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Charity Works: Neous Embraces Uniqueness With a Contribution to Blueprint for All + More News

A monthly roundup of footwear brands and retailers that are participating in charitable causes. Share your news with us at web@footwearnews.com.

Big Initiatives in September 2021

Sept. 15, 2021: Neous is honoring the beauty of uniqueness with a new campaign featuring a charitable component. The beloved brand and its founder and creative director, Vanissa Antonious, launched a special project for September titled the “We Are Human” campaign. The endeavor taps a wide range of models to show off the diversity of the communities that surround us, celebrating the connectivity we can find within our differences. The campaign also introduces a limited-edition take on the brand’s signature Phinia ballet flat branded with the project’s title across the heel. All proceeds from the limited-edition “We Are Human” flat will go towards Blueprint for All (Formerly the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust); the organization works with children and communities across the world to create inclusive and safe environments. The “We Are Human” Phinia design is now available to shop for $524 at Neous.com.

Sept. 15, 2021: Birdies announced a partnership with emergency preparedness company, JUDY to create a limited-edition capsule. Timed for September’s National Preparedness Month and inspired by the statistic that 60 percent of Americans have no plan in place when faced with an emergency, the two brands joined forces to raise awareness of the importance of preparing for any situation. With each sale from the new collection, a 10 percent code will be provided to go toward the JUDY emergency kit of the customer’s choice to help build their home safety system. Birdies is also donating $10K to the American Red Cross to help support disaster relief efforts in communities across the country as part of the collaboration. The two new shoe styles are available on Birdies.com and retail for $120.

Sept. 7, 2021: As the school year kicks off, Rack Room Shoes is celebrating the most talented educators. Nominations are now open online for the retailer’s annual Teacher of the Year contest, which allows customers to say thank you to teachers who have made an impact on their lives. Between now and Oct. 8, parents, guardians, PTA members and other adults 18 and older are invited to submit a video or photo and a paragraph about why their nominee deserves recognition. A public voting period will take place Oct. 18-Nov. 5, and the winners will be announced on Monday, Nov. 22. The top five vote-getters will receive free shoes for a year at Rack Room, and each of their schools will also receive a $10,000 grant to be used to toward technological upgrades.

Sept. 3, 2021: Sandal brand Hari Mari is supporting Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September through a partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Hari Mari plans to donate a minimum of $25,000 to the organization. The footwear label has been supporting the fight against childhood cancer since 2012 when it launched its Flops Fighting Cancer initiative, which includes donating 1% of all sales to support the cause. To donate, click here.

Sept. 2, 2021: Vionic and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital have teamed up for the second year to raise awareness and fund critical research for pediatric cancers during September, Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout the month, Vionic will ask consumers to donate at check-out in support of families and children. 100% of donations will be shared with  St. Jude and the PNOC Foundation, which was established by Vionic co-founder Bruce Campbell and his wife Allyn, to raise awareness and fund critical research for pediatric cancers. To learn more about supporting the cause, go to Vionicshoes.com/donate.

Sept. 1, 2021: Sarah Flint has partnered with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation for the #BeKind21 campaign, which encourages the public to practice an act of kindness from Sept. 1-21. The goal is to strengthen connections that foster mental wellness. They’re asking the public to join the Foundation’s community, which will provide access to kindness calendars, tips and inspiration from the Foundation’s co-founders and partners. Participants will have the opportunity to be featured on the Foundation’s youth storytelling platform ChannelKindness.org. As part of these initiatives, Sarah Flint will donate 500 pairs of shoes to Born This Way Foundation, for distribution to nonprofits. And 100% of proceeds from The Starry Natalie shoe, which is inspired by Van Gogh’s Starry Night, will benefit Born This Way Foundation following its launch on Sept. 12.

Big Initiatives in August 2021

Aug. 31, 2021: Amazon Prime Video has teamed up with Shoes That Fit to deliver new sneakers to grammar and middle school students in need across the country, in conjunction with its newest film, Cinderella. The project will see the online retailer bring boxes of shoes and school supplies to 11 different schools for over 5,000 children in cities like Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, DC and more. “The simple gift of a pair of new shoes can increase a child’s confidence, and aid in improving their attendance and participation at school,” said Amy Fass, Shoes That Fit’s CEO, in a statement.

