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Gucci courts “changemakers” with community-centric campaign

October 7, 2019

Still from Gucci's Changemakers film. Image courtesy of Gucci/Satchel Lee


Italian fashion label Gucci is heralding the launch of its Changemakers scholarship and grant program by compiling stories of real people who are making a difference.

As of Oct. 7, applications are open for the Changemakers initiative, which includes $1.5 million in scholarships and a $5 million Impact Fund for nonprofits. This is the latest effort from Gucci as it seeks to promote a more diverse fashion and luxury business.

“We have always believed in the importance of creating a more inclusive and diverse industry so we must invest in and empower the next generation of creatives, designers and leaders," said Marco Bizzarri, president/CEO of Gucci, in a statement.

Investing in inclusivity

Gucci originally announced the Changemakers program in March. Gucci Changemakers is part of the company’s commitment to inclusion following backlash surrounding a product deemed by many to be racist.

The Gucci Changemakers Fund will go towards community programs in North America, focusing on African-Americans and consumers of color.

Gucci is also working to establish a Changemakers Council of community leaders, which will partner with nonprofits in cities such as New York, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles (see story).

The brand is launching two scholarship programs – Gucci Changemakers Scholars and Gucci Changemakers X CFDA Scholars by Design – which will give the chosen students up to $20,000 for the 2020-21 academic year. Intended to help create a more diverse talent pool in the fashion industry, the scholarship program is open to students enrolled in a four-year college will give special consideration to applicants who are attending Historically Black Colleges and those who live or study in one of the 12 Changemaker cities across the U.S.

Gucci is also opening applications for grants to nonprofits in Changemaker cities that are focused on areas including equality, the arts and education. Organizations that are chosen will receive between $10,000 and $50,000 annually.

The five-year program will give out up to $1 million in grants per year, totaling up to $5 million.

“With the scholarship program, we aim to create opportunities and visibility for traditionally underrepresented creatives,” said Yaseen Eldik, co-chair of the Changemakers Council and a lawyer and writer, in a statement. “Our goal is to break down barriers, particularly financial, and make fashion more diverse and inclusive.”

Getting the word out that applications are open, Gucci tapped filmmaker Satchel Lee to create a short that features young people who are involved in nonprofits and other change-driving activities. A series of young people are shown sharing their thoughts on fashion, making a difference and the meaning of change.

Applications for nonprofits close on Nov. 7, while students have until Dec. 31 to apply for a scholarship.