Equinox is pledging $1 million to charity in the wake of the controversy surrounding real estate developer Stephen Ross.
Ross — the Related Cos. chairman behind Hudson Yards, SoulCycle and Equinox — came under fire last week when news broke he was hosting a fundraiser for President Donald Trump at his Hamptons home with tickets going for up to $250,000.
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Equinox executive chairman and managing partner, Harvey Spevak, wrote to gym members in an e-mail on Thursday, speaking out on the controversy and announcing the company will be donating $1 million to a number of charities.
“The last week has been difficult for all,” he wrote. “I am sorry for the impact it has had on our community — and I’m sorry we haven’t said more. We have not been ignoring the situation. I have been in our clubs listening to our teams and members. I really appreciate the open and honest feedback I received.”
Celebrities, fashion designers and others on social media expressed their outrage over Ross’ fundraiser, targeting the many brands he’s behind. A social media boycott has been called against Equinox and SoulCycle, with many canceling their memberships. Designers like Prabal Gurung and Rag & Bone have also pulled their upcoming NYFW shows from Ross’ Hudson Yards.
The $1 million donation will be made to Cycle for Survival, a cancer research charity, The Heroes Project, a charity benefiting injured veterans, Move for Minds, a women-based Alzheimer’s charity, The Felix Organization, a charity benefiting children in foster care, and House Lives Matter, which benefits sexual and gender minority people of color.
“While I don’t have all the answers, what we have heard from many of you is that you would like Equinox to immediately help amplify your voice in support of causes we as a community have always held close,” Spevak continued.
Gym members will have the opportunity to select how the donation will be allocated to the charities from Aug. 17 to Aug. 31.
In the e-mail, Spevak also reiterated that Ross is not a majority investor in Equinox and doesn’t run the company. When news surfaced on Ross’ fundraiser on Aug. 7, Equinox released a statement on its Twitter account stating that the company and SoulCycle were not in support of the fundraiser and that no company profits are used to fund politicians.
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