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How the Annual Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk Will Go Virtual This Year

The annual Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk serves as a way for the community of Manhattan Beach, Calif., to come together to raise support and awareness for children with special needs and education as friends and families walk from the Manhattan Beach Pier to the Hermosa Beach Pier and back. Taking place every October, the walk is put on by Skechers and The Friendship Foundation, an organization that provides programs and assistance for children with special needs so that they may enjoy an inclusive environment.

Skechers, pier to pier, walk, friendship
Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk 2019.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Skechers
Skechers, pier to pier, walk, friendship
Kodi Lee performs at the Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk 2019.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Skechers

This year, though, the event will be looking a little different. In the shadow of the pandemic, the footwear brand had to discover a safe new way to celebrate the community with a virtual walk on Sunday, Oct. 25, at 10 a.m. PT. Thus far, the brand has raised $1.5 million to go towards the cause and is hoping to raise a total of $2 million by the event’s end.

“When the pandemic hit, we realized we had to start thinking about the possibility of not being able to host an in-person event,” explained Michael Greenberg, Skechers president and co-founder of the Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk, in an interview with FN. “Completely skipping this year was not an option, especially with higher needs due to tighter budgets not only in our schools and the Friendship Foundation but for the Skechers Foundation’s national scholarship program recipients. We knew we had to help, this year more than ever.”

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Skechers, pier to pier, walk, friendship
(L-R): Michael Greenberg with Marcus and Owen from the Friendship Foundation at the 2019 Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Skechers

“Not only will the Walk be hosted this year with the intention to generate donations for children with special needs and education, but it will also serve as an outlet to provide the community with a sense of camaraderie during these unprecedented times,” said Greenberg. “Even more special will be the heart of the event – the children – coming together to put on this year’s virtual Walk to show their thanks. It will be a Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk we will never forget.”

Skechers, pier to piere, walk
CREDIT: Courtesy of Skechers

 

This online event is set to be hosted by South Bay students with NBC4 as the program’s media sponsor. The walk will also include guest appearances from a few recognizable names like Tony Romo, Sugar Ray Leonard, Matt Kuchar, Howie Long, Brooke Burke, Denise Austin and more.

Read the full interview with Michael Greenberg below and to register for this year’s virtual event, go to SkechersFriendshipWalk.com.

Amid COVID, what were some challenges Skechers faced to support the Walk and redefine what a virtual one looks like?

MG: When the pandemic hit, we realized we had to start thinking about the possibility of not being able to host an in-person event. Completely skipping this year was not an option, especially with higher needs due to tighter budgets not only in our schools and the Friendship Foundation but for the Skechers Foundation’s national scholarship program recipients.  We knew we had to help, this year more than ever.

Not only will the Walk be hosted this year with the intention to generate donations for children with special needs and education, but it will also serve as an outlet to provide the community with a sense of camaraderie during these unprecedented times.  Even more special will be the heart of the event – the children – coming together to put on this year’s virtual Walk to show their thanks. It will be a Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk we will never forget.

How has COVID affected sponsorship opportunities and fundraising?

MG: We are fortunate to have the continued support of many of our regular sponsors – including NBC4 Southern California, Petco Foundation, CET Foundation, Steel Sports, Kinecta Federal Credit Union, Dakine, Verte, WSS, Finish Line, TJ Maxx, Off Broadway, Ross Stores and many more. The event, whether in-person or virtual, would not be the success it is without their unwavering dedication. We take great pride in the Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk being Southern California’s largest demonstration of support for public education and children with special needs, and always welcome new sponsors to join and support our mission.

In light of COVID, does that bring a different meaning or direction to the charity’s initiatives?

MG: Everyone has been affected by the pandemic in more ways than one.  Countless families have risen above the challenges and difficulties this year has brought – some finding new ways to support their kids with special needs at home.  Teachers look to find creative ways to inspire students while they continue to learn remotely.  Young athletes use self-discipline to practice daily at their own homes.  The need across the board is tremendous.  We are constantly in awe and moved by the annual funds generated by the Walk, but this year’s offering already feels more meaningful.

What’s different this year about Skechers’ P2P Walk partners, presenters, ambassadors and entertainers?

MG: Though we are disappointed that we cannot gather in person for the 12th annual Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk, we are grateful to continue celebrations virtually with the support of our sponsors and all-star lineup of singers, celebrities and athletes – many who are on the road during the Walk and can’t participate in person. Silver lining!  AGT superstar Kodi Lee will perform for viewers, while former quarterback Tony Romo, all-star ace Clayton Kershaw, boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard, fitness guru Brooke Burke and many more are also taking part. 

What are the plans for next year’s P2P Walk?

MG: Only time will tell! Our hope of course is to join together at the iconic Manhattan Beach Pier with thousands of people, celebrities, athletes and sponsors to walk to make a difference!  Until then, we look forward to celebrating virtually on Sunday, October 25 at 10 AM. Register on skechersfriendshipwalk.com, watch, and tell your friends!  Together, we can make a difference for our kids.

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