New Balance Launches Youth Physical Health Initiative

New Balance and the New Balance Foundation have announced the launch of a global initiative to improve the health of children through physical activity and movement.

Through a combination of grants, staff volunteerism, and product donations, the Boston-based athletic shoe retailer's NB SparkStart program aims to improve the health, well-being, and self-esteem of children around the world. Beginning this year, New Balance will engage company associates as NB SparkStart advocates tasked with inspiring and empowering fellow employees to volunteer and help underserved children in their communities. Then, in September, the company will host its first-ever global volunteer week and donate footwear and apparel to children in need. The company also will engage and involve New Balance "athlete ambassadors" in its efforts.

To help achieve the aims of the initiative, the New Balance Foundation will provide grants totaling $4 million to nonprofit organizations in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, and elsewhere to provide opportunities for children to play and be physically active.

The company also announced that when individuals purchase children's shoes in stores or online between July 15 and August 31, it will direct 30 percent of the purchase price to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in the form of new shoes.

"Our goal is to inspire millions of children around the world to discover and nurture their movement spark," said Anne Davis, New Balance's vice chairman and executive vice president of administration. "Children thrive when they are physically active. Whether it's a love for jumping, running, soccer, or riding a bike, we believe that children who find their spark — how they love to move — stay active for a lifetime."