To mark its 80th anniversary, the Two Ten Footwear Foundation set an ambitious goal to raise a total of $4 million to aid shoe families in crisis.
And at last night’s gala at the Intrepid Air & Space Museum on the Hudson River in New York, the organization achieved its target amount. During the evening’s VIP dinner — attended by around 500 executives from the industry — generous individuals pledged $1 million worth of donations, which were added to the $3 million that had been previously raised.
With that support, Two Ten said it will be able to continue to provide emergency financial assistance, natural disaster recovery aid, referral services, educational scholarships and many other programs to benefit shoe people across the country.
“We are awe-inspired by the outpouring of generosity,” said David DiPasquale, interim president of the charity group. “And because of it, Two Ten will be able to help thousands of footwear employees in the coming year recover from a natural disaster, a health crisis, pick up the pieces following the loss of a job, and so many other emergencies that can upend their lives.”
During the dinner, outgoing Two Ten chairman Greg Tunney (president of Hush Puppies) also handed over the mantle of leadership to incoming chair Debbie Ferree, president and vice chairman of Designer Brands.
And Joe Ouaknine, founder and chairman of Titan Industries, was honored with the Bob Campbell Lifetime Achievement Award, which is presented every five years to an exemplary footwear leader who has made great contributions to Two Ten.
Ouaknine proved his commitment to the organization live at the event. After offering a humble thank you for the award acknowledgement, the executive held on the mic to cajole, coerce and even shame the industry’s heavy-weights into donating more to the cause. “Lock the doors,” he said. “No one is leaving until we get $1 million from this room.” And following final donations from Seth Campbell of BBC International and Fred Mossler of Ross & Snow, the goal was met.
Two Ten’s annual gala, chaired by Cliff Sifford and the team at Shoe Carnival, drew a total of 1,100 people from the shoe industry, for a festive evening of dinner and dancing on New York’s historic aircraft carrier.
Music was provided by DJ Questlove, who quickly filled the dance floor. And guests who made donations to Two Ten had the chance to score prizes through Shoe Carnival’s signature Spin & Win wheels. Meanwhile, the Intrepid museum’s collection of antique planes and helicopters offered a unique backdrop for photo ops of friends and co-workers.