Foot Locker Inc. is once again taking stock of its commitments to support the Black community.
The footwear retailer on Monday announced that it has invested close to $54 million in educational and economic development programs for the Black Community through fiscal year 2021. The achievement was detailed in the company’s second annual progress report, which tracks how Foot Locker is stacking up to the commitments it made two years ago.
In June 2020, Foot Locker Inc. said it would invest $200 million over the next five years to support the Black community via its Leading Education & Economic Development (LEED) Initiative. The company committed to funding Black-owned businesses, increasing the diversity of its global supplier and agencies, and increasing marketing spend with Black entrepreneurs, creators and collaborators. Foot Locker also said it would donate to organizations that create economic development and advancement opportunities for minorities.
Since June 2022, Foot Locker said it has invested more than $17 million invested in Black-owned brands such as Pro Standard, Don C, Abeille Creations, Grady Baby Company & Apparel and Clan de Banlieue and as committed $21 million to seven Black-led VC firms. The company has also invested more than $10.8 million in partnerships with Black-owned vendors for marketing, construction and other business areas.
“Our commitment to the Black community goes beyond words and is part of how we do business,” said Foot Locker chairman and CEO Dick Johnson in a statement. “Through strategic investments, community partnerships, and opportunities that empower, we are taking actionable steps to drive meaningful and lasting change both within our organization and in the communities we serve.”
Foot Locker also noted that it has trained 160 people through a design intensive for underrepresented groups via a partnership with Pensole and New Balance and had donated funds to different groups to serve under-invested communities.
Internally, Foot Locker added 10 scholarship funds for Black employees, expanded an internship program to create a pipeline to corporate jobs and launched a financial literacy program.
Foot Locker provided a similar update last year as well, noting a $5 million investment in the Black-led VC firm MaC Venture Capital, partnerships with 34 new Black brands and creators for collaborations in 2021, a $750,000 commitment to the Pensole Footwear Design Academy to help train the next generation of shoe designers as well as other achievements.
Foot Locker chairman and CEO Dick Johnson has been vocal in his commitment to creating greater equity and inclusion in the footwear industry in recent years. In an open letter in June 2020, he acknowledged the debt that his company owes to the Black community. “We recognize that Black culture plays a pivotal role in shaping sneaker culture — the foundation of our business at Foot Locker Inc.,” he wrote.