When It Comes to Causes She Believes In, Serena Williams Is Not Here for the Status Quo

The tennis superstar is intent on making change happen

The Yetunde Price Resource Center is named after Venus and Serena’s half sister, who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Compton.
Yetunde Price Resource Center

Beyond her work with established brands, Williams channels considerable energy into effecting change, and her fashion line, Serena, is the most recent, and tangible, example. While other marketers use female empowerment as an angle to enter the zeitgeist, Serena is premised on the concept.

“As women, we’re expected to do everything,” Williams explains at serenawilliams.com, where the price points are as inclusive as the sizes. “As an athlete, an entrepreneur, a daughter, a sister, a wife and now (wow!) a mother, I know it’s not always about perfection, but being prepared for whatever life throws in your direction.” She goes on to encourage women to support each other because “every woman’s success should be an inspiration to another.”

Venus and Serena Williams cofounded the Yetunde Price Resource Center to support victims of senseless violence in South Los Angeles.
Yetunde Price Resource Center

On the community front, she and sister Venus co-founded the Yetunde Price Resource Center in their hometown of Compton, Calif., to help provide “trauma-informed programs that promote individual and community-wide healing and resiliency” to victims of violence in the South Los Angeles neighborhood and surrounding areas where such resources are scarce or under promoted. (The center is named for their half sister, who was killed in a drive-by shooting in Compton.)

And as an investor in emerging businesses, Williams is especially keen to support companies founded by African-American women who are inspiring in their own right. “I have to believe in the founder and what they say and how they feel,” she says. “For me, it’s just about that.”

In short, Williams’ philanthropic efforts, investments and female-empowerment-inspired fashion line are pegged to a value she holds dear—namely, equality among the classes, genders and races. Why set small goals, right? 

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This story first appeared in the November 5, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.