KEEN Disaster Relief: The Tsunami That Started It All
From the beginning, we've always said that we want to make shoes so we can make a difference.
Fifteen years ago today, we put those words into action and set our values in motion, when a pivotal moment shaped our culture of giving back and taking action to help those in need.
“There was a horrific tsunami in Indonesia in 2004. Well north of a quarter-million people died, and it was just terrible,” says Chris, who helps lead philanthropy and sustainability at KEEN. “We were about to spend a million bucks — literally the company’s entire marketing budget at the time — on an advertising campaign, but we made what could have been the worst business decision ever: Reallocate 100 percent of that money to the victims of the tsunami. Five-hundred thousand dollars went directly to AmeriCares for immediate relief for tsunami victims, and $500,000 to set in place our giving program.”
Everyone at KEEN knows this story, and it serves as a guidepost for us. We've grown to become a much bigger team of shoemakers since then, but "How can we help?" is still our first instinct when we see people in need. Together with our fans, we've stepped in to help people rebuild their lives after wildfires, hurricanes, typhoons, floods, and conflict, donating millions in cash and in-kind donations. After the Nepalese earthquake in 2015, we raised $8 million in four weeks for Mercy Corps by partnering with a local group in Portland and fellow outdoor brands.
We don't know when the next disaster will happen, but we know that there are great organizations ready to take action when they do. And that we can do good together. When you want to lend a hand to those in need, here are a few places to start:
- Mercy Corps
- All Hands and Hearts