Levi Strauss Foundation Provided $9.3M to These Causes in 2023

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Levi Strauss Foundation (LSF) provided $9.3 million to more than 90 partners in communities around the world where Levi Strauss & Co. has a business presence last year.

The foundation released its “2023 Year in Review” report outlining the work it did across its four areas of focus: democracy, immigrant rights, reproductive justice and worker rights and well-being. The topics were often the talking points for outspoken former LS&Co. president and CEO Chip Bergh.

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Additionally, LSF employed “racial and gender justice lenses” to its grantmaking and strategy for selecting partners, according to the report.

“Looking back on 2023, we are incredibly humbled to stand alongside our pioneering community partners who are driving social change in communities around the globe,” said Fatima Angeles, LSF’s executive director. “Looking ahead to 2024, we are eager to learn from our partners and deepen our commitment to advance justice in equity.”

Despite the denim giant’s refusal to sign the International Accord for Health and Safety in the Textile and Garment Industry and recent strikes at one of its Turkish suppliers, LSF provided the most funds to organizations that support apparel workers in key LS&Co. sourcing countries.

A total of $2.18 million distributed across 45 grants aim to expand workers’ rights, assist factories in implementing policies and programs that foster a healthy workplace and address systemic root causes of poor health and well-being.

Efforts to establish and protect a strong and inclusive democracy ramped up ahead of the 2024 U.S. presidential election. Protecting voting rights, strengthening civic engagement and efforts to rebuild the public’s trust news media informed where and how the foundation granted funding.

A total of $2 million was granted to 11 new grants and 27 active grants with the average grant size being $185,455.

LSF also focused on topics that will be affected by the election outcome. In 2023, LSF granted $1.12 toward organizations that advance equitable and inclusive immigration policies and enforcement practices. One of the foundation’s goals is to advocate for permanent, equitable and dignified pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

LSF gave 23 grants toward the cause with the average grant size being $120,000.

A total of $2 million was granted to causes that advance policy and legal change to protect and expand access to reproductive health services, especially in marginalized communities. In 2023, LSF provided an average grant of $117,412 toward efforts to ensure access to services including abortion.

Following the overturn of Roe v. Wade in 2022, the landmark 1973 ruling that declared legal abortion a constitutional right, LS&Co. published a blog post about how reproductive health care including abortion has been a “critical factor” in the workplace gains women have made over the past 50 years, and how it would affect businesses internally.

“Given what is at stake, business leaders need to make their voices heard and act to protect the health and well-being of our employees. That means protecting reproductive rights,” the company stated.

The foundation ended its HIV/AIDS grant program, however. Since 1983, LSF and LS&Co. have together invested more than $85 million in organizations in the U.S. and around the world that address the health crisis. The foundation stated that given the “significant increase in the HIV/AIDS funding environment over the years,” it believes it will have a greater impact in other areas.

To wrap up its four decades of support, LSF created a secondary report called “HIV/AIDS Summary Report: Four Decades of Learning” to provide other corporate foundations guidance.

The foundation will also continue to match employee donations to HIV/AIDS related organizations.