Charity Works: Keen Utility Awards 6 Grants for Its 2023 She Builds Grant Program + More News
A monthly roundup of footwear brands and retailers that are participating in charitable causes. Share your news with us at email@example.com.
June 1, 2023: Keen Utility, the work boot division of Keen, has announced the six recipients of its 2023 She Builds Grant Program. The program, which launched in 2021, was created to advance the empowerment of women entering the skilled trades. What’s more, Keen Utility said the program has pledged $1 million in product and financial support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and Canada “that are leading the way to provide trade skills education and support for the next generation of tradeswomen” between 2021 and 2026. The grants — which were selected by Keen Utility and its fans — will be awarded to Black Women Build-Baltimore, British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Trades Discovery for Women, Girl’s Garage, Grid Alternative’s Women in Solar Program, Oregon Tradeswomen and Vermont Works for Women. These grants, Keen Utility said, will help provide trade skills education, expansion of workplace inclusivity training and its women’s-specific safety footwear.
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May 22, 2023: Kohl’s has announced a more than $2 million donation to the American Cancer Society (ACS) over the next three years to hopes to further engage communities in cancer prevention, improve cancer screening rates, and support cancer survivors. Kohl’s partnership with ACS is built around the Kohl’s Healthy Families program, which supports the reduction of cancer risk for families in southeastern Wisconsin by increasing access to healthy foods and improving opportunities to become more active. As a component of their continued partnership, Kohl’s and ACS have announced this year’s recipients of the Healthy Eating & Active Living (HEAL) Cancer Prevention and Survivorship Community Grants. Through Kohl’s support, ACS will partner with more than 30 local organizations over three years to implement these evidence-based HEAL Community Grants. This year’s recipients are Casa Guadalupe Education Center, CORE El Centro, Cross Lutheran Church Milwaukee, Kenosha YMCA, Milwaukee Catholic Home, Perseverance Health and Wellness Coaching, LLC, Running Rebels Community Organization, Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, Inc, HEAL Cancer Survivorship Grantees, Aurora Team Phoenix Cancer Care Survivorship Program, Divine Intervention Fitness, LLC, Milwaukee Consortium for Hmong Health, Inc., and Tricia’s Troops Cancer Connection.
May 19, 2023: In response to the tumultuous natural disaster across Turkey and Syria and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the team at Twisted X is teaming up with Soles4Souls to support disaster relief efforts. For the initiative, Twisted X supplied more than 15,000 pairs of men’s, women’s, and youth footwear to Soles4Souls with a retail value of $1 million. Product donations are sorted by Soles4Souls and transported to vetted nonprofit organizations on the ground to ensure entire communities have access to the essential items. “At Twisted X, compassion is one of our highest priorities and we feel a strong sense of urgency to take action and assist communities in need however we can,” Prasad Reddy, CEO of Twisted X, said in a statement. “Our partnership with Soles4Souls allows us to provide footwear essentials in the hopes of restoring even a small sense of normalcy to those in need during times of turmoil.” Twisted X previously partnered with Soles4Soles in 2022 to provide over 16,000 pairs of shoes for Ukrainian relief efforts. In 2021, the brand partnered with Two Ten Footwear to donate footwear for the Share Your Shoes Program that benefited individuals affected by natural disasters.
May 19, 2023: Rack Room Shoes has announced the winners of its annual Teacher of the Year Contest, recognizing educators who have made a significant difference in the lives of their students. The five outstanding winners are Carlee Guthrie, Rebecca Yaple, Jasmine Henry, Ricardo Mendez, and Taren David. The Rack Room Shoes Teacher of the Year Contest, held annually, allows customers to nominate deserving teachers who have made a positive and influential impact. Each winning teacher is awarded a $10,000 grant for their school, along with a $500 Rack Room Shoes gift card. “We are honored to recognize these exceptional teachers who have gone above and beyond to shape the lives of their students,” Brenda Christmon, senior director of brand communication at Rack Room Shoes, said in a statement. “Their dedication, passion, and commitment to education inspire us all.” In previous years of the contest, the schools in need of technology used their grants to buy laptops for classrooms, and even equipped an entire special needs classroom with new desks.
