Q: Tell us about the evolution of Born Free and your partnership with Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, among others, and how they came to fruition.
Jennifer McCrea: It started with a simple lunch with philanthropist and Born Free Founder/Chairman John Megrue, Anna Wintour and Diane Von Furstenberg. They agreed that the clear goal and momentum behind eradicating mother-to-child transmission of HIV by December 2015, combined with the vision, creativity and reach of the fashion industry, was one that the general public could get behind and embrace. We quickly joined forces with the incredible creative agency Laird and Partners and were off and running.
Q: How did the partnership with the designers, including Ivanka, evolve?
Jennifer: John Megrue, Diane Von Furstenberg and Anna Wintour very graciously extended invitations to many of the world's top designers who are also moms and asked them to participate. We are very fortunate that they all said "yes!"
Q: What about Born Free attracted your attention?
Jennifer: Born Free is a private sector-led initiative with the sole objective of ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV by December 31, 2015. The world has experienced more than a 50% decline in new infections in children since 2003, yet more than 700 children are born every day with HIV. The solution is just one pill once a day.
We started this campaign to bring awareness to the American public that this is an achievable and important goal. It would be one of the greatest gifts we could give to our future, and who better to partner with than the fashion industry leaders who have been supporting AIDS work since the very beginning of the epidemic.
Ivanka Trump: As a mother of two I felt very strongly about the mission of Born Free: no mom should have to worry about whether or not her baby will be born with HIV. Just $100 pays for a year’s worth of treatment for a mom and can help prevent HIV infection in her child. Achieving elimination will be one of the great accomplishments in global health history.
Q: Please speak to the design process from the initial approach by Born Free to seeing it on ShopBop.
Ivanka: Each designer was given the same design pattern and task to create a piece for mother and daughter. Arabella loves to swim and it sparked the idea for my designs, a tunic and children’s top with matching bloomers, which always remind me of our family trips to the beach and teaching Arabella to swim. All mothers should have the opportunity to create these memories free of medical burdens and fear of transmission.
Jennifer: We were grateful that the incredibly talented Wangechi Mutu agreed to design the original pieces of art that were used throughout the collection. It’s been awe-inspiring to see how each designer – all of whom are moms – interpreted her designs for women and kids. Each piece is unique and beautiful, and all of us at Born Free are very proud to be associated with this campaign and the remarkable talent and passion of our partners.
Q: What are the fundraising goals, and how are they set? What is the cost of ending mother-to-child HIV transmission?
Jennifer: Just one pill once a day can prevent transmission in 98% of women. It costs roughly $100 a year per woman. The momentum is clear and we're thrilled, as a global community, to be on target to meet our goal of an AIDS free generation by the end of 2015.
Q: You are often at events with many of the other women who are a part of this project, Anna Wintour, Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney, for example, at the MET Gala last week. Tell us how it feels to be united with these women for this incredible cause.
Ivanka: I feel honored to be included in such talented company and have enormous respect for the entire group of designers, both professionally as well as in a philanthropic capacity.
Jennifer: It’s been remarkable to partner with the unique voice, creativity, and reach of the fashion community. It really inspires urgency, energy and accountability toward our goal of eliminating mother-to-child transmission for an AIDS-free generation by December 31, 2015.
Q: How has becoming a mother of two young children changed your perspective on issues that affect mothers globally? What has been your greatest challenge and lesson learned during this project?
Ivanka: This is an extremely important issue regardless, but of course it carries more weight being a mother of two. It’s challenging to know there are so many mothers and families facing this unbelievable hardship and it has been a great reminder that no matter how big or small the contribution, you can make a difference.
Q: What do you find the most rewarding aspect of working in philanthropy on a global level?
Ivanka: Knowing that mother-to-child transmission has been virtually eliminated in places like the US, Europe and Western countries is incredibly motivating and hopefully our small contribution will help to raise enough awareness and financial aid to bring the same change to sub-Saharan Africa where more than 700 children are born with HIV every day. It has been so fulfilling to participate in this campaign and make even the slightest impact on the status of a major issue that affects mothers and their children around the world.
