The Levi’s® brand launches “Give them hope now” campaign

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givethemhopenowThe Levi’s® brand, the world’s jeanswear leader, announces the launch of their “Give Them Hope Now” campaign supporting the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), home of the Harvey Milk High School. The goal of Levi’s® new, motivational campaign is to help HMI raise $500,000 for their Liquidity Reserve Fund, which will establish a financial safety net to fund HMI’s important work within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth community.

The campaign and its official Web site, www.givethemhopenow.org, run from May 6 through November 2009 or until the $500,000 fundraising goal is met. Hetrick-Martin is the oldest and largest non-profit, multi-service agency dedicated to serving LGBTQ youth including educational services for at-risk youth in the Harvey Milk High School.

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Thomas Krever, Executive Director of Hetrick-Martin, thanks the Levi’s® brand for its support, noting that LGBTQ youth often endure physical and emotional hardship and need safe places to learn and grow. “In a traditional high school, 73 percent of LGBTQ students report being the victim of derogatory remarks and 22 percent experience physical harassment,” said Krever. “The Harvey Milk High School offers these students a safe and encouraging environment where they can learn without the threat of physical violence or emotional harm.”

“Levi Strauss & Co. believes deeply in the importance of equality, social justice, community involvement and corporate citizenship and has a rich history of standing up for the rights of the LGBTQ community,” says Robert Hanson, President of Levi Strauss Americas. “The Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School, is positively contributing to the lives of many LGBTQ teenagers and we are proud to do our part to help raise money and awareness for this important cause.”

In the early 1980s, Levi Strauss & Co became a business leader in promoting HIV/AIDS awareness and education. Standing by their commitment to progressive employment policies and practices, Levi Strauss & Co became the first Fortune 500 company to extend full medical benefits to domestic partners of employees in 1992. More recently, Levi Strauss & Co was the only California company to file an amicus brief with the California Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage and was co-chair of the Business Council for No on Prop 8.

The “Give Them Hope Now” campaign features a vibrant cast of HMI board members, students and alumni of Hetrick-Martin and Harvey Milk HS, and celebrities. Portraits featured in the campaign were shot by acclaimed photographers Jenny Gage and Tom Betterton. The campaign’s official interactive Web site, www.givethemhopenow.org, will also feature moving personal stories from students, alumni, celebrities and board members; a link encouraging visitors to make donations to the HMI Liquidity Reserve Fund; updates on the campaign’s fundraising progress; and suggestions on other ways to get involved with the cause.

The Web site will also highlight information on special, exclusive monthly HMI fundraisers hosted by celebrities. The first fundraiser takes place in Los Angeles later this month and will be hosted by Dustin Lance Black, the Academy Award® winning screenwriter of Milk; actress Heather Matarazzo and Regent Media CEO Paul Colichman.

The Levi’s® brand has partnered with several entities to bring this important campaign to life including Regent Media, owner of popular LGBTQ publications Out Magazine and The Advocate and leading digital marketing agency Razorfish. The launch of www.givethemhopenow.org will be supported with a consumer awareness program that includes digital banner ads, public relations, and social and community outreach on Facebook and Twitter.

To make a donation in support of the Hetrick-Martin Institute, home of the Harvey Milk High School, visit www.givethemhopenow.org. Donations and support of this important campaign will guarantee a welcoming environment for LGBTQ youth to feel accepted and thrive through a process of self-discovery.

About The Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI)

Founded in 1979, HMI is the oldest and largest non-profit multi-service agency dedicated to serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth, providing a broad range of free, year-round vital programming, including educational services for at-risk youth in the Harvey Milk High School; individual, group, and family counseling; concrete services and case management for homeless and at-risk teenagers through supportive services, including hot meals and clothing; academic enrichment and job readiness; social and cultural activities; health and wellness education; and career exploration and youth leadership offered through after-school services. The Institute serves over 1,000 youth annually from the five boroughs of New York City and the surrounding metropolitan area.

About Levi Strauss & Co

Levi Strauss & Co. is one of the world’s largest branded apparel companies and the global leader in jeanswear, marketing its products in more than 110 countries worldwide. The company designs and markets jeans, casual wear and related accessories for men, women and children under the Levi’s®, Dockers® San Francisco and Signature by Levi Strauss & Co.™ brands. For more information, go to www.levistrauss.com.

Invented in 1873 by Levi Strauss & Co., Levi’s® Jeans are the original, authentic jeans. The Levi’s® brand offers the widest range of great-fitting jeans on the market and are the most widely recognized and often-imitated products in the history of apparel. Levi’s® jeans have captured the imagination and loyalty of generations of diverse individuals through more than 150 years of innovation. For more information about the Levi’s® brand, its products and the Levi’s® Stores, visit www.levi.com.

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