RACK ROOM SHOES
May 17, 2023: Famous Footwear has teamed up with Reef in support of Ticket to Dream, which helps foster families fund extra-curricular activities and summer programs for their foster children. As part of the initiative, Famous Footwear is now offering an exclusive “Crystal” colorway of Reef’s Water Vista Sandal, retailing for $59. The shoe retailer will donate 20 percent of the proceeds of these sandals to Ticket to Dream. Gina Davis, CEO of Ticket to Dream, said in a statement that she is “thrilled” to be working with Famous Footwear and Reef to help foster kids get outdoors. “Whether they learn to swim, play soccer, or even learn to surf, we know these youth will be creating happy memories, friendships and life skills that help foster kids just be kids,” Davis said. “We love that customers can pick up a stylish go-to summer sandal and help foster kids at the same time. Thank you, Famous Footwear, Reef and every customer who helps us bring fun to foster kids.”
Courtesy of Famous Footwear
May 15, 2023: Family Equality threw its annual Night at the Pier gala at Pier Sixty, celebrating the achievements and support of LGBTQIA+ families, parents and children across the country. The event, which honored Nicholas Hite and Amrit Kapai and Nicholas Kouchoukos, included performances by cast members from Broadway’s “Kimberly Akimbo,” “Some Like It Hot,” “& Juliet” and “New York, New York.” The evening, which raised $1.025 million for the nonprofit, ended with a dance party and ballroom dessert reception sponsored by Koolaburra by Ugg. “Journalist Sydney J. Harris once said, ‘History repeats itself in such a cunning disguise that we never detect the resemblance until the damage is already done,'” said Family Equality’s CEO, Stacey Stevenson, in a speech highlighting challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ families today. “But I’m here tonight to say loud and clear that we see the disguise — and we will not stand by and let any more damage be done.”
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for Family Equality
May 8, 2023: Pasquale Bruni threw an intimate dinner in partnership with Autism Tomorrow and its founder, Jacquelyn Jablonski, at Parcelle in New York City. Guests including Selby Drummond, Steven Dubb, Brianna Lance and Jaime Kay Waxman commemorated the model and the jewelry brand’s shared values of community and family with the occasion. It also held special meaning for Jablonski, who began Autism Tomorrow from a lack of care for adults on the autism spectrum, including her brother. “I started Autism Tomorrow because of my family, and Pasquale Bruni being a family-run business — this partnership has felt very special,” Jablonski shared in a mid-dinner speech, “so, thank you.”
May 1, 2023: Kohl’s has made a new $3 million commitment to Children’s Wisconsin. According to the retailer, the funds will go to supporting the opening of three additional mental health walk-in clinic locations in Wisconsin. The donation, which comes on the first day of National Mental Health Awareness Month, builds on the organizations’ continued work to build awareness, remove barriers, and make critical mental health services more accessible to youth and families across the state. The new locations will offer similar services to those provided at the Craig Yabuki Mental Health walk-in clinic on the Children’s Wisconsin Milwaukee campus. The intent is to open one location each year over the next three years. Locations of the new clinics have not yet been selected but will be spread throughout Wisconsin. The walk-in clinics provide immediate mental health support to kids 5-18 years old and are staffed with licensed therapists and social workers, and offer a therapy session, safety evaluation and support in connecting families to long-term resources.
April 10, 2023: Burlington Stores has launched its inaugural in-store customer fundraising campaign with global nonprofit YouthBuild USA. Funds raised will advance YouthBuild USA’s efforts to strengthen its programming; identify additional opportunities for impact at the local level, including through expanded career pathways; and drive innovation in education, workforce readiness, and leadership development for opportunity youth. “Our new partnership with YouthBuild USA aligns nicely with our renewed community giving approach,” said Michael O’Sullivan, CEO of Burlington Stores. “As we continue to evolve and grow as a discount retailer best known for extraordinary values on brand name merchandise, teaming up with this strategic charitable partner will allow us to add value by empowering young people in our local communities nationwide to live better lives and build better futures.” Now through May 15, 2023, customers can donate at any Burlington store nationwide.
