Sportswear giant Nike (NKE), in conjunction with its Jordan and Converse brands, announced it will commit $40 million to support the black community over the next four years. The funds will be targeted for supporting and investing in groups and organizations that put social justice, education, and addressing racial inequality in America at the center of their work, according to a statement from the company.
“Systemic racism and the events that have unfolded across America over the past few weeks serve as an urgent reminder of the continued change needed in our society. We know Black Lives Matter. We must educate ourselves more deeply on the issues faced by Black communities and understand the enormous suffering and senseless tragedy racial bigotry creates,” said John Donahoe, president and CEO of Nike.
“The Nike, Inc. family can always do more but will never stop striving to role model how a diverse company acts. We will continue our focus on being more representative of our consumers while doing our part in the communities we serve.”
Nike also says that in the past few years, the brand has increased measures of accountability at the company in the areas of “diversity, inclusion and belonging” to foster an inclusive environment and attract a more diverse workforce.
“While we have made some progress over the past couple of years, we have a long way to go. I heard this from many of you during my listening and learning tour, and we have heard this loud and clear from you over the past two weeks,” Donahoe told Nike staff in an internal memo obtained by Yahoo Finance.
According to the memo, Craig Williams, president of Jordan brand, will head up the initiative.
The swoosh brand has been front out in front on issues of social justice from supporting former NFL star and social activist Colin Kaepernick, reconsidering the featuring the Betsy Ross flag on a sneaker, or most recently its “Just don’t do it!” statement which condemned the death of George Floyd and others at the hands of law enforcement.
Reggie Wade is a writer for Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter at @ReggieWade.