Beginning with the June 2020 launch of its Leading Education & Economic Development (LEED) Initiative through January 2022, Foot Locker has invested nearly $54 million in programs designed to improve educational and economic opportunities for Black people. The Initiative as a whole represents a $200 million commitment that includes expanding programming for Black students and employees and operationalizing Foot Locker’s approach to elevating and working with Black vendors, community nonprofits, creators and professional service partners.
“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.”
The retailer’s investments include:
- More than $17 million invested in Black-owned brands to diversify its assortment. Brands including Pro Standard, Don C, Abeille Creations, Grady Baby Company & Apparel and Clan de Banlieue have been invited to join the Foot Locker ecosystem;
- $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, a global intensive design program built in partnership with Pensole and New Balance that creates opportunity for underrepresented voices in the footwear industry;
- Awarding 25 community organizations between $20,000 and $100,000 each through the Foot Locker Foundation Community Empowerment Program; and
- Expanding support to UNCF, increasing scholarships for Black students.
Internally, Foot Locker has supported its Black team members with:
- The addition of 10 scholarship awards for its internal scholarship program;
- The creation of a Bridge Internship program that creates pathways to corporate office roles for store associates. Since 2021 the program has expanded globally and provided more than 70 associates with intern positions in a range of corporate departments;
- A financial literacy program in partnership with the Society for Financial Educational and Professional Development; and
- Continued support for Foot Locker’s formal Employee Resource Group B.U.I.L.D. (Blacks United in Leadership and Development), serving African-American, Black, African and Caribbean employees in service of amplifying and advocating for a more equitable and sustainable Black work experience and access to more robust career development opportunities.