III. Impact Areas



We believe in the power of human potential. We are leveraging the size and reach of our brands to affect positive long-term changes that empower and support the communities in which we live, work and play. We recognize that our work to positively impact energy, labor, chemistry, water and waste also influences the communities across our value chain. We see our work in those areas as part of how we address communities’ basic needs for health, safety and vitality. 

Our Approach

Our community engagement strategy focuses on the following key areas:

  • Expanding access to sport, in order to break and prevent intergenerational cycles of inactivity 
  • Engaging consumers and employees directly to help create innovative solutions to social and environmental issues 
  • Investing in the power of adolescent girls in the developing world via The Nike Foundation 
  • Using sport to help rebuild and strengthen communities devastated by natural disasters

In these areas, we aim to find the most effective and innovative approaches and programs for driving change. When we find those winning strategies, we want to see them tested, refined and taken to scale. Our role varies. Sometimes we find innovative programs or new ideas that need resources to get off the ground. Sometimes we uncover successful programs – hidden gems – and provide the support needed to scale them widely.

As in everything we do, we want to improve our performance, so we strive to better track our community investments and measure our impacts. (Our efforts to better measure results are discussed in the Performance and Progress section.)

Sport: A Powerful Investment to Move Our Kids toward Success

Sport is a universal language. It helps to develop the next generation of youth with skills such as teamwork, determination, self-confidence, creativity, resilience and physical and emotional health. We believe that improving access to sport, play and greater levels of physical activity overall – especially for kids – is one of the greatest investments a society can make.

Sport has the potential to be a powerful force in sustaining and rejuvenating our future, but today its impact is undervalued. Nike sees an opportunity to identify, support and help elevate the people, ideas and opportunities that demonstrate how sport can help to change the world. Nike is committed to protecting access to sport and has developed a number of global initiatives in support of this goal, in collaboration with nonprofits, community organizations and other partners.

In FY10 and FY11, we continued to support a large portfolio of community sport programs around the world. We also invested heavily to consolidate and validate a global fact base on the holistic benefits of sport and physical activity. We directed original research to better understand the cumulative economic burden to countries and societies as a result of physical inactivity.

In FY12, we will share this work in hopes of fostering new partnerships. Specifically, we’ll focus on supporting large-scale investments that invite collaboration across sectors that have the greatest impact on kids’ physical activity. For example: schools, urban design, parks and recreation organizations, local transportation systems and healthcare infrastructures. We will advocate for policies that support such collaborations. And we will work hard to channel collective resources, so that with one voice, we increase the potential of our children through sport, play and increased levels of physical activity.

Nike is certainly not alone in supporting increased access to sport. We have many trusted friends, partners and sports-industry allies who have been sounding the call for decades, investing in and supporting sport and physical activity programs. While there have been a variety of innovative and well-intended efforts, impact could be even greater with increased collaboration by the major players in those sectors that have the greatest effect on whether a kid has access to sport and physical play.

Expanding Our Impact

Scaling the Power of Sport

As a global company, we continue to leverage the power of our employees, consumers and partners to uncover new and exciting innovations that enable a “scaling up” of the power of sport. We have seen some of these innovative ideas grow from simple, direct investments into widely adopted, easily implemented programs with incredible impacts on the lives of young people. We have taken the lead in creating a number of these programs, and we have partnered on others; each have uncovered best practices that have been scaled across the globe. The following are a few examples.