Aug. 27, 2021: Foot Locker Atlanta and rapper Lil Baby teamed up to renovate a basketball court in Oakland City, Atlanta, the neighborhood that the artist grew up in. The new white and blue court features logos from Foot Locker, 4PF (the rapper’s record label) and Lil Baby. The rapper gave away over 200 bicycles to kids during the unveiling of the court, which is meant to be a spot for community gathering and future activations with Foot Locker and Lil Baby.

Aug. 26, 2021: BOBS from Skechers has released its latest charitable collection on National Dog Day to save and support shelter pets. The line, which retails from $29 to $49, features casual T-shirts, bike shorts, hoodies and sneakers — as well as coordinating dog beds and matching collars — in lighthearted paw, dog and tie-dye prints. A portion of all sales will benefit animals in need. BOBS has partnered with nonprofit Petco Love and raised over $7 million over the last five years, supporting over 1.3 dogs, cats and other animals through pet adoptions and care at nurseries and medical facilities.

Aug. 20, 2021: Famous Footwear announced that it has raised $4 million for the Ticket to Dream Foundation, its national charity partner since last summer. The money, which will support foster youth across the country, was raised was from in-store donations made by customers across the U.S. Famous Footwear has also donated over $600,000 in product during the back-to-school season and $1.7 million in product since August of 2020.

Aug. 20, 2021: Del Toro took inspiration from a tennis ball in a new collection that supports youths. The brand released a limited-edition, neon felt shoe capsule featuring the Milano Loafer and Chukka styles. Del Toro will donate 25% of all proceeds from the collection to ARF, the Andy Roddick Foundation — an organization founded by the tennis star that’s dedicated to providing after-school programs, family services and mental health tools for young people.

Aug. 5, 2021: Foot Locker in Europe announced a new program that will offer grants to young creators in Europe. The Young Creators Grant includes €15,000 to fund new works for artists and designers as they head back to school. The grant is made possible via a partnership with Creative Debuts and is limited to creatives who work in the realm of sneakers and sneaker youth culture.

Big Initiatives in July 2021

July 27, 2021: Skechers has reached a new milestone when it comes to its give back initiatives. The footwear brand has surpassed $7 million in donations to save and support over 1.3 million shelter animals in the U.S. and in Canada through its BOBS from Skechers movement. In partnership with Petco love, Skechers has helped save the lives of over 955,000 dogs, cats and other animals. Skechers has also contributed to the care of over 395,000 additional animals.

July 26, 2021: Saucony has announced its latest initiative from its Run For Good Foundation philanthropic platform, which will raise money for several children’s hospitals. The brand has teamed up with four hospitals — Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Boston’s Children’s Hospital, The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans — for an effort that will yield limited-edition footwear and apparel ranges created with help from young patients. The footwear and apparel, according to Saucony, expresses their personal stories, and 20% of every sale will be donated to the hospitals or their designated charity, for a collective minimum donation of $200,000. The lineup includes both performance and lifestyle looks, such as the road-ready Kinvara 12 and Ride 14, its pinnacle Endorphin collection and the stylish Jazz Court. The sneakers, which will drop in unisex sizing, arrive via Saucony.com on Aug. 6. Pricing will range from $90 to $200.

July 20, 2021: DTLR has awarded $40,000 in scholarships to the retailer’s employees. The company was able award the scholarships through its annual Employee Scholarship Program — with the funds going to the 2021-2022 school year. To be considered, employees must maintain a 2.5 average GPA and demonstrate leadership qualities and participate in community activities. Of the program, Tremayne Lipscomb, Community Outreach Director at DTLR Tremayne Lipscomb said: “TLR values each and every employee, and we are beyond proud to have established a scholarship program that helps assist our employees who are planning to continue their education.”

