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Vans President Reveals Why Community Action Is the Focus of Its Third Annual Checkerboard Philanthropic Initiative

For the third straight year, Vans will host Checkerboard Day, an annual philanthropic event. This year, its efforts are focused on rebuilding and revitalizing communities worldwide.

“Not only are consumers now more than ever looking to align themselves with brands that share the same beliefs and values as them, but I believe global brands have a responsibility to stand up for important social causes given the impact and influence they have to drive positive change,” Vans global brand president Doug Palladini told FN. “Since Vans opened its first store in 1966, we have lived by the belief that we’re a people-first company that happens to make shoes. For us, it’s not just about purchasing a product; it’s about enabling creative expression and fostering an inclusive community where everyone feels welcomed.”

For the third Vans Checkerboard Day, which will take place on Nov. 18, the brand has partnered with Dosomething.org to invite people to participate in a day of collective action. This will include local activations on a global scale as well as digital activations, such as engagement opportunities on TikTok through the #VansCheckerboardDay challenge.

“This year, as in years past, we’re inviting Vans fans to participate in Checkerboard Day through #VansCheckerboardDay on TikTok. This is a great opportunity for us to not only connect with fans online and see how they are using creativity for self-expression within their communities, but it is also an incredible driver in potentially sparking new and exciting ideas for others to take positive action,” Palladini said.

Vans has selected 16 charities from around the world to support this year, all with a mission of revitalizing public spaces through arts, sports, culture and social impact programming. The company stated it will donate $1 million in total to these charities, and each regional organization will receive $50,000 from the Vans Checkerboard Fund at Tides Foundation or through a direct donation from the company.

This year’s selected charities are GoodPush, Groundswell, Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, Colectivo Tomate, Nations Skate Youth, Dignity for Children, Another Way of Seeing, ArtDream, Skateboard Academy, Hackney Bumps, Juju Surf Club, Indigo Youth Movement, Girls in Film, Jukebox Collective and The Hub.

What’s more, Vans confirmed that Dosomething.org will receive $250,000, with $25,000 specifically benefiting youth scholarships.

Leading up to the day, Vans has tapped several ambassadors to promote the event via TikTok, which will showcase stories of what community revitalization and creativity mean to them. The ambassador list includes Tony Hawk, Leila Hurst, Justin Henry and others.

Although this year’s event will look a bit different than years past, with COVID-19 still present globally, Palladini said he’s eager to see what the third event brings and is looking forward to what the future of Vans philanthropic efforts hold.

He noted that Checkerboard Day is the brand’s single-largest philanthropic, having generated over $2 million in donations since its inception in 2019. “[We] expect this number to keep climbing each year as we partner with a variety of nonprofits. Vans Checkerboard Day has and will continue to be a moment for us to rally our extended Vans Family around the power of creativity,” Palladini said.

He added, “Whether fans simply wear their checkerboard footwear and apparel on the day in support of the movement, help us to raise additional donations for charity partners or actively participate in specific initiatives that we launch in celebration of Vans Checkerboard Day, our mission is to highlight the role creative self-expression has in making the world better and its ability to drive positive change in our local communities.”

BEST GROUP Photo by Angelo Lanza Sponsored By ITA

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