Sam and Kacie Malouf visit with Elizabeth Smart about merging their two non-profit organizations on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022.

SALT LAKE CITY Elizabeth Smart Foundation representatives announced they are joining the Malouf Foundation during a press conference on January 5, 2022 in Salt Lake City. The Malouf foundation, based in Cache Valley, is a 501©3 public charity founded by Sam and Kacie Malouf in 2016.

Elizabeth Smart speaks to the media about the merger of the Elizabeth Smart Foundation and the Malouf Foundation on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022.

Elizabeth Smart became a national news figure when she was abducted from her Salt Lake City home in 2002 in the most-followed child abduction case in history. At 14-years-old, Smart survived being kidnapped and held captive for nine months.

During captivity, she repeatedly endured daily sexual assault, starvation and abuse at the hands of her captors. Public awareness surrounding her disappearance – and a watchful community – was crucial to her being found in her hometown of Salt Lake City. Smart was finally identified and reported by a person passing by on the street, enabling her to return home.

Smart became an advocate of ending victimization and sexual assault by founding the Elizabeth Smart Foundation in 2011. She wanted to bring hope through prevention, healing, and advocacy to those effected by the crime.

In 2016, Sam and Kacie Malouf founded the Malouf Foundation to confront child sexual exploitation, specifically through online abuse and sex trafficking. The organization is the charity arm of a successful for-profit corporation, Malouf Companies, which supports 100-percent flow through of donations to directly benefit the people it serves.

Kacie Malouf, co-founder of Malouf Companies and Malouf Foundation board chair, said Smart opened her eyes to a much broader perspective.

Understanding what ESF was doing to educate on and prevent sexual assault and violence showed us that we could deepen our impact by addressing more of the cycle of exploitation,” she said. “Elizabeth made us start thinking bigger.”

In 2021, Smart and her team were looking to expand their impact and better utilize Smart’s time and strengths as a nationally recognized leader. They felt like they could accomplish more if they could find and join a larger organization. They found a lot of connections to the mission of the Malouf Foundation.

The organizations see the new arrangement as an opportunity for their individual programs to grow, expand, and be more effective.

Sam Malouf, CEO of Malouf Companies™ and Malouf Foundation president said the whole company is thrilled to have Elizabeth and her team as co-workers, not only for the value and perspectives they will bring to the organization’s programs, but also for how Malouf can contribute to theirs.

Sam and Kasie Malouf with Elizabeth Smart at a news conference to announce the merger of their two foundations on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022.

Through ESF, Smart and her team have developed advocacy initiatives and programs designed to aid in prevention and healing. Smart Defense is a self-defense class for women and girls that teaches techniques from Krav Maga, Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai, alongside equally important concepts like using your voice, setting boundaries and discerning red flags.

Notable initiatives of the Malouf Foundation™ include the OnWatch™ training (created with Virginia-based organization Safe House Project), a free online, hour-long training designed to teach users how to recognize and report sex trafficking in their communities and the Juniper Scholarship™ for sex trafficking survivors. They are working on Utah’s first restorative care center for female minors ages 11 to 18.

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