Over the past few weeks, Nike and the Nike Foundation have committed more than $25 million to global COVID-19 response efforts.
Senior Director of Portfolio, Strategy, and Operations for Social & Community Impact, Brian Christiansen, and the Social & Community Impact (SCI) team help to fulfill the brand’s COVID-19 response strategy.
Brian shared that Nike is a global company, but it takes a local approach. Their local communities are a critical part of its everyday efforts – whether that’s getting kids active through their Made to Play commitment, leveling the playing field for all, or responding to this pandemic.
One of the more recent, key elements they incorporated into their COVID-19 strategy was the donation of products.
In total, Nike has donated more than 140,000 pieces of footwear, apparel and equipment globally, worth more than $5.5 million to meet the needs of healthcare workers on the ground as well as community members impacted most by the pandemic.
This includes Nike’s recent donation of 32,500 Air Zoom Pulse footwear – launched late last year in response to everyday heroes, our healthcare athletes – to frontline healthcare workers in Barcelona, Berlin, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Memphis, Milan, New York City, Paris and across Belgium.
In March, Nike also launched its “Play Inside, Play for the World” brand message specifically in response to COVID-19 and its impact on communities.
Nike is continuing to share the message that athletes may not be able to play together and they can’t play for crowds, but they can and are playing for millions by staying home and playing for the world.
Nike’s innovation, manufacturing and product teams have also worked closely with health professionals at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Through this partnership, they’ve been able to develop PPE in the form of full-face shields and powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) lenses to protect against the coronavirus. Currently, Nike is donating full-face shields and PAPR lenses to health systems across Oregon, along with health systems in the greater Boston, Memphis, Tennessee, and St. Louis areas.
So far, Nike’s commitment has provided grants to 10 major organizations around the globe, as well as $2.1 million to local organizations in communities impacted by the pandemic.
For example, Nike is working to support the WHO’s efforts to help countries prepare for and respond to the pandemic through a $1 million donation to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, created by the United Nations Foundation and Swiss Philanthropy Foundation.
Nike is also focused on providing support to its employee backyards and key cities where it has deep relationships. These donations will support on-the-ground organizations that need it the most. Nike is identifying where those needs exist and how it can help, based on feedback from its local team members and our community partners.
In the coming weeks and months, Nike will continue to support community organizations during this time as they have also been economically impacted by COVID-19.
“Focusing on our employees, it’s been energizing to see them respond with both generosity and innovation as well,” said Brian. “We’re offering a two-to-one match on all employee donations to support community organizations who are directly supporting COVID-19 efforts and all others that are in need of support.”
As they evolve their response, Nike plans to provide more value through its digital channels — while keeping community at the forefront.
Nike will continue to shift its digital ecosystem – including within its apps, social channels and Nike.com – to focus on providing tools, motivation and affirmation to help fuel physical and mental health.
Brian also emphasized the strength of their response efforts and the impact they’ve been able to make has come from their focus on and prioritization of community. “Community has been at the core of who we are and what we do,” he said. “This company value combined with a strong brand, committed leadership, and engaged employees enable us to respond when and where our communities need us the most, and in ways that only Nike can.”
Brian Christiansen has been a member of the CSR Board since 2019. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.