In an extremely significant move to promote diversity within the run specialty community, the Running Industry Diversity Coalition (RIDC), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to unite the running industry to improve the inclusion, visibility, and access for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), this month launched its newest initiative — Run The Block, a mentoring and grant program focused on expanding ownership in the running industry.

Individuals who own a store with at least 51 percent Black ownership are encouraged to apply. This criteria aims to increase access to financial support and mentorship for businesses substantially owned and run by Black individuals, addressing historical barriers to access capital.

The selected entrepreneur will be granted $200,000, thanks to the support from Brooks Running and others, as well as mentorship from running industry leaders to facilitate the opening of a run specialty store. 

“Run the Block is starting a new chapter in the running industry, focusing on long-term business success and generational wealth for the communities we serve,” explains Kiera Smalls, executive director of the RIDC. “It’s more than just a mentoring and grant program; it’s about leveling the ownership playing field.”

“When Brooks first joined the RIDC, we were most excited about the opportunity for brands and retailers to come together to support necessary change in the running industry,” adds Dan Sheridan, Brooks president and COO. “We jumped at the chance to back RIDC’s ‘Run the Block’ pilot program because we saw it as a powerful way for Brooks and other industry leaders to help increase diversity in run.

“Together with our partners and allies, we aim to provide Run the Block beneficiaries our expertise and experience to help them succeed and thrive,” Sheridan adds.

The RIDC began accepting applications for Run the Block last week and they remain open until May 15, 2024. To learn more and apply for the grant program, please visit

About RIDC

The Running Industry Diversity Coalition (RIDC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was founded in October 2020 with the vision to see and experience a running industry committed to racial justice where Black, Indigenous and other people of color are welcomed, valued and amplified. The organization has driven awareness, conversations and action nationwide regarding racial diversity, equity and inclusion. With a dedication to transformative change within the sport of running and valuing progress over perfection, RIDC has partnered with over 1,000 brands, organizations, and retailers committed to advancing racial Justice both personally and professionally to collaborate and improve the inclusion, visibility, and access Black, Indigenous, and other people of color have in the running industry.