Red Tab Through the DecadesOctober 12, 2016
Just like LS&Co.’s iconic products stay true to their origins while evolving to meet the needs of today’s consumers, the Red Tab Foundation’s (RTF) programming has progressed over the past 35 years to meet the changing needs of employees and retirees.
Since the foundation was established in 1981, RTF’s core service – emergency assistance – has remained largely unchanged: When unexpected circumstances put a member of the LS&Co. community at risk of not meeting basic needs, RTF provides a grant to get the employee or retiree through the difficult time.
In addition to this assistance, however, the Red Tab Foundation has had many other programs throughout the years that were designed to foster the well-being of our workforce. Here’s a look back at the ways employees have helped employees (and retirees) over the years.
The 1990s: Taking preventive steps and expanding retiree assistance
Early in the 1990s, RTF began offering preventive counseling programs on subjects such as managing finances, improving family relationships, preventing domestic abuse and building self-esteem. These programs took concrete steps to help employees and retirees prevent emergencies in the first place, expanding the work of the foundation from reactive assistance to proactive initiatives for employee well-being. On this front, RTF saw its role as a catalyst for change, piloting programs that the company could later decide to take on across the business.
During this time, RTF also expanded its assistance to retirees by offering access to basic necessities that retirees could not afford on their fixed income. Eyeglasses, hearing aids, critical dental work, mobility aids and winter heating fuel are all crucial to quality of life for the men and women who devoted their working lives to LS&Co. These types of requests still constitute our largest category of grant spending today, and RTF remains committed to supporting the retirees who were important contributors to the company’s success.
The 2000s: Supporting opportunities for workers and their families
In 2005, RTF introduced a college match program to help employees prepare for their dependents’ academic expenses. The program provided a dollar-for-dollar match when employees contributed to their children’s college savings accounts, helping employees create a brighter future for their children and grandchildren. The program was also designed to help employees establish asset-building behaviors that could be translated to other areas of their lives.
RTF also took over a program initiated by the Levi Strauss Foundation that granted scholarships for the dependents of employees. Since 2008, Red Tab Scholars has disbursed more than $1.8 million to over 480 students in more than 17 countries, helping them create opportunities for their future.
2010 and beyond: Helping employees build better financial futures
Starting in 2010, RTF adapted its programs to meet the needs of a diverse retail workforce in addition to those of our manufacturing and distribution center employees. Following in the footsteps of the college match program, but providing more flexibility, RTF launched a pilot of Red Tab Savers in early 2015. In partnership with esteemed Bay Area nonprofit EARN, RTF became the first employer to launch a tailored matched-savings program through EARN’s online asset-building platform.
Red Tab Savers helps retail and distribution center employees in the U.S. build savings toward a goal of their choice — whether education, emergency savings or anything else. In turn, RTF matches their savings for six months, reinforcing these saving behaviors and providing employees with a new set of financial management skills. Initial results from the program have been thrilling, and RTF is leading the way for many other employers exploring ways to help their workforce create a better financial future.
Just like LS&Co., the heritage of the Red Tab Foundation is rooted in values. The times have changed, the garments have changed and the people who make up the company have changed, but the values of empathy, courage, integrity and originality have remained the same. The impact of RTF on the lives on employees is direct and sizable: In the last 35 years nearly 19,000 grants totaling more than $17 million in direct aid have helped members of the LS&Co. community get back on their feet after financial emergencies. Today’s employees are supporting this work with their time, energy and money at a higher rate than ever before in the foundation’s history, allowing us to keep the spirit of “employees helping employees” alive and well for years to come.