HanesBrands, a clothing company that owns well-known brands, such as Hanes, Champion, and Bonds, has announced an investment of $2 million in three historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). As part of this investment, the company will be partnering with North Carolina A&T, Winston-Salem State University, and Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design for four years.
The partnership will see funding for research and support to students in fashion design, information technology, sustainability, data analytics, marketing, finance, and supply chain management, among others. The financial support will come in the form of internships, scholarships, and mentorships.
Talking about the partnership, Harold L. Martin, Sr., chancellor, North Carolina, A&T University, said, â€œThis partnership will give students industry and research experience that will lead to rewarding careers of impact after graduation, as well as growing a stronger workforce for HanesBrands and North Carolina more broadly.â€
Elwood L. Robinson, chancellor, Winston-Salem State University, said, â€œOur students recognize HanesBrands as a company that offers meaningful careers and is making a positive difference in our hometown of Winston-Salem. This partnership will bring learning opportunities directly to our campus. Having the real-world industry experience and building corporate networks will be invaluable to our students as they prepare for careers in everything from finance to fashion design to supply chain.â€
â€œThe work we will co-create together will inspire, change lives and leave our industry better than when we entered it,â€ said D’Wayne Edwards, president, Pensole Lewis College of Business & Design.
The Key Purpose Behind the Investment
As part of their commitment to DE&I, companies are taking various steps to ensure a good representation of minorities. For example, in 2021, Unilever saidOpens a new window it would spend GBP 1.8 billion a year with companies owned and run by underrepresented ethnic groups, women, LGBTQI+ communities, and people with disabilities as part of its wider inclusivity initiatives. Another company, Eli Lill & Co, invested $30 millionOpens a new window in a venture capital fund that would support minority-owned healthcare companies.
Similarly, the primary idea of HanesBrands behind these new investments and partnerships is to build on its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I), create more opportunities for underrepresented minorities, and develop pipelines of future talent.
Talking about the investment, Steve Bratspies, CEO, HanesBrands, said, â€œInclusion is at the core of who we are as a company, and we are committed to creating opportunity for all. Our partnerships with these HBCUs are part of HanesBrands’ legacy of investing in our communities. The scholarships and internships that are part of this program will ensure that students have opportunities to acquire the education and experience necessary to succeed and will help build a diverse and inclusive workforce.â€
This is not the first time HanesBrands has invested or partnered with educational institutions to create more opportunities for talent from minority communities. In 2020, HanesBrands made a $50,000 financial commitment to Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMFC), providing scholarships to students attending HBCUs. The company has been a partner to Carver High School in Winston-Salem since 1981. Since 2015, it has been a partner to the Urban Dove Team Charter School in Brooklyn.
With these new investments and partnerships, HanesBrands intends to improve the lives of about 10 million people by 2030 through its DEI initiatives, health and wellness programs, and improved workplace quality while improving local communities.