Jan 8, 2010
CONTACT Marsha Robertson or Elizabeth Dye
646.523.9600 or 646.228.7030

Family Violence Prevention Fund Will Break Ground on a New International Conference Center and Exhibit Hall in San Francisco’s Presidio on Friday, January 8

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador Nicole Kidman, Major League Baseball Manager Joe Torre and Actress Joan Chen to Celebrate Renovation of Building 100 as State-of-the-Art Global Action Center

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – JANUARY 8 – The Family Violence Prevention Fund, one of the world’s most innovative and respected agencies working to stop violence against women and children, is breaking new ground today with the start of construction on an international conference center and exhibition hall.

Among those joining Family Violence Prevention Fund (FVPF) Founder and President Esta Soler for the groundbreaking ceremony at 3:00 PM will be House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, whose support has provided significant funding for the $18 million project, actress Nicole Kidman, who will appear on behalf of UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women) and Los Angeles Dodgers manager Joe Torre, who has been an active supporter of the FVPF’s highly successful national campaign, Coaching Boys Into Men. Actress Joan Chen will perform an excerpt from the documentary play, “Seven.”

“We intend to make this unprecedented international center a place where the world’s best thinkers can come together to identify and develop strategies that prevent and stop violence against women and children,” Soler said. “We are proud to take this space at the historic Presidio – once a place of war – and turn it into a place that promotes the safety and security that individuals, families and communities deserve and need. By identifying what works in communities large and small around the globe, we will help end the stigma and defeat the shame that allows violence to continue.”

Building 100, located on the Main Post of San Francisco’s historic Presidio, will be redesigned and reconstructed as a global action center to serve as a forum for international discourse, leadership training, education programs and public exhibitions designed to change attitudes and practices that harm women and children who are oppressed or exploited around the world. Architectural design was provided by BAR Architects and construction is being managed by Oliver and Company.

“The San Francisco Presidio, the crown jewel of our City, will now become home to the premier international center working to end violence against women and children,” said Speaker Pelosi. “The International Center to Prevent Violence will bring solutions, collaboration, and leadership to one of the greatest moral issues of our time. Violence harms not just individuals; it tears at the fabric of entire societies. On this former military post, it is appropriate that we will work to prevent conflict, and ease the pain it causes – in homes and in nations.”

Also participating in the event will be the new United States Ambassador to Australia, Jeff Bleich, who has been actively involved in the FVPF’s “Founding Fathers” initiative – an annual effort to enlist men across America to take a public stand in support of positive solutions to end violence against women and children.

Fundraising for the new center began in 2003 when a group of 350 men in business, entertainment and sports joined together on Father’s Day as new “Founding Fathers” to commit their public and personal support to the international center. Each man pledged $1,000 and lent his name to a public declaration that was printed in the New York Times on Father’s Day. This tradition continues on Father’s Day each year. Following this kick-off, the campaign was given a boost by the office of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi who secured a federal investment of $1.5 million for the center’s programs. Last year, the Speaker obtained an additional federal investment of $2 million for the rehabilitation of Building 100. An outstanding national volunteer leadership committee led by Judi Kanter, the Campaign Chair and former Director of EMILY’s List, has been assembled to build support for the project.

The corporate sponsors and institutions that are playing a significant role in the funding and development of the center include: The Open Square Foundation, Blue Shield of California, The David B. Gold Foundation, The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, and Macy’s. Bank of America is providing the Historic Tax Credit.

Among the features of the new building will be:

A Global Conference and Education Center 
• Made possible with generous support from the Open Square Foundation, the heart of the international center is a state-of-the-art conference and education center.

Exhibit Hall 
• Blue Shield of California will sponsor an interactive exhibit hall designed to engage audiences through exhibits, immersion learning experiences, and a variety of performances, film screenings, and other events. The programming will be a tool for teachers, parents, coaches and others to engage their students, children, and the general public in critical conversation about the impact of violence and the choices they face in preventing it.

Multi-Functional Classrooms 
• These versatile small-group conference rooms will facilitate breakout sessions from the Conference Center, and be extensions of interactive exhibits. 
• Equipped with translation services and interactive videoconference capabilities, these classrooms will support small group learning and activities, project planning, and other small group gatherings.

A Training Hub 
• Judges and policymakers from around the world will share strategies, build consensus and problem solve on a wide variety of challenges that face the women, children and families whose lives they affect. Physicians, nurses and other world health leaders will share emerging research and new strategies to increase access to women’s health services and improve the quality of women’s health.

To access images of the future building, please visit:

About Family Violence Prevention Fund: The Family Violence Prevention Fund works to end violence against women and children around the world, because every person has the right to live free of violence. Instrumental in developing the landmark Violence Against Women Act, first passed by Congress in 1994, and working to pass the International Violence Against Women Act, the FVPF has been breaking new ground, reaching broad audiences including men and youth, promoting leadership within communities to ensure that violence prevention efforts become self-sustaining, and transforming the way health care providers, police, judges, employers and others respond to violence. Its public education campaigns, conducted in partnership with The Advertising Council, have shaped public awareness and changed social norms for more than 15 years. For more information, visit

About UNIFEM: The Women’s Development Fund at the United Nations is dedicated to advancing women’s rights and achieving gender equality. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programs and strategies that foster women’s empowerment. UNIFEM works on the premise that it is the fundamental right of every woman to live a life free from discrimination and violence, and that gender equality is essential to achieving development and to building just societies.

About the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation: The Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation was created in 2002 to bring a greater understanding, awareness and compassion to those suffering through the experience of domestic abuse. Its mission is to educate to end the cycle of domestic violence and save lives. It is under this guiding principle that the Foundation established its signature programming initiative, Margaret’s Place. For more information, please visit


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