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Increasing Equitable Access to Yoga and Meditation

FSG worked with lululemon to refine the strategy and develop a measurement and evaluation approach for its signature social impact initiative.

Globally, 300 million people practice yoga and meditation, activities that can help reduce chronic stress and offer physical, emotional, and social benefits that improve quality of life. Yet even as these activities grow increasingly popular, barriers exist—from geographic, physical, and financial to stigma and a lack of representation within the yoga community—that prevent people from practicing. Creating access to yoga and meditation enables people to build confidence, resilience, and a mindset to conquer difficulties. 

At the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative, lululemon announced a commitment to launch Here to Be, a social impact initiative that creates access to yoga and meditation across social, physical, and economic barriers. The initiative partners with nonprofits that serve individuals facing these barriers, and include survivors of violence, conflict, and trauma, individuals with an illness or disability, those who face systemic prejudice or bias, and at-risk youth.

In the first 2 years, lululemon invested over 5.4 million dollars in Here to Be, forming over 300 partnerships with nonprofits and community organizations and donating more than 8,000 yoga mats. In 2018, lululemon engaged FSG to refine the Here to Be strategy, evaluation, and operations, ensuring its signature initiative was outcomes-oriented and aligned with its core business.

FSG reviewed lululemon’s current and past programs, analyzed the Here to Be grantmaking portfolio, conducted over 60 interviews and focus groups of internal stakeholders and external partners, and surveyed partners and lululemon brand ambassadors working with Here to Be.

This research and stakeholder engagement informed the creation of an updated theory of change, strategic framework, and outcomes map for the initiative. The focus of the revised strategy built on the strengths of the initiative, such as its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and the flexible structure which allowed grantees to develop specialized programs for their community. FSG’s recommendations also included clarifying their grantmaking processes, strengthening integration between Here to Be and the core business, and expanding communications and engagement with lululemon employees, partners, and guests.

Our work with FSG gave us the tools and resources to make Here to Be stronger and more impactful in every way. Their expertise validated where we were on track with our work, and highlighted opportunities for strategic and structural improvements. We were impressed with the time the team devoted to developing a deep understanding of our culture and building relationships with our employees. 

alison murphy, global collective impact manager, lululemon

Based on the updated strategic framework, FSG also outlined a measurement and evaluation approach to enable lululemon to track its impact, learn from its work, and evolve its approach over time. FSG also provided recommendations and guidance on operational changes to the program as well as technical tools and systems to improve data collection, metrics tracking, and grant application processes.

The initiative kicked off the new strategy with a fundraising effort on the 2018 International Day of Yoga—100 percent of the brand’s profits made on that day were donated to Here to Be grantees. Today, Here to Be continues its work creating a more equitable and inclusive yoga community.

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About lululemon
lululemon athletica inc. is a healthy lifestyle inspired athletic apparel company for yoga, running, and training.