- Coach announced in a Wednesday press release the creation of its new Dream It Real initiative, which aims to "support the next generation as they envision and create the future they know is possible" and goes alongside other philanthropic efforts the brand has made through its Coach Foundation.
- Coach also announced a partnership with national nonprofit The Future Project, which places "Dream Directors" — coaches, mentors and organizers — in high schools nationwide to work with students and "bring their dreams for self, school or society to life," and it has donated $1.4 million to the nonprofit to support its goals of preparing high-schoolers for their college- and career-related futures.
- Selena Gomez and Michael B. Jordan, two of Coach's brand ambassadors, will join in the effort by visiting some of The Future Project's partner schools this year and serving as honorary Dream Directors.
This announcement signals another instance of a major company giving back and adds more names to the list of celebrities joining philanthropic efforts in education. In August, NBA star LeBron James launched the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, offering free bikes, meals and tuition to students who attend. Later that month, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation expanded its ongoing ed efforts by awarding more than $90 million in grants to its student achievement initiative. And Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife said in September that they're pledging $2 billion to form a network of preschools in low-income communities and fund nonprofits that help homeless families.
As names recognized by millions worldwide, celebrities have an especially unique opportunity to leverage their star power and help those less fortunate while drawing attention to a cause they care about. And when nonprofits or corporations employ these figures as ambassadors or faces of a campaign, as Coach and The Future Project have done with this project, they're increasing the chance that their good work will get more recognition, publicity and donations, Forbes writes.
Over the past decade, Coach has donated more than $45 million to different nonprofit partners around the globe, but this partnership with The Future Project shines a light on an additionally valuable topic: preparing high-schoolers for the world beyond graduation and encouraging them to push boundaries and achieve their goals. Mentoring has proven invaluable in encouraging a slew of positive results for students — staying in school, going to college, volunteering and potentially being a mentor themselves. On top of that, students want mentors to look up to and help guide them in the right direction.
But as much as these resources are in steady demand, they're in very short supply: Only one out of every three young people who want a mentor get one. The strategy generally doesn't have steady or sufficient funding, and it often relies on volunteers to be successful.
Any mentor, celebrity or not, has the power to change someone's life. In this role, a mentor has the ability to positively influence a person, especially a young person, and push them to succeed, according to another Forbes article. And if students get to work with celebrities like Selena Gomez or Michael B. Jordan, it's even more likely the experience will have an impact, and that it will be one they won't forget.