We established the Checkerboard Fund in 2019 to provide monetary support to nonprofit organizations working to build a more equitable and inclusive society.
We focus on funding organizations committed to equality, mental health support, and empowering everyone to use creativity to discover themselves.
Creativity is essential. It is the thread that connects us, the unlock to self-discovery, the soul of progress. It requires heart, curiosity, unapologetic authenticity, community, and ingenuity - it demands that we take risks and reach for our most authentic selves.
Our brand was born out of youth culture - for the skaters, surfers, musicians, and artists among us who do things their own way - none of which would have been possible without creativity. While creative potential is equally distributed, opportunity isn't. At Vans, we believe that creativity should be neither a privilege nor an afterthought. The most Off The Wall thing you can do is be yourself.
How We Give
We stand for equality in all forms, and believe that all people - of all backgrounds, circumstances, races, genders, sexual orientation, or identity - deserve the chance to be their authentic selves, chase their dreams and see their inspiration realized.
Since 2019, The Vans Checkerboard Fund has donated over $10 million to organizations working to provide:
Equitable access to programs and resources that foster creative self-exploration, support mental health and allow potential to be realized.
A safe, healthy space - whether physical, emotional, or psychological -- to explore, experiment, and evolve.
Our people, our family, our friends who embrace inclusivity, lift us up, and offer a platform to elevate young people today, pave the way for the voices of tomorrow, and ensure we are all heard.
Throughout the year, Vans recommends grant distributions from the Vans Checkerboard Fund, a donor advised fund at Tides Foundation.
Get Lit - Words Ignite fuses classic and spoken word poetry to increase teen literacy on the page and in visual media. They cultivate enthusiastic learners emboldened to inspire social consciousness in diverse communities.
Get Lit's poetry and film curriculum engages young people by providing a creative outlet, community, and real-life work experience, transforming students into activists, scholars, and stars.
Together, Vans is aiding Get Lit's ability to expand programming, reach more youth, and amplify the voices of spoken word artists
Tegan and Sara Foundation
The Tegan and Sara Foundation was founded by Tegan and Sara in 2015 to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ women and girls. This mission is founded on a commitment to feminist values and racial, social and gender justice.
The Foundation raises awareness and funds, fights for equality and justice through our flagship programming and support of grassroots organizations, activists and communities that often go unrecognized by major funding institutions.
Vans is working with the Tegan and Sara Foundation to support LGBTQ+ youth across the U.S. and Canada with direct services and programming. Support from Vans will fund the fifth year of TSF's LGBTQ+ summer camp scholarships, as well as a round of Community Grants to grassroots organizations empowering trans youth.
STOKED is a community-focused nonprofit that combines one-on-one mentorship with the joy (and adrenaline) of action sports to help underserved BIPOC youth realize their potential.
Vans is a longtime supporter of STOKED's message of inclusion and community-first methods, serving as a proud partner and supporter of the organization for over 10 years. The latest chapter in Vans’ partnership with STOKED aims to achieve two main goals: growing BIPOC participation and representation in action sports and providing STOKED participants with access, resources, and educational programming. To achieve these goals, Vans is sponsoring skate activations at STOKED’s NYC and Chicago sites, supporting STOKED’s after-school leadership development programs and weekend skateboarding/snowboarding/surfing programs, and encouraging its employees to serve as STOKED mentors through a dynamic “Career Pipeline’' program that shows STOKED youth some of the career possibilities in the action sports world.
Check out our brand campaign video of STOKED here.
The Skatepark Project
The Skate Park Project (TSP) helps underserved communities create safe and inclusive public skateparks for youth.
The Skatepark Project aims to increase efficacy and efficiency in providing access to free and safe public skateparks by supporting the creation of public skateparks and working to ensure their accessibility. Together Vans X TSP are looking to build and manage new skate park projects and multi-use shared skate spaces to provide access in New York City.
The Creative Sole Scholarship powered by Vans is awarded annually by the NAACP - the largest and pre-eminent civil and social rights organization in the nation - to college students majoring in creative fields including art, architecture, English, journalism, music, communications, design, marketing, and photography.
As a way for Vans to continue supporting these students throughout their entire college education, Vans has awarded 50 selected students with $5000 scholarships each year that they are enrolled up until four years, which means one student could receive a total of $20,000 through the program, if eligibility requirements continue to be met. Vans hopes to incentivize the selected students to complete their full college education and graduate at the end of the four years, for a total investment of $1,000,000.
To learn more about the application process, eligibility or to share with friends or family who may be interested in applying for the scholarship, please be sure to visit naacp.org/creativesole.
Founded in Afghanistan to empower youth through skateboarding and education, Skateistan has been elevated to the global stage with skateboarding and educational projects across Cambodia, South Africa, Jordan, Bolivia and Kenya.
With a shared belief that skateboarders can make the world a better place through the power of skateboarding, Vans supports the award-winning non-profit's mission via product, donations and storytelling.
- A.skate All Nations Skate Bolsa Chica Conservancy Brown Bag Lady CASA1 City Surf Project Collectivo Tomato Ghetto Film School GIF Girls In Film GLSEN Grocery Run Club Groundswell Murals NYC JUJU Kids of Immigrants Kind Campaign Let's Be Kind
- Look Ma No Hands Na Kama Kai Nations Skate Youth North Shore Community Land Trust Oasis For Girls OC Coast Keeper OC Heritage Council OC Human Relations Ocean Conservancy Surf Ghana Surfers Healing Surfrider Foundation Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii Tremendas Waves For Hope
THE COMMUNITY FUND
The Vans Community Fund is a $50,000 commitment to support grassroots, community-led organizations through monetary grants, guided solely by our employees on an annual basis. Through this work, we strive to catalyze impact and positive social change in the local communities in which we live and work.