Checkerboard Fund

When our co-founder, Paul Van Doren established Vans in 1966 alongside his brother and two business partners, he did so with the belief that we weren’t to be just a footwear and apparel company but a people company that makes shoes and apparel. This mission to be people first has served as a cornerstone commitment for our brand for the past 55 years and has only strengthened as we’ve continued to launch initiatives that focus on enabling creative self-expression that support, uplift and empower members of our Vans family across the world to drive positive change within our communities.

One of these initiatives is the Vans Checkerboard Fund, which was established in 2019 to aid our ability to provide monetary support to nonprofit organizations that provide the skills, support and opportunities needed to build a more equitable society where all have the opportunity to realize their creative potential.

Throughout the year, Vans recommends grant distributions from the Vans Checkerboard Fund at Tides Foundation for organizations that work to;

  • Provide Equitable Access To Creativity: We support organizations that address the opportunity gap by providing access to programming and resources for young people to unleash their creative potential.
  • Foster The Wellbeing Of Marginalized Populations: We support organizations that cultivate safe spaces for and support the needs of BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and Women.


For 2020, Vans Checkerboard Day’s mission was to champion the power of creativity as an outlet for mental health. We also helped amplify the mission of our 10 charity partners worldwide whose shared purpose is to use programs focused on creativity as resources for coping with the stressors that impact mental health and well-being. Vans and fans across the world helped raise over $1 million USD so each organization can expand their services and resources to help the growing number of mental health concerns through creative outlets such as art, music and action sports.

2019: celebrate creativity

For the inaugural Vans Checkerboard Day in 2019, we donated over $1 million to to help them foster and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in kids all over the world. With the donation, they increased the number of Creativity Chapters globally and strengthened their educational programming in over 20 countries. Now more than 10,000 kids around the world get more access to creative play opportunities, that’s rad! Since Checkerboard Day, has received over 60 new Creativity Chapter applications and now have 190 Chapters in their worldwide network.