BusinessWeek Names Estee Lauder’s Breast Cancer Campaign to Philanthropy Hall of Fame


Among those distinguished entrepreneurs whom BusinessWeek has named to its Philanthropy Hall of Fame, there are two that we can lovingly call our own.

Estee Lauder and Paul Newman are distinguished both for the depth of their generosity and the creativity that they bring to their giving.

This entry will focus on Estee Lauder and Evelyn Lauder’s Pink Ribbon Campaign for Breast Cancer. Please note that Paul Newman’s philanthropy work has raised over $220 million for sick children and breast cancer research.

The Creators


BusinessWeek actually named the Pink Ribbon Campaign itself and not its founders, but here I will profile Estee Lauder (nee Josephine Esther Menzer) and her daughter, Evelyn Lauder, as the creators and greatest proponents of the campaign.

An idea is nothing without a force behind it and the Lauder women should be honored accordingly.

Estee Lauder and Evelyn Lauder: Breast Cancer Awareness

Estee Lauder

Estee Lauder’s fame sources from her kitchen chemistry as mixing creams in her home is where she first learned the trade.

We know Estee Lauder (z”l, 2004) as the founder and CEO of Estee Lauder Cosmetics, but she was also a force for women’s health and welfare worldwide.

As much as the Lauder name is synonymous with cosmetic giants, the Lauder family’s philanthropy is just as large.

EvelynLauderIn 1992, Evelyn Lauder, Estee Lauder’s daughter in law and Senior Corporate Vice President of Estee Lauder Companies, Inc. created the Pink Ribbon Campaign to support breast cancer awareness. All company cosmetic and perfume counters were branded with the now ubiquitous pink ribbon and educational brochures were distributed with each purchase.

Fifteen years since the campaign’s launch, over 60 million pink ribbons have been distributed in 50 countries and the campaign has been called, “The most significant and influential campaign ever instituted to educate women worldwide about the need for early detection and treatment of breast cancer.”


The year 2000 marked the start of the Estee Lauder Companies’ Global Landmarks Illumination Initiative in which historical landmarks were lit in pink during the month of October to spotlight breast cancer worldwide. Participating landmarks have included the Empire State Building, Niagra Falls, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the Tokyo Tower.

Highest Honors and Achievements

To list every honor that the Lauder women have earned would be to fill a chapter of a book. Here are their most distinguished honors.

Estee Lauder


  • Estee Lauder Companies employs 20,000 people under 31 brands worldwide generating revenues of $5 billion annually
  • Named as one of the “Outstanding Women in Business” in the United States (1967)
  • Named one of Time Magazine’s “Twenty Most Influential Business Geniuses of the Century” (1998). She was the only woman on the list
  • Received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest distinction an American civilian can receive, for her work on behalf of women worldwide (2004)

A note on Estee Lauder’s social entrepreneurship, in 1976 hers became the first cosmetics company in the world to introduce skin care products for men.

Read this profile for a strong summation of Estee Lauder’s achievements.

Evelyn Lauder


  • Established the Breast Cancer Research Foundation raising $144 million. In 2006 alone, the foundation funded 115 breast cancer research projects worldwide, disbursing $24.3 million
  • Spearheaded a campaign at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center to create the first ever breast cancer diagnosis and research center, successfully raising $18 million. The Evelyn Lauder Breast Cancer Center, which “serves as a worldwide model for offering coordinated supportive services under one roof for one disease, a concept which has been replicated in other institutions and for other diseases”
  • Named by New York Magazine as one of New York’s most influential people (2006)

To learn more about Evelyn Lauder visit her website or read her profile in the New York Times.

See the Estee Lauder Companies’ website on corporate responsibility.

Estee Lauder Brands

To understand the reach of the Estee Lauder Companies, it is important to know their brands, which include: Aramis, Bobbi Brown, Burt’s Bees, Clinique, Cover Girl, Donna Karan, Kate Spade, Lancome, L’Oreal, MAC, Maybelline, Michael Kors, Origins, Prescriptives, Revlon, Sean Jean, and Tommy Hilfiger.

The Lauder Family’s Philanthropic Foundations

Among the Lauder family’s philanthropic foundations are:

Ronald and Leonard Lauder are the sons of Estee and Joseph Lauder (nee Lauter). Also keep an eye on granddaughters Aerin and Jane Lauder (daughters of Ronald Lauder and Carole Jo Knopf), who have been named on various lists of billionaire children to watch.

Israel Boycott Campaign


Note that the Estee Lauder Companies have been boycotted for Ronald Lauder’s strong support of Israel through his foundation and as the head of the World Jewish Congress.

The reason I link to the boycott is because I personally find the campaign a good source of information on which companies support Israel and make an effort to support them accordingly. 🙂


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18 Responses to BusinessWeek Names Estee Lauder’s Breast Cancer Campaign to Philanthropy Hall of Fame

  1. Evangeline says:

    It amazes me that she took her company from her kitchen to international success. I don’t think there’s any woman out there who doesn’t know who or what Estee Lauder is. I also love the fact that there were some of the forerunners of breast cancer awareness. It inspired me, and now I find myself working with Pantene Beautiful Lengths and Million Inch Chain as a community ambassador, together we are trying to gather 1 million inches of hair to give to women that are affected by cancer and dealing with chemo related hair loss.

    For women to have to go through this, it can be a very traumatizing experience. It is our job to give these women the confidence they need by giving them back the hair that they lost. This really is a huge effort, and we need every inch of hair we can get. I am hoping that many of you out there would be willing to donate, or pledge to donate your hair to this amazing cause. All you have to do is visit for more information. Spread the word!

  2. thenewjew says:

    Dear Evangeline (love that name),

    Thank you for commenting, especially about an organization as wonderful as Beautiful Lengths, whose mission I completely support and am continually impressed by.

    To my readers: to learn more about this, you can also visit The Celebrity Role Model blog and learn about Hilary Swank’s donating of her hair to the organization:

    Evangeline, if you would like to write up a short piece about your role as a community ambassador and what it is like coming in contact with people through Beautiful Lengths and making a difference in that way, I would be happy to publish it. Just drop me a line at mnorton [at]

    Keep up the good work,


  3. […] BusinessWeek Names Estee Lauder’s Breast Cancer Campaign to Philanthropy Hall of Fame […]

  4. I suspect there’s a problem with your site, or my browser, the text is HUGE!!, but it was a good read anyways.

    • Maya Norton says:

      Hi Oren,

      Thanks for the heads up, but I’m pretty sure it’s not my blog. Sometimes people write me that the font is too big, other times people say it is too small, I tend to think it is the commenters’ computer, but do appreciate your taking the time to let me know.

      ~ Maya

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