  • Sport for Social Change Networks - The concept was simple – how could we bring together locally relevant, sport-based community programs to share ideas and best practices, leverage funding and create a collective voice around the power of sport to overcome local challenges? Nike worked with CARE, a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty, to fund and convene partners to create Sport for Social Change Networks in southern Africa, eastern Africa, Brazil, the United Kingdom and the United States over the past five years. The Networks have enabled community-based sports programs to learn how to collectively lobby for funding and support from local governments, NGOs and local businesses. Each of the Networks is flourishing – and the community programs are reaching thousands more youth and training more coaches as a result of the collaboration.
  • Homeless World Cup - There are many routes to becoming homeless – losing a job, being unable to cope with addiction, or for whatever reason, falling through the cracks of society. An organization called the Homeless World Cup believes that football (soccer) can be a path forward for tens of thousands of people who become homeless. Our long-term support of the Homeless World Cup, which works with the homeless in order to build camaraderie, resilience and self-esteem, has helped the organization expand to 73 countries around the world, using football as the entry point to help more than 50,000 people annually get back on their feet. Every year the organization holds the Homeless World Cup in a new country, engaging with governments and local businesses in a dialogue to help the homeless reintegrate into society – into educational pathways, into jobs and back into their communities.
  • Grassroots Soccer/Nike(RED) - The world’s beautiful game ignores geographic boundaries, races, religions and gender. So does HIV/AIDS. More than 10 years ago, when a group of players in Zimbabwe saw their friends disappearing from the football (soccer) pitches for no apparent reason, they soon realized that HIV/AIDS was sweeping through their hometowns. They knew the only thing that would stop the disease was to help future generations understand that the decisions they were making in their lives could mean the difference between life and death. To communicate to the neighborhood kids, they created Grassroots Soccer (GRS). Since 2002, Nike has worked with GRS to provide funding, product donations and inspiration to help the organization reach 500,000 young people through their program. We amplified our commitment to organizations like GRS during World Cup 2010 in South Africa with Nike(RED) – using red laces to raise awareness with athletes and fans, and raising funds that would directly benefit community-based football programs designed to educate youth about HIV/AIDS. To date we have granted more than $1.3 million to 55 programs in 21 countries throughout Africa.
  • Magic Bus - India – the world’s second-most populous country – is sports-crazy. It is also home to millions of vulnerable children who do not have access to education, a place to live or a stable home environment. Magic Bus, an India-based organization, saw the opportunity to engage with these children through sport by providing scalable, activity-based programs that include safe places to play. Nike partnered with Magic Bus more than five years ago because we believed that their idea to train volunteer coaches in local villages throughout the country would enable them to reach hundreds of thousands more children. The results speak for themselves: In 2010, school attendance for kids in urban slums and rural villages where Magic Bus operates increased to 78 percent, and 85 percent of participating children went on to get jobs. The results have been so positive that the Indian government has made the Magic Bus curricula part of its national “sport for development” program.
  • Let Me Play - The world’s largest peaceful internal migration is happening in China, as people move from rural areas to urban centers looking for work. As these migrant workers move, they bring their families, but their children do not always receive equal access to public health or education services. Over the past five years, our Let Me Play initiative has connected with children of migrant workers in 11 Chinese cities to promote teamwork, confidence, gender equity and social integration through sport. The proof: More than 80 percent of Let Me Play participants reported gains in self-worth, relationships and studies. The local government has been so impressed with the results that plans to bring the program into additional communities and schools are now underway.
  • Students Run LA - In some parts of Los Angeles, high school graduation rates are as low as 60 percent. Youth inactivity, a lack of mentoring programs and long-term economic challenges contribute to these low rates for vulnerable youth. That is, until they become part of Students Run LA. For more than 23 years, this organization has operated a running and mentoring program that coaches students to run a marathon, while also providing the support they need to graduate from high school. Many of these kids are the first in their families to graduate. Two years ago, Nike partnered with Students Run L.A., providing high-performance running shoes, organizing running events and mobilizing our employees to help slower students run the last four miles of the marathon. In 2011, this program helped 2,800 underserved youth in Los Angeles complete the marathon. The academic results are also impressive: 97 percent of the seniors who ran the marathon in 2011 graduated from high school.
The Nike Foundation

The Nike Foundation – a separate 501(c)3 nonprofit organization fueled primarily by NIKE, Inc., the NoVo Foundation, and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) – is dedicated to investing in adolescent girls as the most powerful force for positive change on the planet.

When we provide a girl in adolescence – before she’s married, pregnant, or HIV-positive – access to education, sport and adult mentorship to develop the life skills necessary to support herself and others around her it’s a solution for poverty, not a cure for its symptoms. That’s the girl effect.

Igniting her potential and transforming her world starts a ripple effect of change – for herself, her family and her community. When a girl in the developing world receives seven years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children. An extra year of secondary school increases her eventual wages 25 percent.

The Nike Foundation’s sole focus is to fuel the girl effect. But we are only one player in a global network of doers, movers and influencers in the girl space. From the World Bank to the Center for Global Development, the Nike Foundation works in collaboration with a host of organizations to communicate broadly (and loudly) about girls, and to scale what works.

Since 2007, the Foundation has committed more than $100 million to programs and partners benefitting adolescent girls. In FY10-11 alone, Nike contributed $27.7 million to the Nike Foundation. Through a formal collaboration with the NoVo Foundation, we ensure our philanthropic investments are having the greatest possible impact. NoVo has fueled the girl effect with $112 million in investments.

The Foundation’s formal strategic joint venture with DFID fuses the Foundation’s private sector and girl expertise with DFID’s robust development network.

The Nike Foundation and DFID jointly operate Girl Hubs in three focus countries: Rwanda, Nigeria and Ethiopia. Girl Hubs equip girls with programs that work to scale. But she must not only be equipped, she must be inspired. By amplifying teen spirit, Girl Hubs are breaking the mold with social communications.

