philosophy, the wellbeing beauty brand, announces the launch of the hope & grace initiative, an unprecedented, unending commitment to support mental health.

Through the hope & grace initiative, philosophy will dedicate 1% of all sales across all products to effective community-based organizations working to empower women through the promotion, prevention and treatment of mental health. The program will launch in July 2014 on and will become integrated into all philosophy retail channels (online, in-store, and televised) in January 2015. Within five years, the hope & grace initiative is projected to donate more than $10 million toward the cause.

With more than 450 million people worldwide suffering from mild to serious mental health issues, it is undoubtedly an epidemic. Consider:
• One in four adults — approximately 61.5 million Americans − experiences mental illness in a given year.
• One in 17 Americans − about 13.6 million − live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.
• Depression: about 1 in 8 women can expect to develop clinical depression during their lifetime. Yet fewer than 50% of the women who experience clinical depression will ever seek care, largely due to stigma associated with the disease.
• Anxiety disorder: 22% of American women report feeling worried, nervous or anxious on a daily or weekly basis. Women are 60% more likely than men to get an anxiety disorder over their lifetime.
• A barrier to getting help: 41.3% of adults in the US never receive treatment for a serious mental illness due to stigma. More than 50% of women suffering from depression cite denial as a barrier to treatment.

The hope & grace initiative represents an unparalleled commitment by philosophy. With the initiative, philosophy becomes the first beauty company to place a concentrated focus on mental health and wellbeing — historically an unconventional cause within cause-related marketing and corporate social responsibility. In addition, philosophy becomes the first global skin care and fragrance brand to make a brand-wide commitment to dedicate at least 1% of all sales towards philanthropic efforts — with no product restrictions.

“More than any other issue, mental wellbeing is directly connected to the spirit of the philosophy brand,” said Jill Scalamandre, senior vice president, philosophy brand and Coty Prestige Skin Care. “Our products have always been ‘wrapped’ in insight and inspiration, so we can encourage beautiful days as well as beautiful skin. By dedicating a portion of the sale of every product at all times, we can be confident that the contribution we are making is significant and that we’ll be able to further empower her from the inside out.”

Changing the landscape of philanthropic efforts in the beauty industry, the hope & grace initiative created the Hope & Grace Fund as a project of the New Venture Fund, a 501c3 public charity dedicated to supporting innovative and effective public interest projects. With guidance from an advisory board made up of committed and notable leaders in the mental health arena, philosophy will annually give multiple grants on average of $25,000 through the Hope & Grace Fund to support hundreds of qualified organizations around the world.

In its first year, the fund plans to target organizations that work with women in the United States who are currently underserved by mental health services by providing grants to community-based mental health organizations. These unsung heroes of the mental health field include those organizations that are working to overcome barriers to and stigma around seeking treatment for mental health issues, providing access to mental health treatment, and fostering support networks for women with mental illness.

The first grant is designated to Bring Change 2 Mind, a national anti-stigma organization co-founded by actress Glenn Close with the mission to raise awareness and work to end the stigma and discrimination surrounding mental illness.

“It just doesn’t make sense that we don’t talk openly about mental illness because it affects so many of us,” said Close. “When my sister, who lives with bipolar disorder, had the courage to ask for help, it started the conversation in our family. Talking openly is the first step in ending stigma and discrimination and will lead to treatment and save lives. philosophy’s hope & grace initiative is an inspiring, ground-breaking example of ways to improve how society views mental illness.”

The words “hope” and “grace” have become synonymous with philosophy, and the Initiative was named after the brand’s two best-selling products, Hope in a Jar moisturizer and Amazing Grace fragrance, both of which launched with the brand in 1996. Both products have been praised for their formula originality and efficaciousness, as well as the inspiring “philosophies” that appear on each product’s packaging.

Beyond funding, philosophy seeks to empower its consumers, employees, retail and supply chain partners to join in the mental health and wellbeing movement by providing opportunities to raise global awareness of the issues, learn about and support effective organizations and provide resources to bring renewed hope to their own lives and to the lives of loved ones.

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