Fast Company: The Aerie Real Foundation launches today after years of championing body confidence

By: Sarah Lynch | Link to article

Eight years after the #aerieReal campaign first launched, the lifestyle brand is taking its commitment a step further.

Eight years ago, Aerie launched its #aerieReal campaign featuring unretouched photos of models to celebrate natural beauty. Today, the lifestyle brand announced a new foundation to further its years-long efforts in supporting body confidence and more.  

With American Eagle Outfitters, Inc., Aerie has established the Aerie Real Foundation, formalizing the brand’s philanthropy and mission to “build confidence in women, foster an inclusive community and protect our planet to make the world a better place for all,” according to the announcement. 

Aerie already supported organizations like the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), Bright Pink, and Special Olympics with millions of dollars in donations, but Jennifer Foyle, president and executive creative director of AE & Aerie, says the brand wanted to enhance its commitment.   

“Aerie has spent a little over 10 years supporting causes and organizations. It was time. We have such a platform,” Foyle says.  

NEDA––Aerie’s long-time partner––will receive the foundation’s first Aerie Real Change Signature Grant of $100,000, which will fund the organization’s Campus Warriors program on over 70 college campuses and its body acceptance workshops. Two more grantees will receive $100,000 in the coming months.  

Additionally, Aerie will support grassroots programs through $10,000 Aerie Real Change Community Grants. Customers can contribute too; from Nov. 2-13, Aerie will donate $2 from every transaction using an Aerie credit card to the foundation (up to $100,000).  

The foundation’s announcement coincides with the tenth anniversary of the International Day of the Girl, an international observance day from the United Nations. To celebrate the occasion, Aerie will also host a “REAL Talk” event in New York City featuring panelists like Aerie partner, Olympic gymnast, and activist Aly Raisman.  

Foyle said this new partnership aims to uplift mental well-being in addition to body positivity, all in an effort to support women’s confidence––which Foyle calls part of the brand’s DNA.  

“There’s not a day goes by I don’t get a letter thanking Aerie for what they do for young women today,” Foyle says. “For us to give back . . . I wake up every day and I feel proud about that, and I’m just excited about what’s to come.”