The girl effect starts with one girl. And it ends with 250 million girls leading 2.6 billion people out of poverty. 

Brands and Consumer Engagement

Consumers engage with our brands across the NIKE, Inc. portfolio to support issues they care about. Nike’s global collection of LIVESTRONG products has helped the Lance Armstrong Foundation raise more than $100 million in the fight against cancer. This initiative, one of the most successful to date, supports the 28 million people around the world living with cancer.

In addition, our N7 Fund has helped spur Nike’s commitment to bring sport and all its benefits to Native American and Aboriginal communities in North America by providing support to community-based sport programs. Since the creation of the Air Native sneaker, we have inspired a new generation of athletes to get physically active through the many programs we have been able to support.

Our Affiliate Brands have unique relationships with their consumers and the things they care about, but they all share a commitment to supporting their communities. For example: 

  • Cole Haan has sponsored Penny Harvest since 2008, with the re-imagining of the iconic penny loafer and encouraging school-age children to gather pennies from homes and neighbors as a first phase in a year-long program of lifelong values. Through this program, children collaborate to identify worthy programs to support with their time and the cash that they gather and pool together. 
  • Converse's (Product) RED has connected consumers to supporting those with HIV/AIDS. 
  • Through Hurley's H2O Ripple Effect program, in partnership with Waves For Water, Hurley has helped provide filtration systems to more than 7.5 million people in remote locations and those affected by natural disasters – bringing them access to clean water.
  • In partnership with The Police Community Clubs of Great Britain, Umbro sponsored the National Umbro Community Sports Award in FY11. The award recognizes the positive impact that sports has on young people and brings attention to an innovative, replicable school sports program. 
Dealing with Natural Disasters

We are constantly learning about how to be our best by doing the right thing. There is no more important moment to bring this to life than when communities are devastated by natural disaster.

In the past, our response has been to help disaster-affected communities in short order with funding and product donations, in order to quickly replace what had been lost. However, we found that this work did not always meet the needs of those affected at the right time or in the right ways. And it was not leveraging our core strengths as a company. So we went back to the drawing board to refine our approach.

We realized we could support our NGO partners, such as Mercy Corps and CARE, during the immediate aftermath of a disaster through grant-giving and by supporting our employees who wanted to actively contribute via our matching gift program.

But we also realized that our greatest potential impact would be in an arena where we have expertise, contributing what we know best. So we began to focus on using the power of sport to help youth affected by natural disasters to deal with the trauma of losing loved ones, their homes, their possessions and sometimes even their communities. We partnered with the Swiss Academy for Development, Mercy Corps and CARE to create the Moving Forward program, specifically designed to help communities rebuild after a natural disaster.

With these NGO partners, we created a scientifically tested and proven Moving Forward curriculum that provides teachers, coaches and parents with tools to help youth post-disaster, through carefully designed sporting activities and counseling sessions.

The Moving Forward curriculum has been implemented in many communities around the world, including China, Japan, Haiti and Peru. In each case, the curriculum was adapted to be locally relevant. We feel so passionate about the impact of the Moving Forward program and its adaptability that we have made it available online for any community or organization to use.

Also, in partnership with Architecture for Humanity, we have mobilized a community of Nike employees who volunteer to help in rebuilding schools, and sport and community centers. We are also constantly looking for ways to leverage the power and energy of our brands to mobilize our consumer base in times of need. As a response to the Haiti earthquake in January 2010, more than 1,600 Nike employees made personal donations that totaled more than $170,000. Combined with Nike’s matching funds, the total raised for Haiti disaster relief was $450,000. Then, in the aftermath of the Japan tsunami, Nike contributed $1 million in cash and $250,000 in product. Running posted an “All for Japan” challenge to the global Nike Plus community, where runs logged raised funds for relief and rebuilding efforts. Nike employees gave more than $63,000 to Japan disaster relief in FY11, which NIKE, Inc. matched. 

WE Portal

In FY10, Nike launched a digital employee engagement platform, the WE Portal, which is accessible to all global NIKE, Inc. employees. The WE Portal has evolved to be a worldwide engagement hub, linking Nike employees from 34 countries around social and environmental issues they care about. Via the Portal, employees can get their donation matched by Nike, create volunteering teams, earn points for giving and post community-giving opportunities. The points employees earn can be traded in the Portal’s Giving Marketplace for product that is donated to the community organization of their choice.

In addition to tracking volunteer hours and matching employees’ contributions, the WE Portal increases governance and due diligence in the accounting and reporting of global employee giving and volunteering figures.

