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Charity Works: Rack Room Commemorates MLK’s March on Washington With $25K Donation + More

Aug. 28, 2020: To mark the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech, Rack Room Shoes has donated $25,000 to the National Urban League, to support the organization’s mission to improve lives in underserved communities and fight for economic empowerment, equality and social justice. In June, following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black individuals, the retailer took a stand against racial inequality, announcing it was committing $1 million over the course of five years, toward a diversity plan that includes scholarships, internships, mentoring programs and other donations for education and economic development in the Black community.

Aug. 20, 2020: Kohl’s has announced a $1 million donation to five charitable organizations that serve diverse communities. It has pledged $150,000 to The Milwaukee Urban League, $250,000 to Employ Milwaukee and more than $250,000 to Acts Housing — all of which are new nonprofit partners. It has also renewed its commitment to two existing groups, Safe & Sound and Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, by contributing $175,000 and $150,000, respectively. Through its financial aid, the department store aims to improve equity for Black and Hispanic residents in underserved communities in the Milwaukee area. It will also provide support through volunteering, leadership engagement and creating opportunities for a talent pipeline to Kohl’s. “At a time when there is a clear call to action to do more to address inequities for people of color, Kohl’s is committed to actions that support long-term sustainable progress in supporting these organizations,” CEO Michelle Gass said in a statement. “We look forward to sharing more of our plans and actions in the future to enhance diversity and inclusivity in our workplace, in our business and in the communities we serve.”

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Aug. 20, 2020: Skechers has partnered with the United Way of Greater Los Angeles to donate 1 million non-medical-grade face masks to nonprofits across the country. The masks will be distributed to community organizations that don’t typically receive PPE from the government — including public education centers, health and rehab outreach facilities, homeless shelters and food banks — in L.A., New York, Chicago, Detroit and several cities in Florida and New Jersey. To garner support for the charity initiative, Skechers launched the #MillionMaskChallenge campaign on TikTok, asking fans to create a video dancing to the hit viral track “Skechers” by DripReport.

Skechers Million Mask Donation
Skechers is donating 1 million face masks to nonprofits.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Skechers

Aug. 17, 2020: Nordstrom is joining forces with nonprofit Shoes That Fit for the 10th year in a row to provide new sneakers to children in need in local communities. This year, the department store has enlisted the help of Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas to encourage people to help the retailer donate more than 35,000 shoes. Starting today through Oct. 4, customers can purchase $10 giving cards in all Nordstrom stores or make a donation online. “At Nordstrom, we are committed to making a difference in our communities,” said chief marketing officer Scott Meden. “Each pair of shoes donated represents a child with more confidence, hope, self-esteem and joy.” Since 2010, Nordstrom has raised nearly $4 million to give 200,000 kids a new pair of shoes. According to the company, these sneakers have been delivered at schools across the United States, all of which have a high percentage of students on free or reduced lunch programs.

Aug. 17, 2020: Hawaiian-inspired brand OluKai is donating a portion of sales from its Island Flower collection to the Chef Hui Group in Hawaii, which consists of local farmers, chefs and restaurants throughout the state, coming together to serve their community by providing meals to those in need. OluKai’s Island Flower collection celebrates the official flowers of all four Hawaiian islands, with art work created by a local artist. The series of flip-flops for men and women retail from $65 to $75 and are available at OluKai.com.

OluKai’s Island Flower collection.
CREDIT: Courtesy of OluKai

Aug. 11, 2020: Fashion-comfort retailer Karavel Shoes in Austin, Texas, is doing its part in the prevention of the spread of COVID-19. The family-owned business is in the process of printing 1,200 3D face shields to be donated to staff working in 15 schools located in low-income neighborhoods in Austin. The store also hired three high school students to work on the project. In addition, said Karavel owner Rick Ravel, the store will be selling additional masks to consumers with all proceeds from their sale donated to the Central Texas Food Bank.

