Lady Godiva

Legend has it that a woman once rode around town unclothed and on horseback in protest of unfair taxation imposed by her husband, the Lord of Coventry. To recognize and thank her for her sacrifice, the thankful townspeople stayed indoors to preserve her modesty.

Her name was Lady Godiva, and starting April 2012, Godiva Chocolatier is searching for her modern-day equivalents.

“We want the legend of Lady Godiva’s selfless courage to live on,” says Jim Goldman, president and ceo at Godiva.

In an effort to do just that, Godiva Chocolatier is introducing its Lady Godiva Program, a global campaign that aims to celebrate women who give back to and inspire their communities with their selflessness, generosity, and leadership.

Every season, Godiva fans will have the opportunity to nominate a woman who they think exemplifies Lady Godiva’s character as a “Local Lady Godiva.” The chocolate company will allow the public to select three of these women through online voting, and each finalist will receive $1,000 as well as a year's worth of Godiva chocolate. At the end of the year, Godiva will select one of the three finalists and award $10,000 to a national charity she is passionately committed to.

"We've been hearing from both our customers and employees that supporting their local communities is one of their top priorities,” says Goldman. “As a company committed to giving, we felt it was important to do our part and create a platform to support them.”

The Lady Godiva Program also will expand internationally through localized programming and participation in global regions.

Every two years, the chocolatier also will select a National Lady Godiva Honoree to be rewarded with a partnership with the company. Godiva will honor these women and support their causes through exclusive products and other means of support.

Godiva recognizes their first Lady Godiva Honoree, Lauren Bush Lauren, co-founder of FEED Projects, this April. Lauren and the FEED team have provided more than 60 million school meals to children living in 62 countries throughout the world through the United Nation’s World Food Programme, which reaches an average of 22 million school children a day.

"FEED is excited to partner with Godiva on the Lady Godiva Program and I am honored to be chosen as the first Lady Godiva Honoree," said Lauren Bush Lauren. "Partnering with a strong brand such as Godiva, FEED will be able to reach many children to give them the nutrition they need to learn and to grow.”

As part of the collaboration, the chocolate company will sell custom FEED products, starting with a “FEED 10” tote bag, which will provide 10 school meals to children in African cocoa-sourcing countries. The bags are created by Liberian women, so the companies’ partnership provides jobs as well as meals.

Fans can nominate and vote for their Local Lady Godivas online.