Amid the global outpouring of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand are pledging $100 million over the next 10 years to nationwide organizations “dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education.”
“Black lives matter. This isn’t a controversial statement,” read a joint statement from Jordan and his company, which is a subsidiary of Nike. “Until the ingrained racism that allows our country’s institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of Black people.”
Specifically, Jordan Brand will increase its work in communities across the United States to provide access to education and opportunities for future generations, while also taking a more active role in supporting organizations that work to effect policy change in local government.
“We must join forces with the community, government and civic leaders to create a lasting impact together,” Jordan Brand president Craig Williams said. “There is still more work for us to do to drive real impact for the Black Community. We embrace the responsibility.”
The Jordan Brand pledge came hours after Nike announced its own “Commitment to the Black Community,” an additional $40 million collective pledge to community organizations from the Nike, Jordan and Converse brands over the next four years.
“Systemic racism and the events that have unfolded across America over the past few weeks serve as an urgent reminder of the continued change needed in our society,” Nike president and CEO John Donahoe said in a statement.
Nike also unveiled a “For Once, Don’t Do It” video four days after the death of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis police on Memorial Day, which has fueled protests across the nation. Floyd, who is black, died after a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. Chauvin faces second-degree murder and manslaughter charges, while three other officers were charged with aiding and abetting murder and manslaughter.
“We know Black Lives Matter. We must educate ourselves more deeply on the issues faced by Black communities and understand the enormous suffering and senseless tragedy racial bigotry creates,” Donahoe’s statement continued. “The Nike Inc. family can always do more but will never stop striving to role model how a diverse company acts. We will continue our focus on being more representative of our consumers while doing our part in the communities we serve.”
Jordan Brand, launched in 1997 during Jordan’s final season with the Chicago Bulls, has a history of philanthropy. Over the past year, the company has featured a “UNITE” campaign, centered around celebrating global backgrounds and connectivity through sport.
Since 2015, its Wings Scholars Program has provided college scholarships to more than 1,800 students from disadvantaged backgrounds in North America and China. Last week, 32 United States students received “Class of 2024” scholarships, which also include mentoring and internship opportunities with the company.
“Through our Jordan Wings Program, we have been focused on providing access to education, mentorship and opportunity for Black youth facing the obstacles of systemic racism,” Williams said. “But we know we can do more.”