For the last 20 years, skateboarding brand Etnies has been giving back to people in need, largely many of those living homeless in the U.S.
This year, in partnership with the nonprofit Los Angeles Mission, Etnies took to the streets of downtown Los Angeles for its annual #EtniesGivesBack event. The brand was able to give away 1,500 pairs of shoes, while Active Ride Shops contributed an additional 1,500 pairs of socks.
Upon his arrival in America to pursue a skateboarding career, Etnies CEO and founder Pierre-Andre Senizergues was homeless before turning pro. Decades later, the experience is still with him.
“As soon as I could with Etnies, I vowed to give back to the people who share the streets with skateboarders as a way of expressing our solidarity with them as neighbors and offering them some comfort and protection,” Senizergues said.
According to Etnies, the #EtniesGivesBack program was founded in 1997 and has since donated 45,500 pairs of shoes worth $2.7 million in retail value. But Senizergues isn’t stopping there — he’s encouraging fellow skateboarders to get involved in giving back.
“Besides donating money if you’re able, I’m asking skateboarders to also think about the people we share the streets with and look after them,” Senizergues said. “Something as simple as offering a clean hoodie or bottle of water can go a long way toward helping them through another day. And don’t forget the power of a smile or kind word.”