Following Gucci’s lead, Levi’s has announced that they will give over $1 million to help end gun violence. Dubbed the Safer Tomorrow Fund, the donation was announced by president and CEO Chip Bergh in an open letter in Fortune.
Gun violence is estimated to have taken the lives of 9,879 people in America just in 2018 alone. In February, Gucci donated $500,000 to the March For Our Lives rally, the march that took place after the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people.
The company started the Safer Tomorrow Fund which will disperse $1 million over four years to support non-profits and activists who are working to stop gun violence.
“We can’t take on every issue,” Bergh wrote in his letter. “But as business leaders with power in the public and political arenas, we simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to issues that threaten the very fabric of the community where we live and work. While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option.”
The fund was created in collaboration with Everytown for Gun Safety and the Levi’s-created group Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety. It’s been a week of businesses getting political, with Nike’s campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick causing a stir earlier this week. In addition to the anti-gun violence fund, Bergh writes that Levi Strauss & Co. provides its employees with 60 paid volunteer hours a year and “recently expanded this to include political activism.”
As i-D notes, it’s a particularly brave move for a company steeped in American western culture and workwear. “But for Levi’s, more than Nike, the decision to position itself so prominently as a supporter of gun control seems particularly revolutionary,” Roisin Lanigan points out. “After all, Levi’s aesthetic is one firmly rooted in the idea of the working class, blue-collar worker, and deeply connected to the American ideal of the frontier, of cowboys and gun-toting rebels.”
But Levi’s has supported progressive change as far as back as the ‘40s, when the company desegregated its factories, and in the ‘80s when they donated over $60 million to the HIV/AIDS crisis.
“While each one of these stands may have been controversial at the time, history proved the company right in the long run,” Bergh wrote. “And I’m convinced that while some will disagree with our stand to end gun violence, history will prove this position right too.”