Maybe I’ve been living behind a rock somewhere, but I had never heard of “Giving Tuesday,” until just last week. As I understand it, after all the excessiveness of Thanksgiving, Black Friday Weekend and Cyber Monday, we’re all supposed to stop on that Tuesday and send out gifts to our favorite charities. It’s a very noble and necessary gesture, but do we really need to have a day assigned to “Giving”?
Not in the shoe business. When I first became a “Shoe Person” and joined this awesome industry, I was amazed by the diverse and abundant way in which shoe vendors ‘give back’ and are good corporate citizens. I had come from the apparel industry and there was very little of this type of corporate responsibility going on there, or at least, it wasn’t obvious to me. But in the shoe business, there are so many shoe companies giving back to their communities and on a global level as well, that the more I researched it, the more it made me feel proud to be affiliated with these companies and the shoe business. Here are some examples of the brands we proudly carry:
TOMS, is the most obvious example of giving back. A relative newcomer in the footwear business, their motto is “One for One,” giving a pair of new shoes away to a child in need for every pair they sell to customers like Shoes On Solano. They are in business to help change lives. They are giving shoes away in over 60 countries. The story is amazing and it works!
Dansko, unique among shoe manufacturers, has always followed a path of Gratitude to the Community, even during their meteoric rise to one of the best shoe companies around. In 2003, they launched the Dansko Foundation to inspire and facilitate charitable giving to community groups and national organizations. The Foundation has given over half a million dollars to more than 80 organizations in and around Pennsylvania, the home of Dansko. Providing meals, shelter, clothing and animal rescue services as well as educational and therapeutic programs for children and adults, The Foundation is staffed entirely by Dansko employees, who distribute funds to qualifying organizations that demonstrate benefit for humankind. And Dansko, is 100% employee owned! We’re proud to support this company and their good work.
TEVA has been supporting the same cause since their inception 25 years ago: clean water. In 2011 they launched “A Pair for a Foot”: for every pair of shoes sold, they fund clean up of a foot of shoreline somewhere in the world. In 2012 they cleaned 4.4 million feet of shoreline — that’s longer than the coast of California! This is the kind of corporate responsibility that we can all give thanks for, right?
Teva is also the official footwear sponsor of First Descents, a non-profit committed to curing young adults of the emotional effects of cancer and empowering them to regain control of their lives by experiencing outdoor adventure therapy through kayaking, rock climbing and other outdoor adventure sports. WOW. Who knew that buying great shoes did so much for so many?
Olukai, and “Team Olukai” supports the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association as well as the Maui Cultural Lands Trust. Their breath of life is about the action of giving without any expectation of receiving. Years before Olukai was profitable, they were giving back because it’s part of their core values. Their beautiful products are comparable to their beautiful spirit, so we say “Thank You” to everyone at Olukai for giving to us all!
StrideRite has a deep connection to “Kids In Distressed Situations,” Inc. (K.I.D.S.), a global charity that helps millions of children in need. Through shoe donations, they play a part in nurturing a distressed child’s self-esteem and rebuilding connections to their schools, communities, and hopes for new lives. New shoes also aid in the healthy development of growing feet, by providing the proper support and cushioning, something that has always been StrideRite’s mission.
K.I.D.S. reaches many local community charities in need across the country. Since 2006, they have donated over $12.3 million dollars’ worth of new footwear to kids in need around the world. Anyone who is aware of the extraordinary number of children in need who are helped by this, will be sure to support StrideRite in its efforts. We sure do.
I could go on for days with all the wonderful things our shoe brands are doing, but here’s a short-list of just a few more (and not every brand we carry is listed here):
UGG, Tsubo & Ahnu — “Eco-ninjas” in how they infuse responsibility and sustainability in every level of their organizations. Ahnu gives $5 a pair to the Wilderness Land Trust for every pair sold!
Puma — through their PumaVision, is dedicated to peace and sponsors a “Global Day of Ceasefire” annually.
Jambu — sponsors the Women’s Senior B Dragon Boat Racing Team. Whatever this is, it supports women and I like that!
Merrell supports the Conservation Alliance and is committed to improved sustainability in manufacturing and so much more. Great company!
Many of our brands are using environmentally friendly materials, recycled packaging and are endorsed by the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association.)
There is so much going on in our part of the family of shoe businesses, that a “Giving Tuesday” just isn’t enough. Now I hope you will have a deeper sense of what you are doing when you buy shoes from Shoes On Solano — it’s much more than just a new pair of shoes. Keep Giving.