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Brittany Merrill Underwood, 2017 Champion of Human Rights Award Recipient

Mosaic Family Services announces Brittany Merrill Underwood, Founder and CEO of Akola, as the recipient of the 2017 Champion of Human Rights Award, which will be presented at the nonprofit’s 8th Annual Gala on Friday, October 6, 2017 from 7 p.m.– 12 a.m. at sixty five hundred on Cedar Springs.

 

The Champion of Human Rights Award is presented each year to individuals and/or groups who strive to ensure the protection of the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms to which all human beings are entitled. The award is presented to Ms. Underwood for her inspirational work empowering women in disadvantaged communities throughout the globe. Akola trains and employs women in poverty, including survivors of trafficking here in Dallas, so they can support themselves and meet the needs of their families.

“Brittany Underwood and Akola have transformed the lives of thousands of women and children around the world”, remarked Ashley Anderson Smith, event co-chair and Mosaic Family Services board member. “We are thrilled to honor her as a Champion of Human Rights. We hope the community will join us in ‘Raising the Stakes’ as we raise vital funds to support Mosaic Family Services and our mission of providing a safe haven for survivors of human rights abuses.”

 

Past award recipients include Councilmember Jennifer Staubach Gates, director and filmmaker Libby Spears; fashion designer Abi Ferrin; Judge Roberto Canas, Jr., presiding judge of Dallas County Criminal Court No. 10; Jan Langbein, executive director of Genesis Women’s Shelter, and Paige Flink, executive director of The Family Place; Ambassador-At-Large Luis C. deBaca; and local philanthropist and women’s and human rights activist, Lauren Embrey.

 

Chaired by Ashley Anderson Smith and Nusia Sookarow, with honorary chair Susan Posnick, the event will be a “night in Monte Carlo” themed gala, including cocktails, dinner by cn catering, silent auction, raffle, casino, and music by DJ LC.   America’s sassiest lifestyle guru Steve Kemble will serve as this year’s emcee.

 

Tickets for the Mosaic Family Services 8th Annual Champion of Human Rights Gala: Raising the Stakes are $150 each; sponsorships begin at $500. For tickets, sponsorships or more information, visit mosaicservices.org/events.

 

About Brittany Merrill Underwood

Brittany Merrill Underwood has made an extraordinary impact through her dedication over the past 13 years to transform the lives of impoverished women and families through the Akola Project. Akola operates a thriving social business designed to empower women in disadvantaged communities through training, employment and holistic care. Akola’s products are sold throughout the country, and their elevated jewelry line is the first Full-Impact Brand to be sold in the luxury space through their national launch in Neiman Marcus.

 

As a nonprofit, Akola reinvests 100% of their profits to support work opportunities, training, social programs and the construction of training centers and water wells in impoverished communities throughout the globe. Akola makes a social impact throughout its entire supply chain and offers women opportunities through the creation of handcrafted raw materials, assembly of the product, and in the distribution center that acts as a second chance job program. The hope of Akola is to encourage new thinking about international development and to inspire the next generation of social innovators to deliver the highest level of impact in disadvantaged communities.

 

In 2017, Brittany was named among the World’s Top 10 CEOs in Inc Magazine. In 2014, she was asked to join the mentoring class for the Laura Bush Women’s Initiative and joined the faculty of Southern Methodist University as an adjunct professor in 2015 where she teaches a new course on Social Innovation. As CEO of the Akola Project, Brittany continues to devote her life to creating a brand that empowers women through economic and holistic development.

 

 

About Mosaic Family Services

Mosaic Family Services is a safe haven for survivors of human rights abuses, including domestic violence and human trafficking. The multicultural staff at Mosaic supports, educates, and empowers more than 25,000 people each year through direct services and outreach. Refugees and survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence receive shelter, legal representation, counseling, access to health care, and support services in more than 30 languages. Every year, Mosaic House provides emergency housing to hundreds of women and children fleeing domestic violence and human trafficking.  They are the only shelter in North Texas providing comprehensive services to multicultural survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking.  For more information, visit www.mosaicservices.org.

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