Muhammad Ali may be gone, but he’s not forgotten.
Kicking off as part of its holiday initiatives, J.C. Penney Co. Inc. has named the late boxer its goodwill ambassador through a new partnership with Muhammad Ali Enterprises. Under the terms of the long-term deal, Ali’s Six Core Principles — confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, spirituality and respect — will be integrated into the retailer’s community initiatives beginning Nov. 30 with a “Be the Greatest” campaign in honor of Giving Tuesday.
Penney’s has selected Step Up, an organization that empowers young women to become confident and career-focused, to serve as the inaugural charitable partner. The campaign will be ongoing and will aim to inspire Penney’s associates and customers to make a difference in their communities.
The “Be the Greatest” campaign will kick off with a virtual livestream event featuring a surprise guest from Muhammad Ali Enterprises, alongside members of the Penney’s and Step Up communities. The retailer will also make a $100,000 donation to the charity.
“I have always believed that Muhammad belonged to the world,” said Lonnie Ali, the late boxer’s wife. “The principles by which he lived are more relevant than ever in 2021. I know that Muhammad would be honored to see his Six Core Principles illuminated by J.C. Penney and extended to the young women of Step Up.”
Andre Joyner, senior vice president and chief human resources officer at Penney’s, said the Six Core Principles “are a natural extension of J.C. Penney’s founding principle of the Golden Rule — to treat others as we would like to be treated.” Penney’s has supported the charity since 2018 by providing grants for prom dress shopping, mentoring and most recently, a virtual panel for International Women’s Day.
The partnership was created by Authentic Brands Group, which owns Muhammad Ali Enterprises in partnership with Lonnie Ali.
Last month, Penney’s worked with ABG to launch Juicy by Juicy Couture, a derivative brand of the Juicy Couture collection. Juicy, which was founded in 1997, was purchased by ABG in 2013. The brand management firm is working ABG is helping to strengthen the merchandising at Penney’s, which was bought out of bankruptcy last year by Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management.