On Monday, Gucci revealed the details of its new “Changemakers” program, which is committed to fostering diversity and inclusion within the company and beyond. The brand has been working on building a longer-term diversity project since February, when it was forced to pull a sweater from stores after observers pointed out that it had what looked like a blackface motif.
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“Through our Changemakers program, we will invest important resources to unify and strengthen our communities across North America, with a focus on programs that will impact youth and the African-American community.” said Gucci President and CEO Marco Bizzarri in a statement.
The Gucci Changemakers program is three-pronged. First, there’s a $5 million fund, which will focus on “building strong connections and opportunities within the African-American community and communities of color at-large,” in cities like Atlanta, Chicago, and Detroit. Distribution of said funds to local nonprofit organizations will be overseen by a Changemakers Council, which is still in formation, but presently includes names like Cleo Wade, DeRay McKesson, and Will.i.am.
A parallel $5 million Changemakers Fund will also be established in the Asia Pacific region in June.
There is also a $1.5 milllion Gucci Changemakers Scholarship Fund, which will build on the company’s preexisting scholarship program by extending funds to “more diverse talent in North America” with an interest in fashion. The Changemakers Council will select the student recipients, who will be given a $20,000 grant toward completing their college education over the course of four years.
Finally, there’s a volunteering program, which provides Gucci employees worldwide up to four paid days off for volunteering activities in their local communities.
Harlem designer Dapper Dan, who is now an official Gucci collaborator, has spearheaded the Changemakers initiative on behalf of the black community and fashion as a whole. “It is imperative that we have a seat at the table to say how we should be represented and re-imagined,” he said.
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