For more than 100 years, New Balance has been woven into the fabric of this city from its humble origins in 1906 by Irish immigrant William J. Riley, who primarily manufactured arch supports, to its evolution into a global lifestyle brand under current chairman Jim Davis. And during the recent pandemic, the homegrown company hasn’t forgotten Boston. On March 24, the New Balance Foundation, which was originally created in 1981with a mission to drive change in global communities with a commitment to the future success of today’s youth, pledged $2 million in nonprofit grants, a large portion of which went to supporting local communities. The Boston Resiliency Fund—established to provide essential services to Boston residents, first responders and critical care providers—received $50,000; and $100,000 was given to No Kid Hungry, which sends emergency grants to local food banks and community groups and helps families find food when schools are closed. Additional funds went to helping global and regional communities where New Balance associates live and work. And it wasn’t just money they shared. The factories in Lawrence and Norridgewock, Maine, ramped up production to address the urgent demand for equipment that meets FDA criteria for front-line medical staff; at the end of March, they estimated that they could produce 100,000 face masks weekly at full scale. “We firmly believe it is our civic duty to support our communities in need around the world,” says Anne Davis, the managing trustee of the foundation. “As we witness the growing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are inspired by the acts of humanity, kindness and compassion that have emerged in support of one another during this health crisis. ... Through our New Balance Foundation, we have the ability to make a difference for those most in need by making a strategic grassroots approach we believe will serve local regional global communities in a meaningful way,” she says. Those are footsteps we Bostonians should be proud to lace up and follow.
Photography by: Courtesy of New Balance