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April 3, 2023: The Skechers Foundation has reached a new annual record—raising over $3.1 million in donations for children with varying abilities and education through its Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk. The annual partner appreciation event was held on Thursday, March 30, to celebrate the education foundations, which received fund distributions from the walk, and included a $1 million check for the Friendship Foundation. The $1 million will support the Friendship Foundation programs for children 8 to 35-plus with special needs, as well as the building of the Friendship Campus—a $55 million, 62,000-square-foot college-based learning, job training and creative education center scheduled to open in 2025 in Redondo Beach, Calif. In addition, more than $1.58 million in checks was also distributed to six education foundations to help support staffing and educational programs. “Our community is phenomenal. The way they’ve helped our donations reach new highs and achieve a $1 million milestone for the Friendship Foundation, their love for our kids has no bounds,” said Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers and co-founder of the event, which has raised more than $21 million for children to date.
April 3, 2023: The Athlete’s Foot is partnering with The North Carolina Justice Center on its upcoming event “Unlocking Opportunities: A Symposium on the Business Case for Fair Chance Hiring and Second Chance Reforms.” The event, which takes place on Friday, April 21, from 9:30 am – 1:30 pm at the Capital Area NCWorks Career Center, is free, open to the public and will bring together North Carolina residents, directly impacted people, and local business leaders to hear presentations on the economic and community safety benefits of fair chance hiring, second chance initiatives, and reforms. “Providing people with criminal records the opportunity to obtain meaningful employment not only helps them support themselves and their families but also contributes to the economic well-being of our communities,” Reggie Shuford, executive director of NC Justice Center, said in a statement. “Business leaders can play a critical role in breaking down barriers to employment for justice-involved people by adopting fair chance hiring practices and supporting second chance policy reforms.” To register to attend the event in person please go to ncjustice.org/secondchancesymposium.
The Athlete's Foot
Feb. 8, 2023: Kohl’s announced today a $750,000 donation to Hunger Task Force to further the organization’s mission of ensuring everyone in the Milwaukee community has access to nutritious food at no cost. The grant, which is a continuation of Kohl’s and Hunger Task Force’s 14-year partnership, will address current food donation shortages with the delivery of 10 truckloads of food to ensure the nonprofit can continue to meet demand. Funding will also help ensure an average of 31,000 individuals a month have access to free, healthy food options by supporting Hunger Task Force’s network of 68 food pantries, homeless shelters, senior dining sites, and soup kitchens, and provide kids free meals this summer through the Milwaukee Summer Meals program.
Jan 26, 2023: Texas-based footwear brand Twisted X today launched a new collab collection created in partnership with Cook Children’s in Fort Worth, and all wholesale proceeds from the line will go directly to the health care organization. The collection includes four unique slip-on shoes designed by young patients at Cook Children’s with the help of Twisted X designer Tuan Lee. Each pair is named after the artist and embodies their dream pair of footwear. “I like my shoe and my favorite part about it is that it’s rainbow colored and I love rainbows,” said Alex, a 6-year-old with ketotic hypoglycemia. The sneakers are available at select Twisted X retailers nationwide.
Courtesy of Twisted X
Jan. 20, 2023: Dillard’s Inc. announced it will contribute $289,000 to local Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Chapters — the result of sales of its exclusive “Southern Living Christmas Cookbook” during the holidays. The 256-page hardbound cookbook featured 100+ new recipes and 125+ full-color photos. With this year’s contribution, Dillard’s has donated more than $15.6 million since 1994 to local RMHC Chapters to support Ronald McDonald House programs. Joanna Sabato, chief marketing and development officer at RMHC Global, said in a statement, “We are incredibly grateful for Dillard’s generous donation and commitment to support our mission to keep families with children who are sick together.”
Corbis via Getty Images
Jan. 10, 2023: Macy’s customers raised $4.8 million to help fuel life-changing mentoring experiences for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) this holiday season. Throughout the months of November and December, Macy’s customers donated online at macys.com and by rounding up in-store purchases. The funds raised will expand the reach of BBBSA’s mentoring model, connecting more young people with mentors and mentorship experiences they need to reach their full potential. Fundraising efforts engaged all 230+ Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies, reaching 5,000 communities in all 50 states. By 2025, Macy’s, Inc. aims to give more than $125 million to nonprofit organizations whose work is aligned with its social purpose platform Mission Every One.
