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Charity Works: Keen Utility to Award $25,000 to Support Future Tradeswomen + More

A monthly roundup of footwear brands and retailers that are participating in charitable causes. Share your news with us at web@footwearnews.com.

March 19, 2021: Keen Utility, the work boot division of Keen Inc., has introduced the new She Builds grant program, meant to support and inspire the next generation of tradeswomen. In its first year, the program aims to award $25,000 in cash and safety footwear to U.S. nonprofits that help women and girls gain access to trade skill training and networking. Nominations for the grants can be submitted online here, now through April 8. Robin Skilling, senior director of global marketing for Keen Utility, said in a statement, “We know there is a trade skill labor shortage, and we’re here to help the organizations who are closing this gap by advancing women in this important market.”

March 9, 2021: Designer Marion Parke is celebrating Women’s History Month by donating 10% of all online sales until Monday, March 15, to Dress for Success. The non-profit organization empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women succeed.

March 5, 2021: Smartwool has teamed up with the United Negro College Fund for a $25,000 scholarship program for the fall ’21 semester. Ten junior or senior students, who are currently enrolled full-time at an HBCU (Historically Black College or University), will be awarded $2,500 each. Eligible recipients must attend an HBCU located in Tennessee or North Carolina, which are home states to Smartwool’s sock development team and sock mills. The winners of the UNCF scholarships must demonstrate a passion for the outdoors and exemplify one of Smartwool’s core values, including openness, advocacy, action and inclusivity. “We thank Smartwool for this investment in HBCU students,” said Maurice E. Jenkins Jr., UNCF’s VP and chief development officer. “Diversity knows no boundaries when it comes to the outdoors and creating better futures for us all. We look forward to expanding this partnership.” The application opened on Monday, March 1, and will close on Wednesday, April 28.

Big Initiatives in February 2021

Feb. 25, 2021: The Kate Spade New York Foundation has announced a $25,000 donation to support Feeding Texas in the wake of last week’s deadly and devastating snow and ice storms. The food bank is the largest hunger-relief organization in the state and provides food, resources and assistance to more than 4 million Texans every year. “Our hearts go out to our colleagues, our communities and everyone in Texas affected by Winter Storm Uri,” Kate Spade New York CEO and brand president Liz Fraser said in a statement. “With millions of Texans left without power, clean water and in freezing temperatures, we hope this contribution will help to provide quick relief to the people who need it most. In these moments, compassion and kindness are critical, and we encourage those who are willing and able to check in on their neighbors during these unprecedented times.”

Feb. 16, 2021: Frye has launched a special spring collection with Feeding America and August Alsina. The footwear brand and R&B singer have partnered up to raise money for food banks in Alsina’s hometown of New Orleans. For every pair of Melissa and Bowery Boots sold in February, Frye is donating $10 to Feeding America to support food banks in New Orleans communities that are facing hunger and food insecurity. As part of the partnership, Alsina is featured in the brand’s spring 2021 campaign, which shows him in new sneakers and boots from the collection.

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