In its first two years, about 20 percent of Nike employees, or approximately 7,850 people, joined the WE Portal. Employees have nominated organizations to be included on the Portal, and more than 1,300 globally have been vetted and approved. Over FY10 and FY11, there were more than 2,500 opportunities posted by employees, encouraging others to give, volunteer, rally or otherwise get involved. More than 135 teams have formed around employee-led causes and interests.

In the future, the WE Portal will be expanded to foster employee-led innovation, empowering the global NIKE, Inc. employee community across functions and geographies to share information, ideas and innovation.

Nike School Innovation Fund

In January 2007, Nike created the Nike School Innovation Fund (NSIF) – a $9-million, five-year commitment to support public education in Oregon’s Beaverton, Hillsboro and Portland school districts. The vision for the NSIF is to use the power of innovation to fuel excellence in education, the driving force behind a productive society.

Through partnerships with school districts near Nike’s hometown, the Fund helps to:

  • Create strategic partnerships with school leadership teams 
  • Accelerate the sharing of best practices by encouraging districts to collaborate on common challenges 
  • Enhance teacher and principal development with a relentless focus on improved student achievement 
  • Invest in the school districts’ youngest learners to improve school readiness 

Since its inception, the program has invested in more than 250 teachers and 75 principals, benefiting more than 100,000 kids each year. More than 300 Nike employees have volunteered their time, and 30 company leaders have developed strategic and sustained relationships with principals and school leadership teams. The program focuses on young learners and teacher leadership, and student achievement indicators are trending positive. Students in summer “early literacy academies” have improved reading scores, and student writing scores for schools participating in the leadership collaborative exceed overall district gains.

In July 2011, the White House lauded the work of the NSIF, and Nike leadership was invited to participate in a roundtable with President Barack Obama on how corporate partnerships can help transform the American education system.

The Nike Employee Grant Fund

The Nike Employee Grant Fund makes grants of $500,000 per year in communities near Nike’s global headquarters. Funding priority areas include: the environment, education, social inclusion and health. Within each area, priority is given to projects that incorporate physical activity or sustainability practices and have the potential for broad, lasting community impact. In FY11, funding was funneled to 44 programs and served more than 28,000 people. Nike employees serve on the committee to review grant applications and make funding recommendations in collaboration with The Oregon Community Foundation. 

Progress and Performance

In FY07, we set a target to achieve a total of $315 million in contributions by FY11. In FY10/11, our total community investment was just under $100 million, including product donations, cash and in-kind services provided to our community partners, bringing our cumulative total (since FY07) to $268.7 million, or 85 percent of our target. Overall giving was down slightly from previous years but grew in Asia, emerging markets and the Americas.

During the latter part of this goal period (in FY10/11), we have been working to identify the greatest areas of impact and difference, streamline some of our processes and partnerships and sharpen the focus of our investments. Due to a reorganization of our business in FY09, some of the donation figures on file are not comparable to later years, as community giving is tracked by differently defined geographic areas matching to how we are now organized.

We have also come to realize that one of the most powerful ways we can make a difference – beyond the dollars and time that Nike and our employees donate – is by inspiring a ripple effect of giving among others which extends to include like-minded partners, including our consumers. When you consider the funds the NoVo Foundation invested in the Nike Foundation to support girls, alongside money raised by Converse (RED)-branded merchandise to support anti-poverty efforts, and the 84 million LIVESTRONG wristbands that have been distributed worldwide in support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, it adds up to a much larger ripple – in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Measuring the Impact of Our Giving

Creating social change is complex; so is measuring it. In FY05/06, Nike committed to measure the social impact of our community investments. Over the next four years, we sought the counsel of NGOs, academics and other experts in the field. We learned that there is no single standard for measuring social impact, and that qualitative data is equally important to inform strategy and a key contributor to a more comprehensive picture. We realized we would have to find a methodology to measure and evaluate the effectiveness of our community investments.

In FY08, we partnered with the Women’s Funding Network and piloted their “Making the Case” framework to better track our social impact over time. An expanded roll-out occurred in FY10 across many of our sport-related community investments. A key component of this framework centers on the principle of “Shifts” as the indicators of social change – for example, if a Shift in behavior has occurred, social change has taken place.

Using this framework, we evaluated the results of more than 200 Nike projects conducted over five years, which reached more than 2 million people directly. We found that key social changes did occur, most notably Shifts in behavior and in engagement, especially when alliance-building was a component of the program. We will be using this data to refine our methodology and help direct funding more effectively in the years to come. 

Let us know how we're doing!

SureNot Now