The Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation is established as a 501 (C)(3) to raise and distribute research funds for cancers affecting women – a cause near and dear to Mary Kay Ash’s heart.

Mary Kay Ash cancer research donation

The first grants are awarded to fund six innovative research programs targeting breast and ovarian cancers.

  • St. Paul Medical Center in Dallas dedicates its Mary Kay Ash Institute for Cancer Research in honor of her support.
  • “Silver Wings” is introduced to the independent sales force as a symbol of the Foundation.
  • The Foundation embraces a second mission to prevent violence against women.
  • During the national Call to Protect program, Mary Kay Inc. presents cellular phones to Congressman Pete Sessions for domestic violence victims.
  • Mary Kay Independent National Sales Directors contribute their personal stories for the book – Paychecks of the Heart– in honor of Mary Kay Ash as a Foundation fundraiser.
  • Beloved Founder Mary Kay Ash dies on Thanksgiving Day, her favorite holiday. She left a generous bequest of $15 million ($1 million per year for 15 years) to the Foundation.
  • The Foundation launches in Canada and announces its support for the Look Good Feel Better program, a nonprofit service for women cancer patients.
  • Breaking the Silence: Journeys of Hope debuts on PBS. The Foundation, along with Mary Kay Inc., underwrites this documentary about violence against women in 2000.
  • The Foundation receives the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Los Angeles County Commission on Assaults Against Women.
  • The Family Violence Prevention Fund presents the Foundation and Mary Kay Inc. with the first community service award named for Mary Kay Ash.
  • The Baylor Health Care System Foundation honors the Foundation with the Circle of Care Award.
  • The Foundation makes an initial grant of $500,000 to the Safety Net Project of the National Network to End Domestic Violence, a project that teaches domestic violence victims to safely and strategically use technology to protect themselves and their families.
  • The Foundation receives the Ron J. Anderson, M.D., Healthcare Servant Leadership Award, which is given by the Alliance for Healthcare Excellence, an association of health industry leaders working to improve our nation’s health care system.
  • San Fernando Valley Child Abuse Council honors the Foundation with the Distinguished Organization Award, which recognizes organizations that go above and beyond to eliminate domestic violence and child abuse.
  • And Stirred With Love cookbook debuts featuring favorite recipes from Mary Kay Ash and Mary Kay Independent National Sales Directors from around the world with proceeds benefiting the Foundation.
  • Mary Kay Ash receives the Humanitarian Rose Award at Kensington Palace in London for the work she inspired through The Foundation.
  • The Foundation receives the Community Service Award from the Good Shepherd Shelter in Los Angeles.
  • Lifetime Television’s Times Square Project honors the Foundation for its work to stop violence against women.
  • The Foundation underwrites Breaking the Silence: Children’s Stories, a documentary that attracts more than 600,000 viewers in 44 states.
  • The Foundation holds the first 5K Fun Run and Walk in Dallas raising funds to support its two-fold mission of cancers affecting women and ending domestic violence.
  • Mary Kay Ash is honored as a Texas Legend by Belo Corporation and Cadillac for her foresight in establishing the Foundation and its national work, as well as her entrepreneurial genius that provides opportunities for women to achieve success.
  • The Foundation underwrites the ¡No Más Silencio! campaign to help prevent domestic violence in the Hispanic population nationwide.
  • The Foundation holds its second annual 5K Fun Run and Walk, renaming the event the MK5K ®.
  • A Kiss for Country philanthropic program debuts and raises $10,000 for the Foundation.
  • The Foundation grants the Safety Net Program of the National Network to End Domestic Violence $200,000 to produce and distribute the training CD Survivors Technology: A Safety Planning Tool.
  • The Foundation awards $200,000 to the National Domestic Violence Hotline for its Love Is Respect program to raise awareness and champion zero tolerance of dating violence among teens. Texting “loveis” to 22522 connects you with help immediately.
  • The State of Nevada proclaims April 10th as Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation Day.
  • The Foundation donates $300,000 to the National Network to End Domestic Violence to translate the CD Survivors Technology: A Safety Planning Tool into Spanish.
  • The American Society of Breast Disease announces the Mary Kay Ash Advanced Training program in Oncoplastic Breast Surgery.
  • Genesis Women’s Shelter presents the 2008 Jane Doe Award to the Foundation for its work on behalf of battered women and children.
  • YWCA honors Mary Kay Ash at its 100 Women, 100 Years Centennial Gala.
  • The Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation changes its name to The Mary Kay Foundation.
  • The Foundation holds its first Suits for Shelters program to collect gently used career apparel from Mary Kay Independent Sales Force members to be donated to local women’s shelters.
  • Mary Kay Ash is featured in the book, How to Be Like Women of Influence.
  • The Foundation builds its first five Nature Explore Classrooms in the United States, providing a safe, healing outdoor environment for children staying at domestic violence shelters across the country.
Mary Kay Foundation Logo
  • The Foundation contributes $300,000 to the National Network to End Domestic Violence with $200,000 earmarked to support the Amy’s Courage Fund, which aids victims of domestic violence and their children.
  • The Mary Kay Foundation Facebook fan page is created.

The Foundation donates $15,000 to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition for its Teal Totes for ovarian cancer patients.

  • The first annual Mary Kay Charity Golf Classic is hosted to raise funds for the Foundation.
  • Text-to-donate is first used to fundraise for the Team Up for Women! ® campaign.
  • The Foundation holds a Shelter Grant Facebook contest to honor Mary Kay’s 50th anniversary.
  • The Foundation Ambassadors Club is created.
50th Anniversary Cadillacs

The NewGen auxiliary group is formed to help advise and fundraise for the Foundation, comprised of Mary Kay employees.


Mary Kay Inc. begins matching donations made on Giving Tuesday. Donations raised are divided between two Mary Kay Foundation supported organizations, CancerCare, supporting women diagnosed with cancer and Polaris, the first human trafficking organization.

  • The Foundation celebrates its 20th anniversary.
  • The Foundation awards a $250,000 professorship endowment to UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas in honor of Dr. Jerry Shay, who has served as Chairman of The Foundation’s Cancer Research Grant Research Review Committee since inception.
  • The Foundation gives a $10,000 grant to The Plastic Surgery Foundation’s Breast Reconstruction Awareness Fund.
Jerry Shay Professorship Endowment

The Foundation celebrates the 10th anniversary of the underwriting of the Conference on Crimes Against Women.

Conference on Crimes Against Women Logo
  • The Foundation hosts its 16th Annual MK5K® Fun Run and Walk in Dallas raising funds for its two-fold mission of eradicating cancers affecting women and ending domestic violence.
  • The Mary Kay Foundation issues COVID-19 Emergency Shelter Grants to 54 shelters during the global pandemic and distributes hand sanitizer to over 500 shelters on behalf of Independent National Sales Directors.

The Mary Kay Foundation undergoes a name change and rebranding to the Mary Kay Ash Foundation in honor of its namesake and iconic founder.