We've been involved with organizations that empower women for years, and it's a cause that's very important to us, both personally and professionally. The Ultraviolet Edge gives us the opportunity to take that support to another level, and it's something we take very seriously. Our co-founder Wende personally selects every organization, and we carefully vet each one to make sure that it embodies the mission of The Ultraviolet Edge.

Women’s Global Empowerment Fund supports women through economic, social and political programs; creating opportunities while addressing inequality, strengthening families and building communities. By providing women in post-conflict Uganda with microloans and a broad range of leadership development and education programs, WGEF helps them to gain economic stability and independence while rebuilding their lives and communities.

Women’s Global Empowerment Fund was created in 2007 in response to the 25-year brutal insurgency in northern Uganda. In this post-conflict region, women and children have experienced unimaginable violence and chronic poverty. The insurgency left the region unstable, economically stagnant, and vulnerable to security issues.

Northern Uganda is now in full recovery, and there’s hope for lasting peace and reconciliation in the region; what’s needed now is a comprehensive support package, including access to clean water and sanitation, health services and education. This is where Women's Global Empowerment Fund is making an impact on the community and providing an opportunity for sustainable human development. The women in the WGEF program are going to school, feeding their children and creating viable businesses.

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After being displaced by the war, and living for years in a camp with her family, Grace became a WGEF client in 2009 and was one of the first peer counselors in the program. Now a student and an elected official in the Gulu District, she's currently running for regional office and intends to run for a seat in the Ugandan Parliament in the next election.

Photo Credit: Jen Davidson

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So far, our partnership with Women's Global Empowerment Fund has:

  • Provided microloans and business training for more than 1,500 women in Uganda.
  • Enabled more than 600 women to participate in literacy programs.
  • Supported leadership development initiatives that ensure women have “a seat at the policy table.”
  • Launched and fully funded the Healthy Periods Initiative, which addresses issues of menstrual health.
  • Opened Gulu Women's Resource Centre, the only resource of its kind in the entire region.
Karen Sugar, Founder and Executive Director of WGEF

Karen Sugar, Founder and Executive Director of WGEF


Karen Sugar has spent the majority of her adult life working for social justice. She helps women and families living in poverty, creating solutions that improve security while empowering women.

In 2007, Ms. Sugar created Women's Global Empowerment Fund based on her belief that bundling microcredit with social programs not only alleviates poverty, but also can be the basis for revolutionary change. She works in the Gulu office of WGEF several weeks a year, facilitating trainings, visiting businesses and listening.

“The motivation behind WGEF is based on the belief that women are natural leaders and, when given opportunities, they are able to determine their own futures, play an important role in their communities and countries, and rise above poverty with dignity. Four years ago, these women had no idea they even had a future. Women who faced unimaginable violence and poverty are now running businesses and sending their kids to school and running for political office. That's a testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.”
– Karen Sugar

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The Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE) seeks to empower and motivate young girls through education to become agents of change and break the cycle of destructive cultural practices in Kenya, such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and early forced marriage. KCE believes in impacting one girl at a time, one community at a time, until all girls in Africa have the opportunities they need to learn and thrive as individuals and achieve their full potential.

Through programs focused on girls' education, KCE is fighting to end FGM, child marriages and other devastating practices that rob girls of the chance to lead their lives on their own terms. The organization works tirelessly to empower vulnerable and marginalized girls to become their own advocates and to pursue their own dreams for the future.

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Linet Moposhi's success story

Linet Moposhi graduated from KCE and later transitioned to the Network for Excellence program. A role model for what can happen when girls are given an opportunity to dream, this 16-year-old hopes to one day be a cardiologist at Harvard University.

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Without KCE, these girls would be at risk of FGM and early forced marriages.

Our donation also supported the Health and Leadership training program, which improves knowledge about sexual health and child rights.

Kakenya Ntaiya, PhD, Founder and President of KCE

Kakenya Ntaiya, PhD
Founder and President of KCE


Dr. Kakenya Ntaiya dreamed that every girl in her village could go to school. Her own life was supposed to follow the traditional path. Engaged at age 5, she was to undergo female genital mutilation by the time she was a teenager, an event that would mark the end of her education and the beginning of her preparation for marriage. Kakenya had a different plan. First, she negotiated with her father to be cut only if she could also finish high school. Then, she negotiated with the village elders to do what no girl had ever done: leave her Maasai village to go to college in the United States. She promised to use her education to benefit the community. The entire village collected money to pay for her journey. Kakenya received a scholarship to Randolph-Macon Woman's College (now Randolph College) in Virginia. She went on to the University of Pittsburgh, where she received her PhD in Education in 2011.

