TAKING ACTION: In the midst of what is shaping up to be a cataclysmic week for many communities that have been ravaged by looting, Banana Republic has started the “Will Work for a Better Republic” initiative by donating more than $20 million of new clothing to those in need.
The efforts are geared to the millions of unemployed Americans who need support “getting back to work and getting back on their feet,” according to press material unveiling the program. The retailer has partnered with Delivering Good, a nonprofit that connects retailers, manufacturers, foundations and individuals to support underprivileged Americans. Banana Republic will donate apparel to a variety of partner organizations in some of the U.S. states that have been most impacted, including Hour Working Women Program in New York, Central City Neighborhood Partners in Los Angeles, and Family Focus Englewood in Chicago, among others.
Mark Breitbard, head of Banana Republic and Gap Inc. specialty brands, said, “As America faces historic unemployment rates, Banana Republic ‘Will Work for a Better Republic,’ helping Americans get back to work by providing confidence through clothing they can wear for interviews and in different work environments, including working from home.”
Monday marked the seventh consecutive night of protests in the U.S., sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who had been under police custody. Ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Gap Inc., the parent company of Banana Republic, Gap, Athleta and Old Navy, and scores of retailers have had their stores looted, due to vandalism in cities. Police in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Atlanta and Los Angeles, among others, are dealing with varying degrees of vandalism. With more than 700 community partners, Delivering Good helps those dealing with homelessness, job loss and poverty. Banana Republic’s donation will be used for nonprofits that focus on workforce training and re-entry programs, according to president and chief executive officer Lisa Gurwitch.
On Sunday, Gap Inc. revealed a $250,000 donation to support the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and EmbraceRace to fight for equal rights.
Prior to the outbreak of riots, the Gap Foundation had made a $1 million donation to local, state, national and international nonprofits to help underserved families during the coronavirus crisis.