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Foot Locker announces $54 million investment to support the Black community

The footwear company announced funding to provide educational and economic opportunities for Black students, businesses and nonprofit groups.
A Foot Locker store in Chicago in 2021.
A Foot Locker store in Chicago in 2021.Scott Olson / Getty Images

One of the country’s leading athletic retailers is giving back to the Black community.

To kick off National Black Business Month in August, Foot Locker Inc. has revealed it invested close to $54 million in the Black community through its fiscal year ending in 2021. 

The investment, which went to fund the Leading Education and Economic Development Initiative, or LEED, was detailed in the company’s second annual progress report, which tracks Foot Locker’s recent commitments. Launched in June 2020, the initiative aims to expand programming for Black students while increasing efforts to work with Black businesses — including nonprofit groups, vendors and creatives. It is part of the retailer’s commitment to provide $200 million to the Black community.

“Our commitment to the Black community goes beyond words and is part of how we do business,” Foot Locker Chairman and CEO Richard Johnson said 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.” 

The program has empowered Black entrepreneurs and designers by investing $17 million in Black-owned brands, including Abeille Creations, which collaborated with Foot Locker to design custom athletic apparel. LEED also partnered with seven Black-led venture capital firms and invested $10.8 million in partnerships with Black-owned vendors, including Obsidianworks, the media and marketing agency co-founded by actor Michael B. Jordan. 

Foot Locker’s funding also aims to help its Black employees and students. Through LEED, the retailer added 10 annual scholarships to its $50,000 scholarship program for store associates who are advancing their educations. In addition, LEED oversees the Bridge Internship program to help store associates advance their careers into corporate positions, and it launched a financial literacy program.

The sneaker retailer has expanded its efforts globally through its Foot Locker Foundation Community Empowerment Program, first announced last year. In partnership with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation — a national community development organization — the initiative provided scholarships of $20,000 to $100,000 to 25 community organizations to help advance Black communities in 19 cities around the globe. 

“The past few years have been difficult for young people — particularly in Black and Brown communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic,” LISC CEO Lisa Glover said in a statement in January. “In establishing this program, Foot Locker, Inc. has recognized the ongoing impact of systemic racism, prioritized the needs of teens and young adults, and committed capital to on-the-ground strategies that directly address the local challenges. We are grateful for their thoughtful engagement in these important issues.”

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