Freeport, ME, June 20, 2020
An Update on L.L.Bean’s Efforts
The past few days and weeks have been deeply painful for our country. We at L.L.Bean believe we have a responsibility to use our voice, our platform, and our resources to help eradicate racial injustice because we believe Black Lives Matter.
We know that changing these deeply rooted systems will not happen overnight. That is why while some of our next steps are immediate, others are more long term. Here is how we have started our process that will evolve over time.
We are listening. We held a Town Hall meeting last week to answer questions from our 4,000+ employees dedicated to the topic of racial injustice. Over the next several weeks and months, we will hold smaller Listening Sessions with employees to ensure we are engaged in ongoing dialogue and hearing the personal experiences of many voices.
We are learning. To further understanding and awareness in our workplace, we will build on our current programs like our Inclusive Leadership class, Creating Belonging workshops, and our Unconscious Bias courses. We will continue to make available additional anti-racism resources and materials to all employees.
We are reevaluating our policies, procedures and recruiting efforts. To ensure this work remains a top priority across our organization, we are expanding our diversity, equity, and inclusion group. This group will conduct internal audits using an external partner to inform our future actions as well as enhance all current programming around bias and inclusion. Additionally, this work will ensure racial diversity, inclusion and equity are a focus and priority throughout our hiring, promotions, leadership and development opportunities. As a leading employer in the state of Maine, we will also work with area business and government leaders to better understand how we can work together to attract and recruit people of color.
We are working with our community and partners. We are committing $115,000 to organizations at the forefront of advancing racial equity and workplace diversity. We are in the process of bringing those partners on board and will provide more specifics soon.
We will also continue our support of BIPOC communities through our ongoing partnerships with the United Way of Greater Portland and The Trust for Public Land. As the largest corporate United Way donor in the state of Maine, contributing over $1 million per year, approximately half of our funding serves people of color by supporting programs that address the greatest needs in nearby communities. Additionally, through a multi-year $1 million commitment, the L.L.Bean Community Fund, in partnership with The Trust for Public Land, works to ensure quality outdoor access through the development of close-to-home park or open spaces. Our grants have supported projects including Lakeview Terrace in Cleveland, OH, Douglas Park in Chicago and the Rider Farm Greenhouse project in Newark, N.J – projects serving predominantly Black communities.
We are also assessing opportunities to work with other brands in the outdoor industry, knowing that there is much work to do and that we must work together to drive change.
We will continue to refine and add to this list of actions, drawing from employee, customer, and community ideas and perspectives.
Everyone should be able to safely experience the value of time spent outside.
Until that is true for everyone -- outdoors, indoors and everywhere -- we will continue to stand against systemic racism and stand in solidarity with the Black Community.
Stephen Smith, President and CEO of L.L.Bean