Retailers kick off Black History Month

SEATTLE: Retailers, including Nordstrom and Kmart, are kicking off Black History Month with relevant CSR initiatives.

SEATTLE: Retailers, including Nordstrom and Kmart, are kicking off Black History Month with relevant CSR initiatives.

Today, Nordstrom partnered with Be The Match, part of its "Living Well" initiative, to raise awareness for African Americans who are in need of bone marrow transplants. The retailer has rolled out a microsite encouraging customers to register to be a bone marrow donor. For every person who joins this month via the site, Nordstrom will cover the $100 cost of adding a new member to the registry, up to $75,000. The campaign is also be supported by the retailer through store signage and catalogs, as well as information via its Twitter and Facebook platforms.

“Nordstrom's customers and employees come from diverse backgrounds and we are always looking for ways to thank them for their support and give back in a meaningful way," said Amelia Ransom Letcher, VP of diversity affairs at Nordstrom. "In talking with our employees and the community about how to recognize Heritage Months this year, we realized that there was an opportunity to help drive awareness around particular health issues-in the African American community, for example, there is a real need for marrow donors. This initiative is one way for us to help raise awareness of this need and others and we're really excited to be a part of it.”

Nordstrom is cooking up two other campaigns for its "Living Well" initiative. In May, the retailer will celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month and spread awareness of Hepatitis B. Then, from September 15 to October 15, Nordstrom will bring attention to diabetes during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Meanwhile, Kmart has partnered with comedian and TV personality Steve Harvey for its "Share the Word" Black History Month program. Customers are being encouraged to show their community pride to win a Kmart-sponsored block party with an appearance by Harvey. In addition, Kmart has pledged to donate $100 for every entry it receives to the Steve Harvey Mentoring program, up to $25,000. The retailer has also aligned itself with Dress for Success for two in-store events, which will include style advice, consultations, and discounts, as well as an autograph session with Harvey. Kmart has launched a website and a #SharetheWord hash tag on Twitter.

"Black History Month at Kmart is a key opportunity to authentically connect our customers to the Kmart brand," said Shannelle Armstrong, director of PR at Sears Holdings, parent company of Kmart. "It also allows us to speak to one of our core audiences with programs that resonate with them, addressing interests they care about. We're always listening to our customers and through this year's 'Share the Word' program, we will continue to make sure they know we're listening."

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