Foot Locker has pledged $200 million toward supporting the Black community over the next five years through investments in youth-centric Black-owned businesses, purchases from Black-owned brands and donations to organizations dedicated to creating opportunities for minorities.
Announced with support from the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), Foot Locker CEO Richard Johnson said the investment reiterates the footwear retailer’s stance on fighting racial inequality and injustice in the communities it serves.
“We recognize that Black culture plays a pivotal role in shaping sneaker culture–the foundation of our business at Foot Locker, Inc,” Johnson wrote. “We believe we have an obligation to add our voice and actions to drive meaningful and lasting change across our company and within the communities we serve.”
To that end, Foot Locker said it will work to increase its marketing spend with Black-owned companies and creators while diversifying its global supply and agency investments to incorporate more Black-owned businesses.
In early 2019, Foot Locker invested $2 million in the Pensole Footwear Design Academy, a footwear education program founded by Jordan and Nike alum D’Wayne Edwards. The retailer has decided to double down on that commitment to education by pledging more funding toward Pensole programs and its Foot Locker Scholar Athletes for students of color.
Pensole regularly works with brands like Allbirds and Vibram to provide a pipeline into the industry for its students and recently expanded online classes to serve students who wouldn’t normally have access to the academy.
“We stand with those who are working towards eliminating the deep racial inequities that exist today,” Johnson said. “We are committed to leveraging our platform to mobilize, unite, empower, and inspire our team members and customers across the globe.”
New internship, mentorship and community outreach programs will help Foot Locker pursue that goal, bolstered by investment in education programs for Black team members through its Black Employee Resource Group, also known as BUILD.
Foot Locker said it will also divert some of the funding from its annual Foot Locker Foundation “On Our Feet” gala to beneficiaries in support of Black communities, including through its scholarship program with the United Negro College Fund.