Two Ten Footwear Foundation is off and running.
The charity group gathered in front of New York’s City Hall on Monday to officially kick off Footwear Cares, a weeklong initiative in which shoe firms across the country will participate in various community service activities.
“Footwear companies have been working in their local communities for decades, but very quietly,” said Two Ten President Neal Newman. “Now it’s time to shine the spotlight on an industry that gives so much back to our local cities.”
Also speaking at the event was Kenneth Cole, who added, “Two Ten has made a significant impact in our industry, and it’s one we can all be proud of.”
As part of the initiative, more than 60 companies across the country will participate by volunteering in their local areas. Firms in New York include Foot Locker, Steve Madden and Michael Kors.
“One of the important missions of Two Ten was not only to help people in the industry but the surrounding communities we’re a part of,” said Anna Bakst, president of footwear and accessories for Michael Kors. Her company participated in the inaugural event by volunteering at food bank charity God’s Love We Deliver earlier this month.
Bakst added that Two Ten already is looking to bolster Footwear Cares for 2014. “The plan is to make this an annual event,” she said. “It’s something we’re going to be building on.”
Also on hand at the kickoff were Two Ten board members Susan Itzkowitz of Marc Fisher Footwear, Katie Butler of Nine West and Danny Muskat of Deer Stags. Several members of the New York City Council were also in attendance.
In the wake of last week’s bombing during the Boston Marathon, Newman added that Two Ten has started outreach to retailers affected in the area.
“We are talking to a number of retailers whose stores have closed as a result of the bombing,” Newman said “There are a number of people who’ve missed work … so we are reaching out to them and seeing how we can provide help.”