NEW YORK, June 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The Tommy Hilfiger Group, which is wholly owned by Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, today formally launched a five-year campaign through the Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation to support Millennium Promise, the leading international non-profit organization solely committed to supporting the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) to halve extreme poverty by 2015. In his role as a MDG Global Leader, Mr. Tommy Hilfiger will engage and encourage corporate leaders and consumers to join him in the movement to end extreme poverty.
The announcement today heralds the Corporate Foundation's single largest international investment to-date in its outreach strategy. Significantly, the campaign is a five-year plan to build sustainable communities in sub-Saharan Africa and will raise awareness and funds for the Millennium Villages project, a joint initiative of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Millennium Promise, and the UN Development Program. Mr. Tommy Hilfiger was joined at the announcement by Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, President and Co-founder of Millennium Promise and Director of the Earth Institute, and Ludo Onnink, Chief Operating Officer for the Tommy Hilfiger Group.
Days earlier, Tommy Hilfiger and Ludo Onnink had visited the Millennium Village cluster in Ruhiira, a remote community comprising approximately 55,000 people in rural Uganda.
"No-one could fail to be deeply moved at the many serious challenges that villagers face every day in Ruhiira, but at the same time I have been incredibly inspired by the community spirit and the desire to make long term changes that will provide for generations to come. Our ambition is to develop a hands-on campaign over this period of investment that is truly sustainable - five years for a lifetime," said Tommy Hilfiger. "The results that I have already witnessed first-hand in the Millennium Village in Ruhiira have convinced me that launching this campaign today is the single best way we can use the power of our brand and our people to support efforts to end extreme poverty in our lifetime."
The Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation announced the $2 Million commitment to Millennium Promise in 2009. In 2006, when the Millennium Village project was first introduced to Ruhiira, nearly 90% of households survived on subsistence agriculture, mainly from the production of bananas, with 60% of households earning less than a dollar a day. The integrated life-saving interventions introduced that year in Ruhiira have already created a sound model for development. Agriculture production in Ruhiira, for example, has nearly doubled in a mere three years, and since 2006 malaria bednet usage has increased from 1% to 34%, while malaria prevalence among all ages has decreased from 17% to less than 1%. Over 60% of women are now being tested for HIV during pregnancy, an eight-fold increase, and over 45% of births are attended by a skilled healthcare professional, an approximate seven-fold increase. The percentage of the population with access to an improved water source has more than tripled, and access to basic sanitation has leapt from less than 5% to 70%. The Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation pledge will significantly further these integrated developments, focusing on the community of Bugongi within the Ruhiira cluster of villages.
"Tommy Hilfiger brings extraordinary creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and passion to the Millennium Villages project," said John McArthur, CEO of Millennium Promise. "He and the entire company are setting a remarkable example of both global corporate leadership and the type of entrepreneurial commitment needed to ensure that our generation is the last to know extreme poverty."
"We are very proud that this partnership is playing such a key role in advancing the holistic approach that Millennium Village communities are implementing across Africa," said Professor Sachs. "Tommy's announcement today affirms that corporate leaders everywhere can play an indispensable role in educating both their workforce and their consumers about how we can best achieve the Millennium Development Goals."
A defining characteristic of the Company's support for Millennium Promise will be the depth and breadth of employee engagement: Tommy Hilfiger employees will bring the same energy, enthusiasm, skills, and professional expertise that they apply to their roles within the organisation to the project, in an effort to end global poverty. Through this campaign, Tommy Hilfiger employees will be offered the opportunity to travel to Ruhiira to contribute to the cause and physically help make a difference. In 2011, a cause-marketing program will be launched to reach consumers, to aid in generating customer awareness and support for the program.
About The Tommy Hilfiger Group
With a premium lifestyle brand portfolio that includes Tommy Hilfiger and Hilfiger Denim, the Tommy Hilfiger Group is one of the world's most recognized designer apparel groups. Its focus is designing and marketing high-quality menswear, womenswear, children's apparel and denim collections. Through select licensees, the Group offers complementary lifestyle products such as accessories, fragrances and home furnishings. Merchandise under the Tommy Hilfiger brands is available to consumers worldwide through an extensive network of Tommy Hilfiger retail stores, leading specialty and department stores and other select retailers and retail channels. For additional information about the Tommy Hilfiger Group, please visit www.tommy.com.
About Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation
Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation, one of the world's largest apparel companies, owns and markets the iconic Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands worldwide. It is the world's largest shirt and neckwear company and markets a variety of goods under its own brands, Van Heusen, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, IZOD, ARROW, Bass and G.H. Bass & Co., and its licensed brands, including Geoffrey Beene, Kenneth Cole New York, Kenneth Cole Reaction, MICHAEL Michael Kors, Sean John, Chaps, Trump, JOE Joseph Abboud, DKNY and Timberland. Visit www.pvh.com.
About Millennium Promise
The mission of Millennium Promise is to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals – eight globally endorsed objectives addressing the multiple causes of extreme poverty – in Africa by 2015. To that end, Millennium Promise uses a holistic approach to work with impoverished communities, national and local governments and partner organizations to implement high-impact programs aimed at stopping the cycle of poverty. By engaging donor nations, corporations and the general public in this effort, our work is premised on the belief that, for the first time in history, our generation has the opportunity to end extreme poverty, hunger and disease disparities. For more information, visit www.millenniumpromise.org
For further information:
Abdel El Hamri
Director of European Communications
Tommy Hilfiger Europe B.V.
Tel: +31 (0) 20 589 5701
SVP of Communications
Tommy Hilfiger USA
212 548 1952
VP of International Marketing
Tommy Hilfiger USA
212 548 1359
Director of Advocacy and Outreach
SOURCE The Tommy Hilfiger Group