Rack Room Shoes is the latest in the growing list of high-profile footwear companies to take a stand in support of racial equality. The chain has committed to a $1 million donation, $200,000 per year for five years, to use towards a diversity plan that includes scholarships, internships, mentoring programs and other donations for education and economic development in the Black community.
According to the company, its diversity plan will also include implicit bias and acceptance of cultural differences training at its 500-plus stores and corporate offices.
“We are at the moment in history where change is crucial for the betterment of our company and the communities we serve,” said Brenda Christmon, director of corporate communications. “The recent, senseless killings of Ahmad Aubrey, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, as well as far too many others, have sparked conversations about racial injustices and inequities that are long overdue. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but the core values on which our company was built – trust, respect, and social responsibility – are the values we will continue to uphold and build upon.”
According to the company, it has been a supporter of outreach programs in the African American community the past, including donations to the Chris Paul and Arthur Ashe Foundations, as well as other community charities and churches.
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In addition, Rack Room Shoes Gives, the ongoing charitable arm of the company, is designed to ensure social responsibility efforts reach customers from every race, ethnicity, faith, age, gender, and sexual orientation. The company noted it donates more than $200,000 per year through its Local Community program and has provided more than 324,000 pairs of new shoes to children in need and raised more than $8.8 million to date through its partnership with Shoes That Fit, a national non-profit organization.
“Dedicating an additional $1 million, which will be specifically targeted to the black community, is a step in the right direction,” stated Christmon. “We are a company that doesn’t believe the narrative begins now, we believe the work begins now.”
Rack Room Shoes is a family footwear chain that has supported others in need of a voice including veterans. The company currently offers a 10% military discount every Tuesday to military personnel and their immediate family members.