The Lady GODIVA Initiative has recognized five non-government organizations (NGOs) and nonprofits as its first class of award winners for their contributions to female empowerment.

GODIVA is giving these individual awards to organizations in five of its global markets – U.S., Canada, UK, Belgium and China. The 2021 recipients include Hot Bread Kitchen (U.S.), Up With Women (Canada), #SheDIDIT (Belgium), China Women's Development Foundation (China), and AVA: Against Violence and Abuse (UK).

Whether supporting women through transformative careers in food, building a sustainable pathway out of poverty, or helping to eliminate gender-based violence and abuse, these organizations are being recognized and rewarded by GODIVA for their work to both empower women and positively impact their local communities. Their efforts are in keeping with GODIVA's mission of crafting a better tomorrow.

"GODIVA's commitment to supporting both local and global communities, and fostering a culture that champions diversity, equity, and inclusion, is at the heart of our brand," said Nurtac Ziyal Afridi, GODIVA's CEO. "We are honored to support these inspirational organizations that are taking important steps to empower women around the world. Our employees selected these recipients based on the noble efforts each organization has taken to improve the lives of women in their communities. They deserve to be recognized and acclaimed for their valuable contributions to society."

These grants also serve to honor the legacy of GODIVA's namesake, Lady Godiva. In her famous equestrian mission, Lady Godiva led the way to empower the people of her community and paved a path that GODIVA continues to walk today. GODIVA endeavors to support these NGOs and nonprofits, not just through monetary giving, but by continuing to provide global visibility and engagement from the entire GODIVA community, helping these organizations uphold their missions to champion women around the world.

United States – Hot Bread Kitchen 

For more than a decade, Hot Bread Kitchen has changed the lives of hundreds of women through the transformative power of careers in food. Through its support of women, immigrants, and people of color in the food industry, it provides stable employment and opportunities for growth that empower women to succeed and thrive in the workforce.

"We're thrilled to have been selected as a grant winner of The Lady Godiva Initiative," said Shaolee Sen, Board Member, Hot Bread Kitchen. "Given our focus on the food industry, GODIVA is a brand that all of us here have loved and admired. It makes it that much sweeter to know that this brand will help raise awareness of our organization and mission. The grant will be put to great use in reaching more people in need during a time when so many are struggling."

Belgium – #SheDIDIT

Since 2018, #SheDIDIT has been a leading platform for entrepreneurial women with diverse roots. The organization seeks to spotlight the many female entrepreneurs with a migration background in Belgium and redefine the image of "the entrepreneur" through inspirational storytelling. The organization serves women who were born and raised in Belgium as well as those who have recently been welcomed to the country who are aspiring entrepreneurs, young potentials, and emerging talents.

"As the No. 1 organization that highlights, empowers, and coaches ambitious girls and entrepreneurial women with diverse cultural backgrounds in Belgium, we are deeply honored to be recognized by GODIVA for our meaningful work," said #SheDIDIT CEO Lien Warmenbol. "We do this through sharing stories, network events, workshops and providing coaching for starting businesses. Supporting #SheDIDIT means investing into the future of these entrepreneurial women!"

Canada – Up With Women 

Up With Women is a national Canadian charity with a mission to help recently homeless and at-risk women build a sustainable pathway out of poverty. The goal of its proven program is to positively impact more than 1,000 lives over the next three years. It serves women in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec, serving both Francophone and Anglophone clients.

"Up With Women is thrilled to be partnering with GODIVA for our national program delivery," said Lia Grimanis, CEO, Up With Women. "This support will help ensure we deliver quality services to over 300 women and gender minorities across the country, helping them to quickly and sustainably exit poverty.”

China – China Women's Development Foundation (CWDF) 

China Women's Development Foundation (CWDF) is a national public foundation that was established by the All-China Women's Federation in December 1988. It raises funds within China and other countries and regions to safeguard women's rights and interests, improve a woman's quality of life, and promote the development of female-led causes in China, to help build a more harmonious society.

"GODIVA has always had a strong reputation in championing women's causes around the world, so we are extremely honored to receive this award from The Lady GODIVA Initiative," said Zhang Lei, director of international cooperation office, CWDF. "We look forward to a long-partnership with our new friends at GODIVA and plan to continue our efforts in research, development and discovering new opportunities that will help elevate women in our local communities."

UK – Against Violence and Abuse (AVA) 

Against Violence and Abuse (AVA) is a leading UK charity committed to ending gender-based violence and abuse. It strives to improve services for survivors through their learning, resources, consultancy and to end violence against women and girls through policy, research, and prevention.

"We are delighted and truly grateful to the Lady GODIVA Initiative for the generous donation that will have a big impact on our work," said Donna Covey, CEO, AVA. "It allows us to continue building on our innovative training and consultancy offer and challenge societal attitudes to build a better future for women, young people and children, where gender-based violence is not tolerated."