My New Red Shoes (“MNRS”) was founded in 2006 to serve school children in-need by providing shoes and clothing. These students often feel undervalued, disconnected, and unseen, setting the stage for lasting low self-esteem and weak classroom engagement. They also experience housing instability, food insecurity, and poverty related trauma that has far-reaching effects on their physical health and well-being.
By providing the basic needs of new shoes and clothing throughout the school year, MNRS helps to reduce the chronic stress that these students experience, thus improving their school attendance and feelings of inclusion, self-esteem and confidence.
As a part of our programs, since 2006, MNRS purchased gift cards valued at more than $2 million from San Francisco-based The Gap, Inc. Through carefully selected public and nonprofit partnerships, MNRS then distributed the cards to low income families enabling them to purchase much-needed clothing for their children.
Unfortunately, a significant number of the gift cards remain unused in whole or in part and are likely to remain unused permanently due to loss. California law states that any gift card “is redeemable in cash for its cash value, or subject to replacement with a new gift certificate at no cost to the purchaser or holder.”
Gap, a multibillion-dollar global corporation, is refusing to provide a full accounting of the unused cards while simultaneously seeking to keep the money that is intended to clothe children living in poverty. Gap, therefore, receives a substantial amount of what is, in essence, free money for these unspent gift cards. Gap’s refusal to cooperate is shortsighted and fails to meet basic principles of corporate social responsibility, a philosophy emphasizing the need for businesses to behave as good corporate citizens, not merely obeying the law but conducting their business and marketing activities in a manner which avoids causing social and environmental harm.
My New Red Shoes is committed to seeking redress for the children we serve. After exhaustive efforts, we filed a lawsuit against Gap on November 8, 2019 seeking to hold the company accountable for its failure to comply with both the law and with its publicly stated commitment to be a force for good.
We will continue to post updates on this lawsuit as it moves forward.