Press Release

A New Way of Life Reentry Project founder Susan Burton wins prestigious DVF People’s Voice Award


DVF (Diane Von Furstenberg) Philanthropy gives out the People’s Voice Award each year to a woman chosen by the public who exemplifies leadership, strength and courage in her commitment to the advancement of women.

Susan Burton, founder of A New Way of Life Reentry Project in Los Angeles, has won the 10th Annual DVF People’s Voice Award, DVF Philanthropy announced today.

The DVF Awards were created in 2010 by clothing designer Diane von Furstenberg and The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation to “recognize and support extraordinary women who are dedicated to transforming the lives of other women, women who have had the courage to fight, the strength to survive, and the leadership to inspire.” Honorees are celebrated each year as part of the Women in the World conference.

Burton was one of four US women nominated by DVF Philanthropy for this year’s People’s Voice Award. Throughout March, the public was asked to watch each woman’s video and vote for the nominee they found most inspiring. In Burton’s submission, she told the story of founding A New Way of Life in 1998 after serving six prison terms for drugs. Since then, A New Way of Life has provided housing and services for more than 1,100 formerly incarcerated women, helped reunite more than 300 women with their children, and given pro bono legal representation to over 3,000 community members.

Burton will receive her award, which comes with a grant of $50,000, during a ceremony on April 11 at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City.

“I remember when I wore DVF jeans back in the 80s. To be standing on the stage with Diane Von Furstenberg on April 11 — it just proves that you never know where life’s journey will take you. I’m so grateful and humbled by this recognition,” Burton says.

DVF will also present four additional awards:

  • Anita Hill, professor of law, public policy and women’s studies at Brandeis University, will be given the Lifetime Leadership Award for “her incredible strength throughout her career to demand race and gender equality and eradicate sexual harassment.”


  • Recording artist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Katy Perry will receive the Inspiration Award for “using her voice to advocate on behalf of many philanthropic causes,” including children’s issues and LGBTQ+ equality.


  • 2018 Nobel Peace Prize co-recipient Nadia Murad from Iraq is the winner of the International Award for her advocacy work on behalf of genocide and sexual violence survivors.


  • Hadeel Mustafa Anabtawi of Jordan is also a recipient of the International Award. Anabtawi founded The Alchemist Lab, an educational center that has helped more than 25,000 children gain the skills to confidently explore the world around them.


About A New Way of Life

In 1998, Susan Burton founded A New Way of Life Reentry Project (ANWOL) to help women, families, and communities break the cycle and heal from the formidable experiences of incarceration. ANWOL advances multi-dimensional solutions to the effects of incarceration, including (1) providing housing and support to formerly incarcerated women for successful community reentry, family reunification, and individual healing; (2) working to restore the civil rights of formerly incarcerated people; and (3) empowering, organizing, and mobilizing formerly incarcerated people as advocates for social change and personal transformation.

A New Way of Life envisions a world where every person can make decisions for his/her own life, is accountable for those decisions, and is valued as a contributing member of the community. ANWOL has been a driving force in considerable policy reforms, including the ban-the-box ordinances and the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act (Proposition 47), a historic measure to reverse decades of antiquated approaches to community safety and justice, properly redirecting costly prison construction and management resources to education, reentry, and victims’ services.

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