July 1, 2021: Emerging sockwear brand Cicada offers festive dress socks that not only feature designs inspired by social and environmental issues, but also benefit charity. For every pair of socks sold from the brand’s Global Warming, Poaching (referring to the illegal hunting of endangered animals) and Ocean Waste collections, $1 will be donated to relevant non-profit organizations. Available for men and women, the styles are made of 100% organic cotton and packaged in recycled paper and sustainable material to help protect the planet.

Big Initiatives in June 2021

June 25, 2021: WSS is again partnering with The WeLoveU Foundation — this time for a large-scale LA River cleanup on June 27 at Atwater Park. The cleanup is a group effort between the charitable group and Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis and Council Member Mitch O’Farrell. About 300 volunteers are expected to participate. The WeLoveU Foundation is an international NGO associated with the United Nations Department of Global Communications [UN DGC].  It leads the humanitarian activities through the “Save the World” project, aiming for a healthier earth and a brighter future. WSS has partnered with the foundation on several past community givebacks, such as the LA Blood Drive at the Banc of California and the Dallas Blood Drive, hosted at AT&T Stadium.

Big Initiatives in May 2021

May 27, 2021: Nordstrom is stepping up for the LGBTQ+ community. The retailer is providing a grant to the Trans Lifeline x FOLX Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) Care Fund to support transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming individuals who are struggling to access hormone care. This fund will underwrite their choice of Hormone Replacement Therapy care through FOLX, with 75% of funds reserved for Black and Indigenous people, and people of color. Additionally, Nordstrom will be spotlighting brands founded or designed by members of the LGBTQ+ community.

May 27, 2021: Mizuno has unveiled its latest footwear style ahead of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race: the Peachtree 52nd Wave Rider running shoe. Taking inspiration from the Constitution, the silhouette, which retails for $135, is covered in quotes and finished with a red, white and blue colorway. In addition to the shoe, which is the label’s seventh limited-edition shoe produced specifically for this race, Mizuno has joined forces with three Atlanta-based nonprofits: the National Center for Civil and Humans Rights, Equality Foundation of Georgia and Shepherd Center, to further conversations around diversity, equality and inclusion – and produced custom t-shirt designs for all three organizations.

May 25, 2021: Hibbett Sports and Nike have partnered up to award three girls’ basketball programs in Birmingham, Alabama, Decatur, Georgia and Ridgeland, Mississippi with $5,000 each for their upcoming season. The teams are, Birmingham’s Huffman High School, Lady Vikings, Mississippi’s Ridgeland High School, Lady Titans and Decatur’s Southwest DeKalb High School, Panthers. Of the donation, Sarah Sharp-Wangaard, VP Marketing, Hibbett Sports said: “We believe both education and athletics help empower young women to succeed in the future and in partnership with Nike these donations will help three top performing basketball teams continue to thrive during their next season.”

May 18, 2021: In honor of National Rescue Dog Day on May 20, Skechers is donating to Petco Love with every purchase of its Bobs from Skechers line of animal inspired shoes, apparels and accessories. The collection includes new slip-on Beach Bingo styles that are adorned with graphics of dogs and cats. Through its charity collection, Skechers has contributed more than $6.6 million to help save and support over one million shelter dogs and cats in the U.S. and in Canada. Additionally, Skechers is joining forces boxer Sugar Ray Leonard to continue the work for animals in need.  “I’m very grateful for the unconditional love that my rescue dog, Luna, shows me every day. She brings me so much joy and giving her a second chance at life has made my life even more fulfilling. I’m proud to work with Bobs from Skechers this National Rescue Day on their mission to help save shelter pets in need,” Leonard said.

May 17, 2021: Veja has teamed up with non-profit A Second U Foundation for a New York-based running club. A Second U Foundation is an organization that that gives formerly incarcerated people a second chance by training them for jobs in the fitness industry so they aren’t defined by their sentence or their charge. Their trainers will lead the Veja-sponsored running club, which officially launched over the weekend in New York City. The club is free of charge for participants. This is just one aspect of Veja’s work with various non-profits. The brand has promoted community integration by entrusting its logistics to Ateliers Sans Frontières — a non-profit that helps vulnerable individuals find jobs and regain social stability — for the last 15 years. Veja now works with Log-in’s, which provides differently-abled people with guidance to place and keep them in stable occupations.

