Why did we choose Chicago to be the base for our social element?
First things first, Chicago is the capital of the Midwest, and we are Midwesterners. We know it's not cool and whenever a movie needs a generic setting they choose the Midwest. But it is a real place full of real people living real lives. Inner city Chicago is full of capable people facing a different set of circumstances. Truthfully, until I (Adam) was in my early 20's I didn't know this. I'll explain.
In a summer off from undergrad, a former mentor turned missionary put out an ad looking for 2 camp counselors for a bible camp he directed each summer for kids from inner city Chicago. Being that my childhood best friend and I were doing nothing productive, we both figured we'd give it shot. During the process, we were both very impressed with the resiliency that kids showed and blown away by how different their lives were from ours. While we were annoyed to be swimming in a lake instead of a pool, the vast majority of our kids had never taken swimming lessons. It wasn't that they weren't capable or didn't want to; they'd never been taught.
I actually spent the entire next summer interning with the same organization. My days included teaching bible lessons, making snacks, being the time-out monitor and, for the first time in my life, playing in opened fire hydrants. During the process, I came to know and trust Inner City Impact who has been in the neighborhood making a difference for over 40 years.
When it came time to launch the brand, there was no doubt that Inner City Impact would be our pilot partner. To be completely honest, they had been integral in designing the social aspect. When we asked how we could help, they said uniforms. When we released a tee, they were taking kids camping. Truthfully, it's been an organic partnership, and we wouldn't want it any other way.