by Stephen Garner

Gap Inc. announced on Monday that it is the latest in a series of major companies to commit to using their financial power to create more equitable industries and profit structures. Gap Inc. will be working in lock-step with the 15 Percent Pledge organization to develop its own unique strategy for reaching the company’s commitments, with additional updates to come over the next few months.

The retailer has joined the 15 Percent Pledge as an advocacy partner, aligning with the Pledge’s mission of creating a more equitable industry. Gap Inc. will increase their pipeline programs by 15 percent to drive access and opportunity for the Black community within the Gap Inc. family of brands starting with early empowerment programs, including internship, externship, apprenticeship, and training. Gap Inc. is also donating $200,000 to the organization to further support its mission.

“Driving lasting change takes time and maniacal focus, and we’re invested for the long-term,” said Kisha Modica, head of equality & belonging at Gap Inc. “As we strive to enable a culture of inclusion and belonging for all, we are excited to partner with the 15 Percent Pledge to accelerate our commitment to increase access and opportunity for Black and Latinx communities.”

“As we approach the one-year mark of a pandemic that has decimated Black businesses and communities, it is crucial that companies step up to create economic opportunities for Black people at every level of the workforce,” added Aurora James, founder of the 15 Percent Pledge. “Committing to the Pledge is not a band-aid solution — it requires a comprehensive re-evaluation of business as usual, and we are thrilled that Gap Inc. is partnering with us to drive racial equity across retail.”

The 15 Percent Pledge is a 501c3 non-profit advocacy organization urging major retailers to commit 15 percent of their shelf-space to Black-owned businesses. It offers large corporations accountability, support, and consulting services with the goal of advocating for and supporting Black-owned businesses. The 15 Percent Pledge seeks economic equality and prosperity for Black future founders, Black students, and Black people in the workforce. Businesses including Sephora, Rent the Runway, West Elm, MedMen, and now Vogue magazine, have all committed to the 15 Percent Pledge.