Foot Locker Inc. and the Foot Locker Foundation have both teamed up to join forces with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) in a partnership to launch a $3 million, multi-city program that aims to empower youth as well as Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities over the next two years.
According to a press release, the multi-million dollar program will operate across 12 metropolitan areas where the Foot Locker brand shows up largely in local communities — including Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
The Community Empowerment Program will distribute $20,000 grants to nonprofit organizations in these cities that prioritize serving underserved youth, as well as people of color, in an effort to bridge the gaps that exist in health, wealth, equality and opportunity throughout America.
“Inspiring and empowering youth culture is at the core of who we are. We are committed to investing in the next generation and their communities,” Richard Johnson — Chairman and CEO of Foot Locker, Inc. — said in a statement. “Our hope is to drive meaningful change for those who have been underinvested in and underserved for too long. Through investments with local groups who know the communities and issues they face, we can create opportunity today and a brighter, more equitable future for the next generation.”
The new grant program emphasizes the need to support youth services as well as BIPOC-led organizations who often struggle to find access to the resources they need to thrive, especially compared to their white counterparts.
“This is what we mean when we talk about the systemic underpinnings of inequality,” Lisa Glover — interim president and CEO at LISC — declared in a statement. “It isn’t something that people recognize at first glance, but it absolutely impacts the nonprofit sector’s ability to grow BIPOC leadership and serve people of color. And that has a ripple effect that runs through a host of social and economic concerns, essentially offering fewer opportunities for families and communities to thrive.”
It’s also worth noting that because of after-effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, the social and nonprofit sectors are the ones who could most benefit from this new funding.
“This grant program is meant to help deepen their programming so that young people can emerge from the significant stress of the past year—from COVID-19 to racial violence—and see opportunities for the future,” Glover adds.
The new grant program is a joint effort between LISC and Foot Locker, Inc. contributing to their larger efforts that are focused on opportunity and equity.
For Foot Locker, Inc., the new investment ties into the brand’s $200 million Leading Education and Economic Development (LEED) initiative — which prioritizes education and economic development within Black communities.
For LISC, it adds onto its decade-long Project 10X strategy promoting racial justice.