In the wake of a public relations nightmare after members learned investor Stephen Ross hosted a political fundraiser for President Donald Trump, chairman Harvey Spevak announced Thursday that the tony gym will donate $1 million to five charities.
“Many of you have asked for clarification on Stephen Ross’s investment in Equinox. Mr. Ross is not the majority investor in Equinox. He is one of the investors including myself. He does not run the company. I do. I am the Executive Chairman of Equinox and have led the vision and strategic direction of the company since I joined in 1999. Our focus has always been about building a community centered on our values, not politics,” Spevak explained in a memo sent to members and staff.
Last week, Equinox and sister gym, SoulCycle, faced a firestorm after it was revealed Ross was hosting the event, with celebs and activists freaking out on social media and members canceling subscriptions. The fitness company also operates PURE Yoga and Blink Fitness.
In his memo, Spevak championed the team at Equinox, calling them “the foundation of our culture, a culture based on equality, diversity, inclusivity, integrity, empathy and mutual respect. A community where everyone is welcome.”
“We live our values every day, which means giving back to the communities that have given us so much,” he wrote before announcing that the company will make donations to Cycle for Survival, The Heroes Project, The Felix Organization, Move for Minds and House Lives Matter.
“While I don’t have all the answers, what we have heard from many of you is that you would like Equinox to immediately help amplify your voice in support of causes we as a community have always held close. As a next step, Equinox will make a $1 million donation to benefit the five charities mentioned above. From August 17 through August 31, every check-in will be an opportunity for our members and employees to select how our donation will be allocated among the causes.”
As Equinox struggles to recuperate after the backlash, Spevak wants members to know he’s aware of their concerns.
“We will continue to listen to your thoughts and ideas, and while we have a lot of work to do, I am confident that together we will come out a stronger community.”