Black Girls Smile (BGS) is excited to announce a new partnership with JCPenney, celebrating 2022 Black History Month’s national theme of “Black Health and Wellness.” Today, JCPenney has announced that all net profits from its Black History Month collection will be donated to BGS. The Black History Month collection is part of JCPenney’s Hope & Wonder™ private label brand of apparel for everyone in the family as well as gifts, accessories, and home products designed to commemorate moments that matter.
Black Girls Smile is a nationally recognized nonprofit providing young Black women with education, resources, and support to lead mentally healthy lives. Founded in 2012 by Lauren Carson, BGS programs are grounded in research, focus-group findings, and personal experiences affirming the particular needs of young Black women. Through normalization and dialogue surrounding mental wellness, BGS envisions a society where all individuals, including young African American females, are provided education, support, and resources necessary to lead mentally healthy lives.
In addition to donating all net profits from the Hope & Wonder brand’s Black History Month collection to BGS, the retailer will also engage BGS to host a series of events and activities throughout the year in JCPenney stores and local communities.
“Partnering with Black Girls Smile helps JCPenney amplify its philanthropic mission: to help close the opportunity gap for under-resourced youth and build a diverse and inclusive culture of belonging,” says Val Harris, Senior Vice President, Trend, Brand Management, and Design, JCPenney, and leader of JCPenney’s Creative Coalition – an internal team of BIPOC designers behind the Black History Month collection. “We’re proud to support the significant work BGS is doing to empower and uplift young Black women and girls in our communities and bring awareness to the importance of mental health and wellbeing.”
Race and ethnicity have large implications for mental healthcare, with limited accessibility and stigma reducing care for young people and especially young people of color. While mental health in the U.S. has long been among the lowest public funding priorities, the same is true for private philanthropy. According to one recent study, less than two percent of philanthropic dollars go to support mental health in the U.S. – and even less is targeted to kids and teens.
From Lauren Carson, BGS Founder and Executive Director: “In a time when we know young people’s mental health and wellbeing is impacted significantly by the pandemic coupled with racial and gender issues that young Black women and girls experience, now is a pivotal moment to ensure we nurture and empower the mental health and wellbeing of our Black girls. BGS is extremely honored and humbled to partner with JCPenney to jointly work to empower and uplift the mental health and wellbeing of Black women and girls.”
Funding from JCPenney will help Black Girl Smile meet increased demand for programs and supply resources to raise awareness about the specific mental health and wellness needs of young black women.
For more information on Black Girls Smile and JCPenney partnership, please visit the JCPenney Newsroom. To shop the JCPenney Black History Month collection, visit jcpenney.com/m/black-excellence or your local JCPenney store.