Lululemon has announced a new charitable partnership with the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education, with plans to donate $750,000 over the next three years. Unsurprisingly, not everyone is as pleased as Lululemon is about this. But seriously, Lululemon: Official Sponsor of the Dalai Lama?
Please take a moment to chuckle at the hilarity that is a retailer that sells pants meant for performing the ancient Hindu and Buddhist practice of yoga for $100 donating to a Buddhist organization that believes all suffering in the world comes from attachment and materialism. From Lululemon's press release:
"In our 16 years working through our stores and communities, we have learned the positive impact created when athletes, yogis, and leaders leverage the connection between the heart, mind and body," said Laurent Potdevin, CEO of lululemon athletica. "Together with the Dalai Lama Center we have a unique opportunity to further inspire a compassionate, mindful generation. We truly believe that through this powerful partnership we will create real change in the world."
"At the Dalai Lama Center, our mission is to educate the hearts of children by informing, inspiring and engaging the communities around them. We are grateful for the support from lululemon to engage our community and look forward to working together to promote 'education of the heart,' which results in more peaceful, secure, engaged and compassionate children," said Fiona Douglas-Crampton, President and CEO of the Dalai Lama Center.
Obviously, plenty of people (namely these commenters on the retailer's blog post on the partnership) are accusing Lululemon of exploiting the popularity of the reputation of the Dalai Lama for its own corporate purposes, which seems to be more of a hit at corporate charity donations in general. But given their reputation for criticizing women's bodies, hunting down and banning customers found to be reselling their goods, and general PR douchebaggery, offering $750,000 to the Dalai Lama Center is a bold move—one that seems more like penance than anything else. Maybe they are still atoning for founder and former CEO Chip Wilson's various blunders. Maybe this is the first of many big steps to redirect the company in a different, better direction.
As for the Dalai Lama, I mean, dude's got a taste for Rollies, and guest edited French Vogue that one time in 1992. A donation from Lululemon is probably child's play for that dude.
Image via Getty.