Iconic American Brand Stands With Japan

After an earthquake sent 30-foot waves crashing into towns, homes, and nuclear reactors near Tokyo, Gap Inc. mobilized its employees and customers to help.



Tragedy in Japan

The first Gap Inc. store opened in 1969 in San Francisco, California. Husband and wife Donald and Doris Fisher wanted to create the perfect-fitting jeans, and the rest is history. Decades later, Gap is iconic in American fashion. So, the company’s heroic response to a natural disaster thousands of miles away from home might surprise you. But it shouldn’t! Gap has stores all over the world and is well-known for its inventive charitable giving.

When a 9.0-magnitude earthquake erupted 231 miles northeast of Tokyo on March 11, 2011, the destruction was unfathomable. The Japan earthquake sent 30-foot waves crashing into towns, homes, and nuclear reactors. The tsunamis took the lives of more than 22,000 people and displaced 230,000 more, according to Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

Gap Inc. turned to GlobalGiving to develop a multi-pronged, disaster recovery plan that tapped into the power of its foundation and its big-hearted customers and employees.


Compassion-centered sales

To tap into the generosity of its customers, Gap designed and sold limited-edition, Japan-relief T-shirts, and it devoted 100% of the proceeds to GlobalGiving’s Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund. Additionally, Gap websites—for Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime, and Athleta—posted banners linking to GlobalGiving’s relief fund for more than a week during March, making it easy for shoppers to support survivors. The creative appeal raised $82,000.

The clothing company didn’t stop there. It also matched donations that its employees made through its staff giving portal, BeWhatsPossible.com, and it made a donation every time an employee bought items through a 3-day, employee-only sale. Gap employees raised an impressive $126,000 for survivors.

Within days of the Japan earthquake, the Gap Foundation awarded a $200,000 grant to the GlobalGiving Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund to support Save the Children and International Medical Corps, two GlobalGiving partners working to provide critical support on the ground immediately following the disaster.


Gap’s generosity touches the lives of survivors

With Gap-generated donations, International Medical Corps helped improve on the ground communication between evacuation and coordination centers by distributing laptops, satellite phones, and walkie-talkies.

The donations also enabled the nonprofit’s first-responders to deliver packaged baby foods and medications to tsunami victims in dire need of help.

Save the Children created child-friendly spaces in evacuation centers that gave children the opportunity to express their feelings about what they had endured under the supervision of caring, trained adults.

Now, that’s #GapLove!

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