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The Candie’s Foundation is a non-profit foundation whose mission is to prevent teenage pregnancy through educational campaigns. The foundation develops and runs communication campaigns to raise awareness about, and motivate teens to prevent, teen pregnancy. Fox News reports that the foundation "advocates for abstinence to prevent unwanted pregnancies."
In 2001, Neil Cole, head of the fashion brand Candie's and an executive at Iconix Brand Group, founded The Candie’s Foundation, for the purpose of educating teenagers as to the risks and consequences of teen pregnancy.
The Candie's Foundation implements national ad campaigns that encourage teenagers to wait until they are adults to have children. Actresses Jenny McCarthy and Hayden Panettiere, as well as teen mom Bristol Palin, have been "ambassadors" for the foundation. More than 20 celebrities have been featured in Candie's Foundation PSA campaigns, including Vanessa Hudgens, Usher, Macy Gray, Rihanna, Ciara, Amar'e Stoudemire, Ashanti Douglas, Lupe Fiasco, Jennifer Hudson, Michael Sorrentino, Kenneth Cole, Matt Garza, Hilary Duff, Ashley Tisdale, Ashlee Simpson, Fall out boy, Vanessa Minnillo, Natasha Bedingfield, Fergie, Elizabeth Berkley, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift, and Destiny's Child.
The Candie's Foundation is an operating foundation rather than a grant-making foundation. However, the foundation has received criticism for spending more money on spokespeople than on grants to teen pregnancy health and counseling clinics.
Since its inception in 2001, Candie’s Foundation ads have been seen by millions of teens across America. The message of the campaigns is for teens to consider the consequences that come with teen pregnancy. This entails thinking about your future; thinking about consequences; evaluating your relationship; delaying sex; using contraception; and asking “why now"? Some of the campaign messages include:
- I Never Thought I Would Be a Statistic
- Not Really the Way You Pictured Your First Crib
- Not What You Had in Mind for Your First Set of Wheels
- You Think Being in School Sucks?
- And you thought your parents were controlling?
- Be Sexy: It Doesn’t Mean You Have to Have Sex
- Be Smart: Don’t Give Up Your Education
- Be Smart: You Are Too Young to Start
Celebrities that have participated in the campaigns include Hayden Panettiere, Beyoncé, Ciara, Jenny McCarthy, Vanessa Minnillo, Ashley Tisdale, Hilary Duff, Ashlee Simpson, Usher, Rachel Bilson, Bristol Palin, Teddy Geiger, Diggy Simmons, Lea Michele and Vanessa Hudgens.
Event to Prevent
Each year The Candie’s Foundation hosts the Event to Prevent to raise awareness about teen pregnancy in the United States. The event brings together leaders in the media, entertainment, business, and political worlds. The event raises money to support teen pregnancy prevention activities, and honors individuals who have done exceptional work for the cause and helped advance the Foundation’s message.
Past honorees have included Senator Hillary Clinton, Katie Couric, Paula Zahn, Governor Thomas Kean, Jane Fonda, and Kim Catrall. Past performers have included Taylor Swift, Jennifer Hudson, Lionel Richie, James Taylor, Teddy Geiger, Jackson Browne, Jewel, Ashlee Simpson, and Destiny's Child.
The 2011 Event to Prevent celebrated the Candie's Foundations 10th Anniversary. They honored Ciara, Elizabeth Berkley, and the CEO of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Sarah Brown. They were honored for their work using their platforms to raise awareness about the consequences of teen pregnancy. The night was highlighted by performances from Bruno Mars and Aretha Franklin.
The organization has come under criticism. From the $1,242,476 donated by the public, $35,000 went to charities and a $262,500 paycheck was given to Bristol Palin for her role as an ambassador for their teen pregnancy prevention campaign in 2009, who again became pregnant out-of-wedlock to an unconfirmed father in 2015.
In 2013, a group of seven young mothers petitioned Candie's to eliminate stigma, sexism, and racism from their teen pregnancy prevention campaigns  and requested a meeting with Neil. While he publicly responded to their national campaign, he refused to speak to or meet with the young women.
- "Bristol Palin: 'This pregnancy was actually planned'". Fox News. 29 June 2015.
The Candies Foundation is a non-profit organization that advocates for abstinence to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
- "Abstinence Advocate Bristol Palin Announces Second Unplanned Pregnancy". Vanity Fair. 26 June 2015.
Candie’s Foundation, a non-profit organization that fights teen pregnancy by supporting abstinence work.
- "Foundation that paid Bristol Palin $250,000 to promote abstinence after birth of son Tripp offers SUPPORT after news she is expecting another child". Daily Mail. 27 June 2015.
- "Bristol Palin Sends Message of Abstinence for The Candie's Foundation". Fox News. 8 April 2010.
- "Bristol Palin’s Nonprofit Paid Her Seven Times What It Spent On Actual Teen Pregnancy Prevention". ThinkProgress. Retrieved 2011-04-05.
- "The Candie's Foundation". Candiesfoundation.org. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
- "Forbes People Profile". Forbes. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- "Candie's PSA campaigns". Candiesfoundation.org. Retrieved 2009-09-09.
- "The Candie's Foundation About Us". The Candie's Foundation. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- "Candie's Foundation Campaigns". Retrieved 3 August 2011.
- "The Candie's Foundation - Events". The Candie's Foundation. Retrieved 28 July 2011.
- "Bruno Mars And Aretha Franklin Perform At Charity Event To Prevent Teen Pregnancy". Look to the Stars.
- "Ms. Magazine". MsMagazine.com. Retrieved 2016-02-13.
- "Young Mothers Are Denouncing This Pregnancy Prevention Campaign For Shaming Teen Moms". Business Insider. Retrieved 2016-02-13.
- "Shame on Who?". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-02-13.