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Businesspeople Collaborating Over Tablet In Office Setting
Press Statement August 14, 2023

NAACP and Leslie's Announce $100,000 Contribution to Support Inclusive Economy and NextGen Leadership Programs

Businesspeople Collaborating Over Tablet In Office Setting


AUGUST 14, 2023

CONTACT: Alicia Mercedes,

WASHINGTON - Today, the NAACP announced the third round of funding in its partnership with Leslie's. Since 2021, the nation's preeminent civil rights organization has joined forces with Leslie's who has provided $100,000 per year in funding to support the NAACP's Inclusive Economy and NextGen Leadership Programs.

The annual contributions of $100,000 are equally allocated between the NAACP's Inclusive Economy and NextGen Leadership program. Through this sustained commitment, Leslie's and its foundation are supporting the NAACP's critical initiatives, promoting an inclusive economy and empowering the next generation of civil rights leaders.

"The NAACP is excited to continue our partnership with Leslie's and its foundation in supporting our Inclusive Economy and NextGen Leadership initiatives," said Yumeka Rushing, Chief Strategy Officer of the NAACP. "These grant programs will undoubtedly empower and uplift deserving entrepreneurs and nurture young adults' potential to lead our communities towards a brighter future. The collective impact of our efforts will continue contributing to positive change and promote diversity and inclusion within the business landscape."

The Inclusive Economy program, among other essential initiatives, includes the Diverse Small Business Grants, which play a pivotal role in assisting deserving entrepreneurs. The Diverse Small Business Grants are rooted in supporting businesses led by business owners from historically marginalized groups and businesses situated in Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones). The primary objective of these grants is to help entrepreneurs obtain vital business certifications which play a crucial role in facilitating networking, forming business connections, and creating partnerships.

"These certifications are impactful for small, start-up enterprises as they enhance the prospects of a diverse small business to partner with larger, well-known companies and government agencies – helping their organization and entrepreneurial business ideas thrive and grow," said Brad Gazaway, Chief Legal, Real Estate, & Sustainability Officer for Leslie's. "We are thrilled to partner with the NAACP in support of diverse small businesses and their entrepreneurial leaders, as well as propel the NextGen Leadership program supporting young adults seeking to become the civil rights leaders of tomorrow."

The NAACP is grateful for Leslie's unwavering commitment to fostering an inclusive economy and investing in the development of young entrepreneurs. We are excited to witness the positive impact of these contributions on marginalized communities, aspiring entrepreneurs, and future leaders.

For further information about the NAACP and Leslie's Certification Boost grant, visit here.

For further information about the NAACP's Inclusive Economy and NextGen Leadership Programs, please visit our website.



The NAACP advocates, agitates, and litigates for the civil rights due to Black America. Our legacy is built on the foundation of grassroots activism by the biggest civil rights pioneers of the 20th century and is sustained by 21st century activists. From classrooms and courtrooms to city halls and Congress, our network of members across the country works to secure the social and political power that will end race-based discrimination. That work is rooted in racial equity, civic engagement, and supportive policies and institutions for all marginalized people. We are committed to a world without racism where Black people enjoy equitable opportunities in thriving communities.

NOTE: The Legal Defense Fund – also referred to as the NAACP-LDF - was founded in 1940 as a part of the NAACP, but now operates as a completely separate entity.

About Leslie's

Founded in 1963, Leslie's is the largest and most trusted direct-to-consumer brand in the U.S. pool and spa care industry. The Company serves the aftermarket needs of residential and professional consumers with an extensive and largely exclusive assortment of essential pool and spa care products. The Company operates an integrated ecosystem of 1,000 physical locations and a robust digital platform, enabling consumers to engage with Leslie's whenever, wherever, and however they prefer to shop. Its dedicated team of associates, pool and spa care experts, and experienced service technicians are passionate about empowering Leslie's consumers with the knowledge, products, and solutions necessary to confidently maintain and enjoy their pools and spas.

About Leslie's Foundation

Leslie's recognizes its responsibility to help address societal challenges by leveraging its resources, associates, and expertise. Leslie's philanthropic mission, through its foundation, is to make a positive impact and support the communities it serves across four strategic pillars. In addition to NAACP with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion, Leslie's also supports water safety education and learn-to-swim programming with partners Boys and Girls Clubs of America and YMCA; pioneering research and lifesaving care for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases with beneficiary partner, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; and disaster relief efforts with the American Red Cross.

For more information about Leslie's, visit or follow and engage with us: @lesliespoolcare on Instagram, Leslie's on Facebook, and @lesliespoolcare on Twitter.


Derrick Lewis - Youth & College Hero

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