Nike supports nonprofits to assist evacueees in Gulf Coast region
October 10, 2005
Beaverton, OR, (10 October, 2005) — More than 850 Oregon-based Nike employees gathered today to begin packing 10,000 Comfort Kits for children in Louisiana and Mississippi who were evacuated from their homes in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and are now getting ready to go back to school later this month. The company is partnering with Mercy Corps on the packing and delivery of the kits containing school supplies and other comforting items which will reach the children this week. Nike President of U.S. Operations Gary DeStefano was joined by Mercy Corps founder Dan O’Neill and Katrina Assistance team aid worker Eric Block to recognize the efforts of employees who have been collecting items for the kits since mid-September and who are now committing one hour of their time to navigate a giant assembly line as part of the two-day process of packing 10,000 kits.
In addition to the partnership with Mercy Corps, DeStefano, who was also joined by former NBA star Kenny Smith and WNBA player Swin Cash, announced that this year’s annual community involvement celebration will be recognized for the next 90 days in a unique partnership with Hands On Portland. The 90-day community action plan will create 2,000 volunteer opportunities available to Oregon employees via website registration on the company’s intranet. All volunteer opportunities will be directed towards efforts already underway to serve Gulf Coast region relief and recovery efforts, including additional projects with Mercy Corps, packing medical supplies with Northwest Medical Teams, working with affected animals through the Cat Adoption Team, and establishing quilting circles to create quilts and other bedding items.
“Connecting with communities through employee involvement is at the heart of who we are as an Oregon company,” said Gary DeStefano, Nike President of U.S. Operations. “This year, given the extraordinary circumstances of Hurricane Katrina, we decided to evolve our annual community involvement day celebration into a longer period of time with the goal to help Oregon-based nonprofit organizations who are also committed to helping individuals and families in the Gulf Coast region rebuild their lives.”
The 10,000 Comfort Kits being created by Nike employees will help fill the high demand for kits from Gulf Coast schools. The partnership with Mercy Corps on this project began one month ago and has resulted in the collection of thousands of items donated by employees such as notebook paper, pencils, stuffed animals and other school supplies or comforting items that will be packed into individual backpacks donated by Nike. As soon as the kits are ready, they will be loaded into four 26-foot trucks funded by the company that will depart for Mercy Corps’ warehouse in Hattiesburg, Miss., where they will be delivered by aid workers to more schools throughout the region in the coming weeks.
"The response from school districts in the Gulf for these Comfort Kits has been overwhelming", said Mercy Corps founder Dan O'Neill. "With the assistance we received today from Nike employees, we will be able to help comfort 10,000 more children on their first day of school."
Employees across the country will also be establishing their own regional community action plans to support the Gulf Coast region.
Nike’s total cash and product assistance to date has topped $5 million for on-the-ground efforts in Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as the company’s backyard communities in which evacuees are beginning to or may relocate.
In fiscal year 2005 ended May 31, 2005, Nike donated $46.1 million in cash, product and in-kind contributions to charitable organizations worldwide -- $2.9 million of it right here in our own backyard to hundreds of Oregon non-profits. Nike employees also play an important role in the company's community give-back efforts—not just on Community Involvement Day, but every day of the year. In the U.S., Nike matches eligible employee contributions to valid non-profit organizations dollar-for-dollar and matches volunteer time at $10 an hour, up to a total match of $5,000 each year for every employee. In FY '05, Nike matched employee donations in Oregon of approximately $1.7 million, with $1.2 million as cash and more than 50,000 hours of volunteer time for a total of $500,000.
About Nike NIKE, Inc. based in Beaverton, Oregon is the world's leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly owned Nike subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic footwear, apparel and accessories; Bauer NIKE Hockey Inc., a leading designer and distributor of hockey equipment; Cole Haan(R), which designs, markets, and distributes fine dress and casual shoes and accessories; Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes action sports and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories and Exeter Brands Group LLC, which designs and markets athletic footwear and apparel for the value retail channel.
About Mercy Corps Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. The agency's programs currently reach 7 million people in more than 35 countries. Since 1979, Mercy Corps has provided over $1 billion in assistance to people in 81 nations. Mercy Corps is a nonprofit organization with headquarters in Portland, Seattle, Cambridge, Washington, D.C. and Edinburgh, Scotland.
About Hands On Portland The first and only organization in Portland of its kind, Hands On Portland makes volunteering easy and meaningful by providing well-managed and flexibly scheduled volunteer opportunities for 10,000 volunteers a year. Founded in 1996, HOP pumps more than $100,000 worth of people power into the Greater Portland community each year while working with 300 non-profit community partners. For more information on ways to volunteer, log on to www.handsonportland.org.