Vans President Sends COVID-19 Letter

by The Editors on April 22, 2020

Vans Global Brand President Doug Palladini sent a letter to Vans employee world wide outlining the work that Vans is currently doing to support those in need. He included the Vans ‘Foot The Bill’ initiative, product donations and partnership with Hedley & Bennett to use Vans’ shoe canvas to make and donate more than 250,000 reusable facial masks.

As a brand engrained in the belief that we aren’t a shoe and apparel company but a people company that makes shoes and apparel, looking after our people has always been and will remain our top priority. This commitment rang true in March as we made the decision to shift corporate offices to remote working and temporarily closed our stores in the U.S. and Canada to prioritize the safety and health of you and all of our store associates. I am especially humbled by the fact that in partnership with VF Corp., we’ve been able to ensure that our store associates have continued to receive full pay and benefits during closures. Additionally, I want to express my personal appreciation for our distribution center associates who continue to facilitate consumer purchases from Vans.com. Their dedication to our brand is truly inspiring and together with VF Corp., we continue to implement proactive steps to uphold the well-being of our associates.

During these rough times it’s great to see good people (and brands) rising to the challenge in such positive ways. So stoked that Vans is able to do the right thing for their employees and for people around the world. For the entire letter, please follow the jump.

To our Vans Family everywhere,

We have all lived through the evolution of COVID-19 and continue to personally experience its drastic impact and disruption on our work and home lives. While the lasting impact of this global pandemic is unclear, I am overwhelmingly proud of what Vans is doing to support those in need as our global communities continue to grapple with the realities of COVID-19.

As a brand engrained in the belief that we aren’t a shoe and apparel company but a people company that makes shoes and apparel, looking after our people has always been and will remain our top priority. This commitment rang true in March as we made the decision to shift corporate offices to remote working and temporarily closed our stores in the U.S. and Canada to prioritize the safety and health of you and all of our store associates. I am especially humbled by the fact that in partnership with VF Corp., we’ve been able to ensure that our store associates have continued to receive full pay and benefits during closures. Additionally, I want to express my personal appreciation for our distribution center associates who continue to facilitate consumer purchases from Vans.com. Their dedication to our brand is truly inspiring and together with VF Corp., we continue to implement proactive steps to uphold the well-being of our associates.

To help our extended Vans Family, we recently launched ‘Foot The Bill’, which is focused on supporting small businesses who are feeling the incredible strain that COVID-19 has put on their livelihoods. 160 community-driven businesses that touch our four brand pillars of art, music, action sports and street culture have been given access to design and upload a Customs pattern that represents their unique persona. Fans can support their local business by selecting its pattern for purchase and further customizing it through the Vans Customs offerings. Net proceeds of each pair sold will go directly towards helping that small business partner and means we have committed to contributing up to approximately $4 million USD.

Furthermore, as a global footwear and apparel manufacturer, we recognize our responsibility to answer the call to help the many individuals who are risking their own health and well-being to provide vital services to those in need during this pandemic. We were determined to answer this call and have since redirected a portion of our supply chain operations to partner with Hedley & Bennett, current Vans partner and kitchen and workwear brand, in the creation of more than 250,000 reusable facial masks made from the canvas we utilize for Vans shoes. Beginning in May, these masks will be donated to organizations across Los Angeles and beyond who are working on the front lines to ensure those in need receive meals.

We’ve also partnered with designer Michael Schmidt through the donation of more than 40,000 Vans shoelaces to enable their effort to create and donate medical face shields. With two 18” shoelaces required per face shield, the shoelaces will provide a critical component for 20,000 units to be donated to health workers across the U.S.

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, it is inspiring to see in times of crisis, the power of volunteering and those who are striving to help communities adjust and overcome struggles. As a thank you to the countless volunteers working tirelessly across food banks in some of the hardest hit regions of the U.S. such as California, New Jersey, Texas, Michigan, Florida, Virginia and Georgia, we just want to say thank you. To date, we’ve donated more than 13,500 pairs of shoes and are dedicated to ensuring this number grows.

It is also important to note that we aren’t alone in our commitment to support our extended Vans Family and communities during these tough times. As you all would have seen, the VF Foundation, the private grantmaking organization funded by VF Corporation has made the initial commitment to donate $1.5 million USD to support local communities and a further two-for-one community match campaign, up to an additional $500,000. I encourage each of you to visit the websites of our sister brands to learn more about how each is answering the call to action through various monetary, product, and material donations and how you personally can help.

While the global COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact many aspects of our lives, I am incredibly proud of the resilient and ongoing commitment of our global Vans Family. It is through our combined efforts and commitment to our communities that we will help ensure a brighter future.

Thank you,

Doug Palladini
Global Brand President / Vans
Off The Wall Since ‘66

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