Jennifer: There is an ever-increasing and necessary global trend toward collaboration to solve some of the world’s most important challenges, including ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV. We work with an enormous group of global partners, without whom this goal simply could not be achieved. While I couldn’t possibly list them all here, our partners range from African Presidents and Health Ministers; private sector leaders, companies, and individuals, like Chevron, Johnson and Johnson, Mylan, the MAC AIDS Fund, the Elton John AIDS Fund, and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation; the amazing NGOs and implementing partners, like the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and Mothers2Mothers; our UN Partners and multilateral affiliates including the Millennium Development Goals Health Alliance and UNAIDS; The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria; UNICEF and the WHO; and of course the US Government, particularly through the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
Q: As two women studying philanthropy in New York City, we believe that when women collaborate for a cause, there’s no stopping what we can achieve. What advice do you have for young women working to address the major challenges facing our world today?
Jennifer: Just get started. We get so used to the politics of disappointment that it often inhibits our courage to act. When we understand that there’s a different dynamic in the politics of possibility, it is much more rewarding, but also more challenging because we have to take responsibility. In that context, it can’t be a solo/virtuoso kind of thing. It must be a true collaboration where we are purposefully engaging with others to achieve a common purpose.
Ivanka: I believe that to be true of most endeavors. When smart, creative, dedicated parties converge with a willingness to make a difference and collaborate with a common goal, the possibilities are limitless.
Jennifer McCrea is the co-founder and CEO of Born Free, an initiative of the MDG Health Alliance that brings private sector resources and acumen to the goal of eradicating mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015. She is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Hauser Institute for Civil Society at Harvard University.
For the past 25 years, Jennifer has partnered with philanthropists, board members and nonprofit leaders to think more creatively and collaboratively about ways in which to align strategic direction and resources to address some of the most profound needs on the planet: improving health, caring for children, relieving global poverty, educating the leaders of tomorrow and supporting the transformation of people and organizations to enable the emergence of a just, peaceful, compassionate and sustainable world.
She has worked with many of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations, including Acumen Fund, Donorschoose.org, Grameen America, Council on Foreign Relations, Teach for America, Pencils of Promise, Witness, Mercy Corps, Comic Relief, X Prize Foundation, VH1 Save the Music Foundation, Creative Commons, VisionSpring, Robin Hood Foundation, and many others.
Jennifer is a Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, serves as board member of Just Capital and the Quincy Jones MusiQ consortium, and as an advisory board member of the MIT Media Lab and the Blue School.
Jennifer’s book, The Generosity Network, written with philanthropist Jeffrey C. Walker was published by Crown Publishing at Random House in September 2013.
Ivanka Trump is the Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions for the Trump Organization, Founder and CEO of her namesake lifestyle brand, and an entrepreneur seeking innovative opportunities within the real estate, hospitality and fashion industries.
Since joining the Trump Organization in 2005, Ms. Trump has been charged with the domestic and global expansion of the company’s real estate interests and along with her father and brothers, directs all areas of the company’s real estate and hotel management platforms. In 2007 Ms. Trump founded the Trump Hotel Collection with her brothers. Today, the company is regarded as one of the fastest growing and leading hotel management companies in the industry. Presently the Trump Hotel Collection portfolio includes highly acclaimed properties in New York; both on Central Park and in SoHo, Chicago, Las Vegas, Waikiki Beach, Panama, Toronto, Miami, and coming soon Washington, D.C., Vancouver, and Rio.
Ivanka Trump is the founder and CEO of her namesake lifestyle brand with collections spanning fine jewelry, footwear, handbags, apparel, sunglasses, fragrance, outwear, hats, gloves, belts, scarves, children’s footwear, and home décor. Ms. Trump’s apparel and accessories lines are distributed on a large scale through retail partners including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Lord & Taylor, among others.
Ivanka Trump is often recognized as one of the fastest growing brands in the fashion industry.
Ms. Trump is currently one of the stars of NBC’s wildly successful “Celebrity Apprentice” with her father Donald J. Trump, and brothers Donald, Jr. & Eric.
In October 2009, Touchstone Hardcover, a division of Simon & Schuster, published Ms. Trump’s first book, a New York Times and Wall Street Journal Best Seller, THE TRUMP CARD: Playing to Win in Work and Life. Ms. Trump graduated Cum Laude from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania and received a bachelor's degree in science in economics.
For further information regarding the Born Free campaign and how you can get involved, please visit:
President of Amazon Fashion Cathy Beaudoin, Diane von Furstenberg, US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, John Megrue and Anna Wintour at the Press Announcement event for the Born Free campaign (Photo: Business Wire)