Jan. 10, 2023: To kick off the new year, Kohl’s is donating more than $500,000 to more than 20 nonprofits serving families in Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties through the Kohl’s Hometown Giving Program. The Kohl’s Hometown Giving Program, now in its fifth year, is an important part of the retailer’s local community support and provides another funding opportunity for nonprofits looking to expand and develop their programming to further enhance the health and wellness of families. Grants range from $5,000 to $25,000 and are made possible through the Kohl’s Cares merchandise program, which sells children’s books and plush toys and donates 100 percent of the net profit to health and wellness organizations nationwide. Since the inception of Kohl’s Hometown Giving Program, the company has donated more than $2.5 million to nonprofit organizations in the Milwaukee area.
Jan. 5, 2023: Baffin‘s latest launch is all about doing good. The outdoor footwear brand announced that its Companion boot, a unisex cold-weather style offered in kids, youth and adult sizing, is now available for purchase at Baffin.com, for $60 to $80 CAD, with 100% of proceeds going to Protect Our Winters Canada, a group that advocates for policy solutions to climate change. The Companion style was originally created in fall ’21 by Baffin’s Corporate Citizenship Employee Advisory Group to be used solely for donations to those in need. To that end, the brand has donated 2,500 pairs of the rubber boots to Ukrainian refugees through UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. The Corporate Citizenship EAG will continue to donate boots. And Baffin has further pledged that for every Companion pair sold at retail, it will donate at least one pair to a North American organization in need. The boots are manufactured in the brand’s Stoney Creek, Ontario, factory using 50% regrind material, supplemented with donated compounds care of supplier partners Felix Compounds and Aurora Plastics.
Courtesy of Baffin
Jan. 4, 2023: Tommy Hilfiger has announced the five finalists of the 2022 Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge, selected out of 259 applicants from global startups to scaleups. For the program’s fourth edition, it aims to amplify historically marginalized entrepreneurs — including Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), individuals living with a disability and women — who are helping to advance their communities by building a more inclusive fashion industry. The finalists include Care+Wear, IDA Sports, Koalaa, Tactus and Moner Bondhu. Last month, the five finalists worked with experts from the Tommy Hilfiger global headquarters in Amsterdam, to develop practical solutions to their biggest challenges. In the program’s final phase, each will pitch their business concepts on Feb. 9 to a jury panel that includes Mr. Hilfiger, CEO Martijn Hagman and activist Halima Aden. A 200,000 euro award will be divided between the top two winners to support their ventures. Another 15,000 euros will be awarded to the “Audience Favorite” chosen by Tommy Hilfiger associates.
Big Initiatives in 2022:
Dec. 28, 2022: Plan International Canada has announced that it has been selected as a nonprofit partner for the Uniqlo “Peace for All” initiative. With the partnership, the organization, which is focused on advancing children’s rights and equality for girls, said it will match customer donations up to 5,000 Canadian dollars (roughly $3,676 at the current conversion rate) from Dec. 30 through Jan. 13, 2023. The donation-matching campaign, the organization said in a statement, will raise funds for its “Youth Leaders in Canada” Gift of Hope that “unites youth of all backgrounds to take a stand as the next generation of global leaders.” Customers can donate to Plan International Canada at the checkout in all Uniqlo stores in Canada and online.
Dec. 23, 2022: DTLR announced it collected more than 30,000 toys for the past few weeks across all of its stores for its annual “Soleful Time of the Year” toy drive. The toys, according to DTLR, will be donated to more than 150 nonprofits, schools and community centers. DTRL said hundreds of local organizations that could help distribute toys to local communities were identified by stores.
Dec. 20, 2022: Academy Sports + Outdoors announced it has donated over $250,000 to its local communities this holiday season. Academy activated more than 50 holiday shopping events across its footprint to give back to thousands and surprise hundreds of shoppers through its annual “Traveling Santa” initiative at each of its 268 stores throughout December. Through its annual “Traveling Santa” initiative, Academy surprises customers doing their holiday shopping by helping pay for their holiday gifts. The company’s charitable events include in-store shopping sprees, bike donations and other giveback initiatives in 50 communities across Academy’s footprint.
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