Impact Makers: Levi
Giving Back Never Goes Out of Style:
Levi Strauss Foundation responds to issues affecting marginalized and disenfranchised communities
The Levi Strauss Foundation is the corporate foundation of Levi Strauss & Co., one of the world's largest brand-name apparel companies and a global leader in jeanswear. The Foundation’s philanthropic work is grounded in the company's values of originality, integrity, empathy and courage. Their mission is to advance the human rights and well-being of under-served people around the globe in places where Levi Strauss & Co. has a business presence.
The Foundation embraces the energy and events of our time by supporting community partners who work on the front lines of social change in issues of HIV/AIDS, social justice and the rights and well-being of apparel works. Since its inception in 1952, the Foundation has invested over $340 million in supporting marginalized populations through long-term partnerships and responsive general support grants to grassroots organizations.
Through CyberGrants, the Levi Strauss Foundation is able to save time, streamline communication and expedite disbursements for its grantees. CyberGrants Disbursements Solutions allows for a more-efficient approach - reducing the administrative overhead for both the Foundation and the community partners they work with. This means more than 97% of their philanthropy dollars are available to the NPOs to devote to their causes. The funds flow is predictable, but the flexibility remains so the Foundation can pivot when need arises and funds must be disbursed with urgency. “The CyberGrants team is a true partner, and their system facilitates our ability to respond strategically, getting funds to those who are most vulnerable in the moment”, says Sarah Negron, Finance and Grants Coordinator at Levi Strauss Foundation,
This year the Levi Strauss Foundation is responding to two issues affecting the most marginalized and disenfranchised communities: voter access and COVID-19.
In early February, the Foundation allocated more than $1.0 million to support voting rights and engagement for the 2020 election. This funding supports the activation of all citizens in the democratic process, registration of new voters and removal of barriers to voting. Each community partner supported through this portfolio is leading high-touch, high-impact engagement efforts targeting marginalized communities who are too often left out of the democratic process. Together they seek to educate, empower and activate millions of voters across the nation.
In response to COVID-19, the Foundation is providing $2.0 million in responsive grants to partners addressing the urgent needs of communities most impacted by the pandemic – specifically immigrants, refugees, women, LGBTQ communities, low-income and unhoused people, and apparel workers.
In these early days of a crisis that is likely to have long-lasting impacts, the Foundation believes it can play a vital role in protecting some of the most vulnerable. Today they are proud to support vanguard organizations that are championing marginalized people who are likely to be most affected, including:
- Chinese for Affirmative Action, which is fighting back against the coronavirus-related racism directed toward Asian Americans.
- VisionSpring, which is helping factories pivot to produce protective gear for community health workers in communities where apparel workers live.
- Various other organizations – like the Bay Area’s Tipping Point, Swasti in India, Doctors Without Borders and the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Rights – that are addressing the very real impacts the pandemic is having on vulnerable communities.
In addition to a first round of more than 15 grants, LSF will continue to support its current grantees to ensure that they are well-positioned to meet the needs of the communities they serve, and is gearing up to lend additional support where it is most needed in the coming months.
We congratulate the Levi Strauss Foundation for their creative problem solving, inclusivity and commitment to supporting change and changemakers in our most vulnerable communities. It is our privilege to help streamline and simplify their grantmaking process so they can focus more resources on their mission and causes of today.
The grantmaking process will always be full of challenges to overcome, but with collaborative partnerships, insights garnered from years of experience, and the industry's most flexible platform, an efficient grantmaking process is completely possible.
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