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Levi Strauss Foundation: Making Progress Possible


When I think about what makes the Levi Strauss Foundation special, I always return to Levi Strauss & Co.’s enduring values: courage, empathy, originality and integrity.

In 2013, guided by those values, we devoted the vast majority of our grant dollars to advance the human rights and well-being of underserved communities touched by our business—more than any other corporate grantmaker.

Aaron Dorfman, Executive Director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP), recently reminded us that, “the truth is that philanthropy doesn’t always prioritize and empower those with the least wealth and opportunity.” In fact, NCRP’s research shows that only one out of every three dollars granted by foundations in the United States benefits low-income and marginalized populations.

As part of a company known for pushing the frontiers of possibility, the Levi Strauss Foundation believes that progress is possible when you empower those thought to be powerless to improve their own lives and their communities.

That’s why this year we continued to champion nonprofit leaders and organizations that advocate the human rights of people affected by HIV/AIDS around the globe. Like our community partners, we believe that all people, regardless of social or economic background, have the right to access HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care services—free from stigma and discrimination. Every day, Levi Strauss & Co. extends this humane approach to the HIV/AIDS epidemic to its employees worldwide.

It’s also why, through the company’s Improving Workers’ Well-Being initiative, the Levi Strauss Foundation supports high-impact initiatives that improve the well-being of apparel workers who make our products. Based on workers’ self-identified needs, in 2013 we supported health and financial trainings and services in five key supplier factories. In 2014, we’ll continue to team up with experienced local nonprofit organizations and factory management to roll out programs tailored to the needs of each workforce.

Results like these are possible owing to the remarkable commitment and talent of our community partners. They courageously stand on the front lines of the social issues of our time. They help advance justice and improve the lives of disadvantaged people in communities everywhere.

Finally, I would like to thank you, our consumer. It‘s your loyalty to the brands of Levi Strauss & Co. that makes our foundation’s work possible.

To learn more about our current programs, please watch the video below.