Foot Locker Inc., the sneaker and athletic wear chain, said on Monday that it had made $54 million in investments and charitable contributions to Black-owned businesses and Black philanthropic causes.
The company said the spending came over a period that began in June 2020 through the end of its 2021 fiscal year, which closed June 30. That time frame is critical as it coincides with a period in which large companies around the country began making public commitments to increase their investments in Black communities after the video recorded murder of George Floyd, a Black man who died at the hands of four now-convicted former Minneapolis cops. Although many companies loudly announced commitments to greater investment, many have also not followed up with public accounting for what happened after those pledges were made.
Foot Locker back in June 2020 announced its $200 million Leading Education and Economic Development, or LEED, initiative, under which the company said it would support Black consumers and entrepreneurs because it owed much of its success to Black culture, which was “pivotal in shaping sneaker culture,” according to the company’s web site.
Under LEED, the company says it has invested $17 million in Black-owned brands and committed $21 million to seven Black-led venture capital funds. It says it also spent some $10.8 million with Black suppliers and professional services firms.
Philanthropically, the company said it had committed between $20,000 and $100,000 each to some 25 community organizations focused on health, wellness and upward mobility, and spent an additional $50,000 on a scholarship program for its Black employees.