Giving Compass' Take:

• Daniel Lee, director of the Levi Strauss Foundation, discusses the importance of social change and how the foundation stays true to its three focus areas. 

• How are other fashion companies organizing their philanthropic activities?

• Read about activist philanthropy: a systems approach to social change. 


American fashion company Levi Strauss & Co., best known as a pioneering figure in the denim industry for the past 166 years, has also made a name for itself since its founding as a business with social responsibility and corporate philanthropy at its core. The Levi Strauss Foundation is a perfect example of that.

Founded in 1952, the foundation is an arm of the company receiving funding from Levi Strauss & Co. with a mandate to operate in the places where the company has a business presence. With an annual grant of around 8.5 million dollars, the foundation focuses primarily on three areas:

  1. Raising awareness and confronting stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS
  2. Working on advancing the rights and well-being of its workers
  3. Pioneering social justice

Daniel Lee is the executive director of the foundation and for the past 11 years has been at its forefront. He is also currently a board member on the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy and was a founding board member of the Massachusetts Asian AIDS Prevention Project. FashionUnited spoke to Lee about his time at the Levi Strauss Foundation, the importance of International Refugee Day, which took place on 20 June, and the need for companies to back social change.

Read the full article about foundation director backing social change by Huw Hughes at Fashion United.