Thanks to Black consumers, the sneaker industry is valued at more than $70 billion. Now, one of the niche’s biggest retailers is giving back.
It was recently announced that Foot Locker launched its Leading Education & Economic Development (LEED) Initiative through January 2022, in which the company invested nearly $54 million in programs designed to bolster educational and economic opportunities for the Black community. This is a part of a larger $200 million commitment in which Black students and employees and will be empowered and supported through wraparound resources and expanded programming.
“Our commitment to the Black community goes beyond words and is part of how we do business,” said Richard Johnson, Chairman and CEO of Foot Locker Inc. in a statement. “Through strategic investments, community partnerships and opportunities that empower, we are taking actionable steps to drive meaningful and lasting change both within our organization and in the communities we serve.”
It has been reported that the initiative includes more than $17 million invested in Black-owned brands to diversify its assortment, $21 million to seven Black-led VC firms; more than $10.8 million for partnerships with Black-owned vendors for key services and supplies including marketing, PR, IT, general construction, architecture, site engineering, store fixtures, maintenance and events; Training of 160 creatives with the Designing with Sole initiative; Awarding 25 community organizations between $20,000 and $100,000 each through the Foot Locker Foundation Community Empowerment Program; and more focused partnership with the UNCF to increase scholarship opportunities for Black students.
According to the brand, they have already set the initiative in motion with Foot Locker’s formal Employee Resource Group B.U.I.L.D. (Blacks United in Leadership and Development), which amplifies Black, African and Caribbean employees in service and bridging access to career development opportunities.