By: eBay News Team & Members of eBay’s Black Employees at eBay (BEE) Community of Inclusion
Date: January 21, 2020
For AfroTech 2019, eBay partnered with Louisiana-based, Retail Revival artist Kristen Downing of KAWD to create custom sneakers for an exclusive sweepstakes in support of an Oakland-based nonprofit.
What makes our global marketplace so vibrant is the mosaic of voices, representing many walks of life and communities, who buy and sell on our platform, join our workforce and bring their best selves to our workplace. Diversity and Inclusion are core to who we are at eBay.
Every year, we’re proud to support the AfroTech conference in the Bay Area, which convenes black technologists, creatives and entrepreneurs from across the globe. In 2019, AfroTech attracted more than 10,000 participants to network, explore employment opportunities and learn from industry thought leaders spanning a myriad of topics. eBay has supported AfroTech since it began in 2016 as its first corporate sponsor and remains committed to the organization’s vision.
Our engagement featured artist and eBay Retail Revival seller Kristen Downing who customized six pairs of sneakers, which were the prizes of an exclusive sweepstakes for AfroTech attendees. Proceeds raised from the sweepstakes were bolstered by the eBay Foundation and donated to The Hidden Genius Project (HGP), an Oakland-based nonprofit, which provides young black men with mentorship and training to excel in the tech industry.
“The most powerful aspect of the partnership was the incorporation of a theme — sneakers and style — that resonates so deeply with the young people we serve,” said HGP’s Executive Director Brandon Nicholson. “We have Hidden Geniuses who have built technology projects centered on a love for sneakers, so for eBay to connect the dots between tech, fashion and artistic creativity — all woven throughout black identity — marked a powerful moment.”
In addition to proceeds from the sweepstakes, eBay also donated more than $20,000 to support HGP’s mission and efforts.
“eBay’s financial support resources us to connect our young people with even more moments wherein they can identify pathways, niches, and opportunities that can help them marry their interests with meaningful skills, and ultimately thrive,” Brandon added.
We caught up with several employees and Kristen about their AfroTech experience, and here’s what they had to say.