May 13, 2021: L.L.Bean has announced plans to invest $6 million in a variety of national and local nonprofits focused on increasing access to the outdoors for all. Through a new two-year partnership, the retailer will work with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to expand its sports and recreation programming. It will also support the Outdoor Foundation’s Thrive Outside Community initiative; join forces with The Ecology School, OUT There Adventures and EqualityMaine Foundation; as well as invest in three new community projects with The Trust for Public Land. What’s more, amid AAPI Heritage Month, L.L.Bean will partner for the first time with the Cambodian Community Association of Maine and Unified Asian Communities — both based in the chain’s hometown of Maine. “If the past year has taught us anything, it is that the outdoors can have a remarkable impact on our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing,” executive chairman Shawn Gorman said in a statement. “We’re proud to partner with these organizations to ensure that the restorative benefits of being outdoors is more accessible and as inclusive as possible.”

May 11, 2021: Cook Children’s Medical Center has renamed its North Texas hospital’s infusion center after Hari Mari. The honor comes as the footwear brand has used a portion of its sales from its Hari Mari’s Flop Fighting Cancer initiative to fund treatment for pediatric oncology and hematology patients. “Since 2021, Cook Children’s has been proud to partner with Hari Mari and their Flops Fighting Cancer. As Hari Mari has grown, so too has our friendship with their incredible team,” said Grant Harris, Senior Vice President, Cook Children’s Health Foundation. Lila Stewart, Hari Mari’s co-founder echoed similar sentiments, expressing: “Hari Mari has had the distinct honor to work with the incredible leadership and staff at Cook Children’s to positively affect the lives of many brave kids battling to overcome cancer. Albeit a small part in the bigger picture of patient treatment, Hari Mari’s just so incredibly proud to know and have an association with so many heroes on both sides of that medical relationship — patient, parents, doctors and nurses alike.

Hari Mari Infusion Center
Hari Mari Infusion Center.
CREDIT: Hari Mari

May 5, 2021: Trevor Lawrence is giving back to those in need in Florida. After being drafted to the Jacksonville Jaguars and signing with Adidas, Lawrence and the sportswear giant have teamed up to release a set of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with the net proceeds of initial sales going to charities that support the Jacksonville community. Lawrence and Adidas are releasing the NFTs on Thursday, May 6 from 7 a.m. PT to 7 p.m. PT in the form of 3D animated trading card collectibles. The NFTs will be available on Bitski at (bitski.com/adidas). There will be a one-of-one NFT as a live auction for 12 hours with a starting bid of $1,000 that includes a physical copy of the NFT and a pair of his first player-edition cleats, signed by the newest NFL star. Additionally, there will be an open edition NFT for sale at $100 at the same time of the live auction and allow anyone to purchase for one hour.

Trevor Lawrence, Adidas, NFTs
Trevor Lawrence x Adidas NFTs
CREDIT: adidas

May 3, 2021: Naomi Osaka, Laureus Sport for Good and Nike are giving more young girls the opportunity to dream big. Today, Play Academy — a venture Osaka first launched in June 2020 — will be expanding to Los Angeles and Haiti. Play Academy will be partnering with GOALS Haiti to provide sports opportunities to underrepresented youth in the area. In Los Angeles, the program will provide grants to organizations that are focused on supporting Black, Asian and Latina girls.

Big Initiatives in April 2021

April 29, 2021: Skechers’ charitable collection Bobs from Skechers teamed up with Petco Love to recognize organizations around the country that have made it their mission to protect and save abandoned dogs and cats. The footwear brand and pet company provided the organizations with special grants and check celebrations in in Tampa Bay, Florida; Memphis, Tennessee; Omaha, Nebraska; Des Moines, Iowa; Lansing, Michigan; and Wichita, Kansas. Through the Bobs from Skechers collection, Skechers has contributed more than $6.6 million to help more than 1.2 million shelter pets over the past five years.