Kakenya is now fulfilling her promise to her community. She is the founder and president of the Kakenya Center for Excellence (KCE), an international nonprofit organization leveraging education to change the lives of vulnerable, underserved girls in rural communities. In May 2009, KCE opened its first all-girls' primary boarding school, serving 200 students each year. Today, KCE is transforming communities, changing social norms, and empowering girls with its three key programs: the all-girls' boarding school, Health and Leadership Trainings, and the Network for Excellence, which supports boarding school alumnae as they continue their education in high school and beyond.

In 2013, Kakenya was honored with the Global Women's Rights Award from the Feminist Majority Foundation, was recognized by Women in the World as a "Woman of Impact," and named a Top Ten CNN Hero. Kakenya was honored with a Vital Voices Global Leadership award in 2008 and as a National Geographic Emerging Explorer in 2010. She was named one of Newsweek's "150 Women Who Shake the World" in 2011 and counted among the Women Deliver 100: The Most Inspiring People Delivering for Girls and Women. She was proud to be honored by her alma maters with the Sheth International Award at the University of Pittsburgh in 2013 and the Alumnae Achievement Award at Randolph College in 2015. Kakenya has been the subject of a Washington Post series, a BBC documentary and many magazine articles. Her story and vision is captured in her inspiring TED Talk, originally aired in 2013, which has more than 2.3 million views.

“I believe that education will empower young girls to become agents of change in my country and beyond.”
– Kakenya Ntaiya

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Her Justice engages the talent and resources of New York City’s law firms and corporations, bringing together committed lawyers and determined women to secure life-changing results. Since 1993, Her Justice has provided free legal services to low-income women in New York City, especially the most underserved members of the community.

  • 51% are Latina, 26% are African-American and 15% are Asian or from another minority group.
  • 83% are survivors of domestic violence.
  • 70% are mothers.
  • 70% are foreign-born, and 1 out of every 4 women cannot access the legal system without an interpreter.

Legal services agencies typically turn away 8 out of 9 people who seek their help because there are not enough lawyers to meet the overwhelming need. Nearly 90% of women in civil court do not have a lawyer. This shortage of legal services takes its hardest toll on women, especially single mothers.

Her Justice recruits, trains and mentors volunteer attorneys from law firms to stand side by side with women who cannot afford to pay for a lawyer, giving them a real chance to obtain legal protections that transform their lives. The women Her Justice serves attain freedom from abuse and the legal remedies they need to assert their independence from their abusers. In 2016, Her Justice clients received, on average, an 85% increase in their income after receiving legal representation, enabling them to go on to live safe and self-sufficient lives.

Teresa's success story

TERESA’S JUSTICE: Her Justice obtains a nearly 2,000% increase in child support for an abused, unemployed mother and her two sons, giving them a chance to survive and thrive.

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Our donation to Her Justice provided valuable legal information, advice and assistance to 750 women in New York City, empowering them to obtain:

  • Protection against abusive husbands and fathers
  • Custody of their children
  • Child support and other financial awards
  • Health insurance for their children
  • The right to live and work legally in the U.S.
inforgraphic for Her Justice
Amy Barasch, Executive Director of Her Justice

Amy Barasch, Executive Director of Her Justice
Photo credit: Shawn Morgan Photography


Throughout her distinguished career, Amy Barasch has been a champion for women suffering from poverty and abuse. As Executive Director of the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, she advised the Governor and executive agencies on policy issues relating to domestic violence. As a member of the New York City Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence, she headed the City’s first Family Justice Center. Amy has also evaluated domestic violence programs for governments and nonprofits nationwide and represented hundreds of abuse victims in Family Court.

“Her Justice fills a vital gap in legal services for poor women by enabling the private sector to use their power for good. Our volunteer attorneys level the playing field, helping our clients avoid destitution, get and stay safe, and remain united with their families. It’s a life-changing experience for everyone. And for many of our volunteers, it’s a reminder of why they went to law school!”
– Amy Barasch

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A client's journey to Laura's House

Our donation will provide funding for 500 Women to receive shelter from Laura's House.

The mission of Laura's House is to change the social beliefs, attitudes and behaviors that perpetuate domestic violence, while creating a safe space to empower individuals and families affected by abuse.

Since 1994, Laura's House has provided shelter and support services to more than 4,596 abused women and children, and 24-hour crisis intervention, counseling, life skills education and legal assistance to more than 51,740 people. Laura's House operates on the philosophy that domestic violence is a multidimensional social problem that is often cyclical in nature and that must be addressed through a range of programs and activities.

