LOS ANGELES — The Two Ten Footwear Foundation and Zappos.com are teaming up next month to raise as much as $250,000.
Jim Salzano, president of The Clarks Cos. N.A. and vice chairman of Two Ten, said the charitable organization had been searching for “non-traditional” ways to advance its fundraising prowess, while also elevating awareness of the group’s work within the footwear industry.
“We went to Zappos [earlier this year] to get advice [on online fundraising],” Salzano said. “What we got was so much more than we could have asked for.”
Graham McCulloch, senior buyer at Zappos, said the e-tailer has historically made donations to Two Ten, but as discussions evolved internally about fundraising ideas, executives found further reasons to partner. For instance, many employees had benefited from the charity’s scholarship program. “At Zappos, we’ve always supported Two Ten to an extent, but as we started digging we realized how many Zapponians have received aid at one point or another.”
McCulloch said his team then committed to making this a major initiative at the company. He also said Zappos execs realized how many footwear brands were unaware of Two Ten and its philanthropic endeavors.
“There was a bigger gap there than we realized,” McCulloch said. “We wanted to make sure West Coast and action-sports and outdoor companies knew about Two Ten. Times are still tough in the economy, and employees should know this organization exists. We all should support it.”
The Zappos team set out to get as many vendors as possible involved in its new initiative. For all of August, Zappos is asking vendors to donate $1 per pair sold on the site. So far, nearly 50 brands have agreed to participate, including Tretorn, Frye, Munro American, Donald J Pliner, Lacoste and Stuart Weitzman.
“It’s been pretty fun to introduce brands to Two Ten, brands that honestly had not heard much about Two Ten at all,” McCulloch said. “It’s been neat to see their eyes light up. They’re excited to support an organization like this.”
And while Salzano welcomed any funds raised, he stressed that the initiative’s purpose is to connect with individuals working in the industry. “Don’t get me wrong, the money is nice to spread more relief and [offer] more scholarships,” he said, “but the point of this is to make people more aware and spark interest among new brand partners that might want to look deeper into what Two Ten does. It’s both fundraising and friend raising.”