Vans, Bumble and Swell: Brands in Action Series

Brands in Action

In this special series, we’re highlighting companies who are answering the call of their communities around the world. Whether in coordinated efforts with like-minded organizations or working individually to do their part, these brands are using their resources to support others.

As we move forward into an uncertain future, it’s somewhat comforting knowing we are all in it together. Finding a common thread in individual stories during a global pandemic may seem trivial, but can play a large role in mental health during isolation. These brands are persistent in their efforts to bring people together and uplift the friends, family and neighbors who need it most.


Rooted in West Coast skate culture, Vans has evolved from an Anaheim, California based rubber company into a household activewear brand. Since the 60s they’ve blended functionality with style, cultivating a culture that supports athletes of all kinds. In response to COVID-19. Vans launched a program to give back to their community and Foot The Bill. After collaborating with other brands to create custom items, they collectively raised roughly $4M to aid small businesses affected by the pandemic.

This Is Off The Wall continues to celebrate diverse stories that make their community so far-reaching. Vans is dedicated to providing a platform to share unique perspectives and creativity — what might seem to be just another footwear and apparel brand has proven itself to be an advocate for community and positive lifestyles, giving back to those in need and promoting inclusion and authenticity.


Creating opportunities to make new connections online has shifted from convenience to necessity as more social-seeking people are opting to stay home. Although the idea of online dating is not new, Bumble has modified the traditional courting approach by putting female users in the driver’s seat and prioritizing the safety of making a virtual connection. Since 2017 the dating app has partnered with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to eradicate the use of hate speech in all its forms on the platform. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement sweeping the nation, Bumble has dedicated $1M to several organizations supporting communities of color both locally and nationally. Founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd explains, “as the U.S. faces a long-overdue reckoning with centuries of anti-black racism, we're committed to ensuring our activism is truly intersectional.” Bumble’s social action efforts have also extended to the LGBTQ+ communities and their continual fight for inclusion and equality. Throughout the month of June, they held open nominations for organizations to receive a $5k donation to support their continued work.


In an expanding sea of content, it's difficult to find authentic connections and candid discussions in a virtual environment. Swell is a free audio social app that launched at the beginning of 2020 and unknowingly coincided with a time when people would be encouraged to keep a safe distance. This San Francisco-based startup is bringing back the importance of conversation and the audible nuances lost in text. Founder and CEO Sudha KV explores how Swell is changing the short form social post saying, “there’s an immediacy and authenticity in being able to hear the emotion and intent in people’s voices. It’s our oldest way of communication and it’s being lost in the digital world.” Now, more than ever, it is imperative that communities share their experiences and perspectives to encourage open conversations.

For more information on their efforts and how you can get involved, visit the websites above.

By Hailey Hess