Laura’s House offers a comprehensive range of services for the entire family, including:

  • Emergency shelter and safety net (serving more than 300 women and children per year)
  • Counseling (serving more than 650 clients per year)
  • Violence prevention education to at-risk teens (serving more than 10,000 teens per year)
  • Legal services (serving more than 1,900 clients per year)
  • 24-hour crisis hotline (serving more than 2,500 callers annually)

One of the main goals of Laura’s House is to provide a refuge to women and children escaping life-threatening family situations. The organization operates under the belief that everyone should have the right to feel safe in their own home.

Laura’s House provides information and resources that help people who don’t know where to turn or how to end violence in their lives. These people are given a place to live, learn, trust and heal their physical and emotional wounds. Laura’s House offers counseling and training that helps clients become self-sufficient and empowers them to engage in healthy relationships. Families who wish to stay together are given the skills to reunite in a healthy way.

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Margaret Bayston, CEO/Executive Director of Laura's House

Margaret Bayston, CEO/Executive Director of Laura's House


Margaret Bayston has made it her life’s work to support victims of domestic violence. She began volunteering in the legal department at Laura’s House in 1997 and was hired full-time as a legal advocate the following year. In 1999, she was promoted to Operations Director, and in 2001, she became CEO/Executive Director.

In her years at the helm of Laura’s House, Margaret has grown the organization into the largest nonprofit dealing with domestic violence issues in Orange County. During this time, she oversaw the rebuild of a 50-bed emergency shelter and a transitional housing program, as well as the opening of two successful resale stores in Lake Forest and San Juan Capistrano that help fund the programs offered by Laura’s House.

Margaret credits her success to her talented team and the strong, trusting relationships she has built in the community. She believes that education is key to breaking the cycle of domestic violence. She wants to ensure that the Orange County community is aware of Laura’s House and the services and resources they can provide to anyone who needs their assistance, regardless of their ability to pay.

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Circular Board supports women in business around the world through mentorship, content, community and capital, and connects founders to the resources they need to fuel growth. To date, female founders from six continents and nearly every state in the U.S. have participated in the Circular Board collaborative accelerator for growth-oriented female entrepreneurs who lead—or aspire to build—businesses with multimillion-dollar revenues. Circular Board offers scholarships to high potential female student entrepreneurs and women entrepreneurs in developing countries to participate in the accelerator.

Circular Board also hosts Circular Summit, an annual conference for high-potential women entrepreneurs and investors. The #Circle is committed to creating a stronger ecosystem for women entrepreneurs to think bigger and succeed at higher heights.

A Medolac donor milk recipient

A Medolac donor milk recipient.

"Medolac provides donor breast milk to pre-term babies. Through our participation in Circular Board, I've connected with a network of entrepreneurs and investors that has challenged me to think bigger and helped to scale our mission to save lives."
— Adrianne Weir, Medolac Cofounder and EVP of Business Development


In 2016, Urban Decay made a commitment to help women entrepreneurs scale their businesses through the Circular Board's accelerator scholarship program and flagship event, Circular Summit.

  • Our support sponsored high-potential women entrepreneurs in the startup phase to attend the Circular Summit.
  • Through Circular Board and the Summit, we have mentored female founders in building purpose-driven businesses.
Carolyn Rodz, Founder and CEO of Circular Board

Carolyn Rodz, Founder and CEO of Circular Board


Circular Board was founded by three-time entrepreneur Carolyn Rodz. She has helped raise billions of dollars of capital for innovative organizations, created a luxury retail line that sold in more than 400 stores worldwide, and later launched an interactive marketing firm serving Fortune 500 enterprises and startups positioning themselves for industry leadership. Carolyn now serves as an advocate for women entrepreneurs, connecting them to sources of capital, strategic partners, and mentors to create businesses that scale.

“When we empower half of the global population to think bigger in terms of entrepreneurship, we have an incredible opportunity to solve global problems.”
– Carolyn Rodz

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Crisis is the national charity for homeless people in the UK. In response to the needs of homeless and vulnerable women, Crisis has been running women-only services in its Skylight centers across the country. Research shows that these women often prefer informal resources that offer a range of services in one place, including safe, women-only spaces staffed by caring and non-judgmental workers.

The most developed of these services is the Women’s Zone at Crisis Skylight London. There, a specialist on staff provides support for women coming to the center. The Women’s Zone also offers a range of activities in a safe environment, empowering women to turn their lives around. Crisis Skylight London welcomes around 90 women to the Women’s Zone each year.

