Nike, one of the most renowned names in sports apparel across the globe, is dedicated to creating a more just society with the expansion of its Black Community Commitment initiative. In honor of Black History Month, Nike has pledged to invest in wellness programs in Black communities across the country.

Launched in June 2020 following the murder of George Floyd, Nike's Black Community Commitment has committed to investing $40 Million over four years. Now in its third year of existence, Nike, Inc. has invested $28.9 million with national and city-specific partners through this program. In addition, the Jordan Brand and Michael Jordan have committed $100 million over 10 years, to support social justice, educational opportunities, and economic empowerment to combat racial inequities.

This year, Nike is investing $6,500,000 in 10 national organizations along with $8.9 million in new investments across "53 national and local nonprofit organizations focused on education innovation, economic empowerment, and social justice." $6,500,000 of that is going to National organizations, including the Equal Justice Initiative, and the remainder ($2,400,000) goes to local organizations.

During a recent Black Community Commitment event, Karol Callymore, Nike Senior Director of Inclusive Community for Social & Community Impact, moderated a panel with Dr. Patrice Johnson, Chief Program Officer, of Black Girls Code, Dr. Lena Green, Executive Director, of The H.O.P.E. Center, and Melanie Campbell, President & CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation who shared how the organizations have partnered with Nike.

From left: Karol Collymore moderating, Dr. Patrice Johnson, Chief Program Officer, Black Girls Code; Dr. Lena Green, Executive Director, The H.O.P.E. Center and Melanie Campbell, President & CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic. Image: courtesy of Nike.

“We are unapologetic about putting Black girls first in tech. We are invested in showing the world that Black girls are genius, they can build, lead and have the ability to create change,” shared Johnson. “It’s a two-way street, tech needs Black girls, and Black girls need to engage in tech. As a whole, this promotes an equitable economy and we invest in that very boldly.”  

Additionally, she explained the impact of Nike’s recent hackathon event in Atlanta and how Black girls are aspiring to pursue careers in coding.

“97% of the girls that attended said they felt empowered and supported by their Nike mentors. So that engagement over the three days was joyful. Part of what they created were mental wellness apps that would help make well-being a team sport," continued Johnson. "Through the partnership with Nike, we’re able to help our girls better understand some of the fun, real-world applications for a career in coding.”  

“To be able to function at your peak physically you have to be mentally fit. So we focus on bringing those opportunities to our community,” shared Dr. Green. “With the support of Nike, we have been able to create a program specifically for teens called Thrive. It’s focused on suicide prevention for Black and Latinx youth, making sure they’re thinking about what it means to be well and connected.” 

The Hope Center, which was first established at the First Corinthians Baptist Church in Harlem, has since grown into a full-service mental health program for the surrounding community.

Campbell added that a holistic approach to well-being is essential for Black communities to flourish. Without this approach, the often-overlooked and undiagnosed trauma in Black communities will continue to spiral.

“We have a program called Healthy Wealthy Wise. We focus on health, wellness, education, and empowerment in addition to advocacy, organizing, and civic engagement, " shared Campbell. "We do advocacy and civic engagement and then we empower and help folks see and own their power. If we aren’t addressing holistic well-being—mind, body, spirit—in civil rights and social justice work then we aren’t addressing the whole of our community needs, especially those dealing with anxiety and stress.”