talent and growing the organisation to over 500 members. Diane serves on the board of the Statue of Liberty–Ellis Island Foundation, which led the effort to raise $100 million for the foundation and in partnership with the National Park Service, built the new $70 million Statue of Liberty Museum. She also serves on the board of Vital Voices, an organisation supporting female leaders and entrepreneurs around the world. As the child of two refugees, the International Rescue Committee’s mission to help people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their future is also close to Diane’s heart. With the DVF head offices in New York’s Meatpacking District, this philanthropist has been a vocal member of the community and actively involved in the campaign to save the High Line railway, a park built on a historic freight rail line and develop it into what it is today. Added to this, Diane also serves on the board of The Shed, a multi-arts center that commissions, produces and presents performing arts, visual arts and popular culture in New York City, which aims to create a place where the world’s leading creative minds make art that helps forge tomorrow’s world and to make this art accessible to people from all walks of life. As the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, this philanthropist also supports the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum mission, a living memorial to the Holocaust in Washington DC. It aims to educate citizens and leaders worldwide on how to confront hatred, prevent genocide and promote human dignity, but also to inspire action. Futhermore, Diane serves on the board of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, dedicated to the art and science of movies in Los Angeles, which offers access to the world of movies and moviemaking. As she continues to devote much of her time to her many philanthropic endeavors, there is no doubt Diane is one of the most glamorous philanthropists, iconic designers and businesswomen today.

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