Colin Kaepernick, with teammates Eli Harold and Eric Reid of the San Francisco 49ers, kneel for the anthem prior to the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. on Oct. 23, 2016.
Michael Zagaris—San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Nike has a track record of being one step ahead of its competitors in channeling cultural movements. In 2018, the brand made headlines when it released its ad featuring athlete turned activist Colin Kaepernick, resulting in a $6 billion increase in market value and demonstrating that social equity and brand equity can mix. In 2020, as protests against systemic racism swept the U.S., Nike was not the only brand to release a message advocating for change—nor the only to promise to its employees that it would do better—but it was among the first to announce a nine-figure donation, pledging $140 million in total funding to social-justice organizations.

Correction, April 27

The original version of this story stated that Nike pledged $40 million in funding to social-justice organizations. Nike, Converse, Jordan Brand and Michael Jordan pledged to commit a combined $140 million in funding.

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