Each year, Crisis helps thousands of homeless people to rebuild their lives through their groundbreaking housing, health, education and employment services. Crisis is determined to end homelessness and draws on research, partnerships and years of experience working directly with homeless people to deliver change and a vision to end homelessness for good.

Helen's success story

At the age of 51, Helen had a mental breakdown, lost her job and was evicted. After coming to Crisis and finding the support she needed, she is now excited about the future.

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Our donation supported the Women's Zone at Crisis Skylight London
Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis

Jon Sparkes, Chief Executive of Crisis


Jon Sparkes has been the Chief Executive of Crisis since September 2014. Prior to joining Crisis, Jon was the Chief Operating Officer of UNICEF UK, and before that the Chief Executive of Scope, the national disability charity in the UK.

"Every day, people who use our services tell us about the isolation, indignities and dangers they have faced as a result of losing their homes. Homelessness is an injustice. Over the last year, we have grown our services and campaigning in response to rising homelessness. We are more determined than ever in our resolve to end homelessness." — Jon Sparkes

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Since 1992, Equality Now has been using the law to help ensure that women and girls around the world can live their lives free from violence and discrimination. When human rights are denied, communities suffer; when women and girls are empowered and have equal rights and opportunities, everyone benefits. Combining grassroots activism with international, regional and national legal advocacy, the organization advocates for governments to enact and enforce laws and policies that uphold women's human rights.

With partners and supporters in nearly every country in the world, and staff in New York, London, Nairobi, Amman and Washington, D.C., Equality Now advocates to advance legal equality and to end female genital mutilation, sex trafficking and sexual violence—all with a special focus on championing justice for girls.

Equality Now is guided by four principles:

  • Gender Equality: Women and girls are fundamentally equal to men and boys.
  • Universality: Everyone, everywhere, has the right to live without violence or discrimination.
  • Partnership: Equality Now values strong reciprocal relationships with organizations and activists who also champion equality.
  • Speaking Up and Out: Where others see controversy, Equality Now sees opportunities for activism and change.

Since its inception, Equality Now has worked to ensure that individual cases become international concerns, and that progress made globally is enacted locally.

With Equality Now, REEP is working to give a voice to the voiceless.

"With Equality Now, REEP is working to give a voice to the voiceless—illiterate women who are too poor to break their chains of bondage. Women who have given up and surrendered to negative self-image and low self-esteem. Today, these women and girls are able to speak out and demand their integrity and rights."

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Our donation will support Equality Now's efforts to end FGM and sexual violence, and to change laws that discriminate against women.

  • Working to End FGM: Our donation is supporting activities in Kenya, Egypt, Liberia and the U.S. These will include trainings with prosecutors, advocacy efforts with local partners, and efforts to implement the agreements reached at the first-ever U.S. FGM/C Summit, which took place in December 2016 in Washington, D.C.
  • Fighting for Legal Equality: Equality Now is advocating for changes in nationality and citizenship laws in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the U.S. to ensure women have the same rights as men to acquire, change, keep and pass their nationality on to their children and spouses.
  • Putting a Stop to Sexual Violence: Equality Now is releasing a global report on how laws are failing to protect women and girls from sexual violence. The report calls on all governments to review and amend these laws in consultation with survivors and women’s rights organizations.
inforgraphic for Equality Now
Yasmeen Hassan, Global Executive Director, Equality Now

Yasmeen Hassan
Global Executive Director, Equality Now


For Yasmeen, the law makes a critical difference; it is a statement of your worth as a citizen and influences the direction your life will take. Growing up in Pakistan, her defining moment came at age 10 when her country's laws were "Islamized," effectively making women second-class citizens. Advocating for women's rights became a major part of Yasmeen's education and career, ultimately leading her to author the first study of domestic violence in Pakistan. It became the nation's submission to the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995.

Yasmeen and Equality Now believe that legal equality is the first step to gender equality. She became the Global Executive Director of Equality Now in 2011 after serving as Deputy Executive Director and Director of Programs for three years. Previously, she was with the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women. She also clerked on the D.C. Court of Appeals and practiced corporate law at Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York and California. In 1999, Yasmeen edited Equality Now's first report on discriminatory laws. She has served on the Council on Foreign Relations' Advisory Board on Child Marriage, provided expert guidance to the U.N. Trust to End Violence Against Women, and advocates for women's rights through appearances in numerous media outlets.

“Gender equality benefits everyone. To achieve it, first we must have gender-equal laws.”
– Yasmeen Hassan

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