April 29, 2021: Blake Krueger, chairman of the board, Chief Executive Officer and a director of Wolverine World Wide, Inc., and country singer Brad Paisley have been named 2021 Father of the Year Honorees for the 79th annual Father of the Year Awards. Alongside Dr. Albert Bourla, CVM, Ph.D., chairman and CEO of Pfizer, who will accept the award on behalf of all Pfizer employees, Krueger and Paisley will be honored at the virtual event on June 17 benefitting Save the Children’s U.S. Programs and Advocacy. For tickets and sponsorship, please contact the Council office at 212-594-5977 or www.fathersdaycouncil.org.

April 23, 2021: Non-profit Soles4Souls is continuing its mission to provide new athletic shoes to homeless children in the U.S., via a virtual fundraising race. Through the month of May, participants can sign up as an individual or as part of a team, here, and log miles while raising funds. So far the organization has raised almost $22,000. You can donate here.

April 23, 2021: BOBS From Skechers is celebrating pets and animals in honor of Adopt a Shelter Pet Day on April 30, Pet Month of May and National Rescue Dog Day on May 20. The brand donates to Petco Love with every purchase of its diverse collection BOBS shoes, apparel, and accessories, including new animal allover print footwear styles; you can purchase styles at Skechers.com.

Big Initiatives in March 2021

March 19, 2021: Keen Utility, the work boot division of Keen Inc., has introduced the new She Builds grant program, meant to support and inspire the next generation of tradeswomen. In its first year, the program aims to award $25,000 in cash and safety footwear to U.S. nonprofits that help women and girls gain access to trade skill training and networking. Nominations for the grants can be submitted online here, now through April 8. Robin Skilling, senior director of global marketing for Keen Utility, said in a statement, “We know there is a trade skill labor shortage, and we’re here to help the organizations who are closing this gap by advancing women in this important market.”

March 9, 2021: Designer Marion Parke is celebrating Women’s History Month by donating 10% of all online sales until Monday, March 15, to Dress for Success. The non-profit organization empowers women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools to help women succeed.

March 5, 2021: Smartwool has teamed up with the United Negro College Fund for a $25,000 scholarship program for the fall ’21 semester. Ten junior or senior students, who are currently enrolled full-time at an HBCU (Historically Black College or University), will be awarded $2,500 each. Eligible recipients must attend an HBCU located in Tennessee or North Carolina, which are home states to Smartwool’s sock development team and sock mills. The winners of the UNCF scholarships must demonstrate a passion for the outdoors and exemplify one of Smartwool’s core values, including openness, advocacy, action and inclusivity. “We thank Smartwool for this investment in HBCU students,” said Maurice E. Jenkins Jr., UNCF’s VP and chief development officer. “Diversity knows no boundaries when it comes to the outdoors and creating better futures for us all. We look forward to expanding this partnership.” The application opened on Monday, March 1, and will close on Wednesday, April 28.

Big Initiatives in February 2021

Feb. 25, 2021: The Kate Spade New York Foundation has announced a $25,000 donation to support Feeding Texas in the wake of last week’s deadly and devastating snow and ice storms. The food bank is the largest hunger-relief organization in the state and provides food, resources and assistance to more than 4 million Texans every year. “Our hearts go out to our colleagues, our communities and everyone in Texas affected by Winter Storm Uri,” Kate Spade New York CEO and brand president Liz Fraser said in a statement. “With millions of Texans left without power, clean water and in freezing temperatures, we hope this contribution will help to provide quick relief to the people who need it most. In these moments, compassion and kindness are critical, and we encourage those who are willing and able to check in on their neighbors during these unprecedented times.”

Feb. 16, 2021: Frye has launched a special spring collection with Feeding America and August Alsina. The footwear brand and R&B singer have partnered up to raise money for food banks in Alsina’s hometown of New Orleans. For every pair of Melissa and Bowery Boots sold in February, Frye is donating $10 to Feeding America to support food banks in New Orleans communities that are facing hunger and food insecurity. As part of the partnership, Alsina is featured in the brand’s spring 2021 campaign, which shows him in new sneakers and boots from the collection.

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