A local Detroit clothing brand is announcing a new partnership with Meijer and helping community kids get real-world experience and hands-on industry knowledge from high school through college.
Merit Goodness, founded in 2012 by David Merritt, is a clothing line with a message and a goal of sending underprivileged children to college. Dedicating a percentage of its sales to scholarships for its students through the brand’s philanthropic arm, Give Merit’s F.A.T.E program, the for-profit business is shattering the myth that businesses cannot positively impact the community.
“On the fashion end we love style we love design, and we use produce to drive social impact by donating 20 percent of our company profits to our non-profit work and then the brand also acts as a backdrop for a youth development program we have with Detroit students,” says Merritt.
Supporting about 130 kids from Detroit, the F.A.T.E. program is a four-year cohort program for Detroit high school students where they can earn a scholarship for college. The program gives students a hands-on opportunity to learn and grow while also offering mentorship. The program is also extended to college kids who have completed the four-year F.A.T.E. program.
“We follow them through their high school graduation and also hopefully their college graduation and the brand provides year-long capstone projects for the students to get real life experience, even in high school,” says Merritt. “If our students go through the four years and maintain the standards we set for them, we guarantee them at least a $5,000 scholarship to go to school.”
As a part of the F.A.T.E. program, tenth-grade students are asked to produce a product collection. With Meijer’s support, Merit Goodness will bring to life a design created exclusively by the F.A.T.E. program’s youth and sold at select store locations. This is a part of a larger initiative by Meijer to address racism and discrimination.
“We’re excited to share our partnership with Merit Goodness. Merit Goodness is one of 23 partner agencies that we’ve invested $5 million to address racial inequities in our communities. We’re also proud to carry, for the first time, student-designed Merit Goodness apparel in two of our Detroit-area stores.” says Rick Keyes, President & CEO at Meijer in a recent social media post.
Available at just two Detroit Meijer locations in the city, one on West 8 Mile and the other on Grand River, fans and supporters of Merit Goodness will not only be able to stop in and buy merchandise exclusive to Meijer but support the dreams of the city’s youth and celebrate their accomplishments, it will also help to provide financial assistance on their road to higher learning.
“This partnership means everything to us and it means everything to the Detroit youth we work with. Imagine being a teenager going to your local Meijer store and seeing one of the products that you helped create front and center, being purchased by Detroiters! It gives you the confidence that you can create the future, and that’s what Meijer is helping provide for our young people,” says Merritt.
To date, the organization has funded over $130,000 dollars in scholarships in the last four years. In addition to the 90 high school students the organization supports, there are also 40 college-aged students in the program at this time.
The first partnership of its kind, the Good Merit founder is hoping sales lead to additional opportunities to design and curate select items for Meijer brand.
“Hopefully we can sell through enough to where they’ll order more items and we can design more items,” Merritt says.
While the collection is now available, there is no set time frame for the items to be removed from shelves. Customers are strongly urged to shop the collection while supplies last.