An old Levi’s® garment factory that once sang with the whir of sewing machines will get a new life, with doors opening in 2019, as the Chamizal Recreation Center & Library in El Paso, Texas.
The space is being transformed into a community center, with a covered courtyard, library, exercise spaces, classrooms and a park.
It’s the kind of community investment, creating equal access to programs and services, which was a priority for our founder, Levi Strauss, thus making it a perfect fit as the recipient of this year’s Levi Strauss Legacy Grant. The Levi Strauss Legacy Grant is given annually in honor of our founder’s birthday to demonstrate our continued commitment to keeping our values at the forefront of everything we do. As we celebrate his 189th birthday today, we are especially proud to support the Chamizal community that is still home to many of the workers who made our products.
“The new community center and library will help invigorate a community that needs more economic and social opportunities for its residents. The grant from Levi Strauss & Co. will have a direct impact by providing much needed educational resources for community members to make progress on their dreams,” said Mark Pumphrey, El Paso Public Library Director.
The $25,000 grant to the El Paso Public Library will be used to establish training programs at the new Chamizal center, including classes for people who want to become U.S. citizens, English language classes, basic computer skills instruction, job search and small business startup classes.
It won’t be the first time that LS&Co. has supported citizenship training in El Paso. A 1987 clip from the company archives highlights how employees at LS&Co. factories taught history and civics classes to help prepare fellow El Paso workers to become citizens. In a historic milestone, 662 LS&Co. employees were sworn in as American citizens – at the time, the largest group of employees from one company to become U.S. citizens at once.
This year’s grant also reinforces the company’s commitment to championing vulnerable immigrant communities, building on last year’s Legacy Grant to United We Dream in support of their work for the compassionate treatment of immigrant families.