Karavel Shoes is donating masks to Austin, Texas schools.
CREDIT: Courtesy photo/Karavel Shoes

Aug. 11, 2020: Famous Footwear has announced a new multiyear partnership with Ticket to Dream, which provides opportunities for foster children across the country. As part of the move, the brand is donating more than 12,000 new pairs of shoes this month to foster kids ahead of the back-to-school season and plans to provide supplies throughout the fall. It is also encouraging customers to make a donation at the register when they’re shopping in stores. “Together we plan to engage employees, customers and vendors to work together to improve the lives and futures of foster kids of all ages,” said Famous Footwear president Molly Adams, “whether that’s lacing up a new pair of kicks, having essential care items on hand, equipping them with school essentials or celebrating the joy of the holidays.”

Aug. 11, 2020: Coach‘s charitable arm has joined forces with nonprofits The Opportunity Network, Bottom Line and Year Up as part of its Dream It Real initiative. With a mission to “help break cycles of inequality,” the Coach Foundation has made a $1 million donation in support of the organizations and their work to drive equity across higher education for underrepresented students and those from low-income communities. To date, the Coach Foundation has committed more than $3.5 million to support the Dream It Real initiative around the world. “It is our goal to fight inequality by empowering underrepresented students through education,” interim CEO and Coach brand president Todd Kahn said in a statement, “and to help provide the resources, skills and mentoring they need to make their dreams a reality.”

Aug. 11, 2020: Wolverine and rock band Metallica’s nonprofit, All Within My Hands, are teaming up to launch a duo of special-edition boots to support trade school education. All proceeds from the sale of the boots will benefit the nonprofit to further support those in the skilled trades. The collection includes the 1000 Mile Axel, a spin on the classic 1000 Mile boot, detailed with a Metallica Key logo-inspired heel plate, an All Within My Hands toe kicker, metal-tipped laces and metal guitar pick tag. The boot is made in the U.S. of Horween Chromexel leather from the Chicago-based tannery. The Hellcat style takes root in a traditional work boot and features a molded Metallics Key logo and guitar pick tag. The partnership will benefit three community college trade programs: Grand Rapids Community College, Lone Star Community College and WSU Tech in Wichita, Kansas, each receiving $100,000 joint grant and Wolverine boots to help students get started in their career. The boots can be preordered online, followed by an official launch on Aug. 26 on Wolverine.com.

Wolverine Metallica
A still from Metallica x Wolverine’s boot collection.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Wolverine

Aug. 10, 2020: John Elliott is continuing its partnership with UCLA Health. In a statement, the designer’s eponymous brand announced that it has set a goal to fund 25 additional scholarships for students entering the UCLA Medical School by donating 10% of proceeds from all its sales to its Frontline Future Fund. “At this critical moment, the industry must not only manage current challenges, but prepare for tomorrow,” Elliott said. “Let’s get the future’s great thinkers, scientists, frontline workers and health care professionals here as soon as possible.” Since March, the company has donated more than $100,000 to UCLA Health. Separately, John Elliott has also raised $50,000 since June toward causes that support the advancement of racial justice and equality in the United States. Those donations have been split evenly across three initiatives: Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, the Equal Justice Initiative and Fair Fight.

John Elliott face masks
A set of three face masks designed by John Elliott.
CREDIT: Courtesy of John Elliott

Aug. 5, 2020: As part of its latest collection launch, Birdies has teamed up with Step Up, a nonprofit that provides mentorship and support to girls in under-resourced communities. Beyond committing $10,000 to the organization, the brand is set to debut The Vote collection on Aug. 11 to encourage women to register to vote. The lineup will consist of five hand-painted designs by artist Danielle Stern of Lefty’s Right Mind. Each shoe will feature symbols like suffragist posters, yellow roses and other feminist messages that represent women’s journey to freedom and equality.

Birdies' The Vote collection.
Birdies’ The Vote collection.
CREDIT: Birdies

Aug. 4, 2020: Award-winning actress and mom-of-two Busy Philipps is putting her closet up for sale on Poshmark for a good cause. All proceeds from the collection will be donated to DonorsChoose, an organization that allows anyone to give to a classroom in need around the country by offering supplies or funds for projects. Starting Aug. 4 at 12 pm PT, the collection will be released in three drops on Poshmark.com throughout the month. It features 165 items in total, including coveted shoe styles she’s worn like the Vans x The Nightmare Before Christmas sneaker collaboration and Soludos’ banded sandals.

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