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Charity Works: Caleres Reaches $1 Million Milestone in Donations to Soles4Souls + More News

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

Feb. 13, 2024: Caleres has reached $1 million milestone in donations to Soles4Souls, the organization committed to turning shoes and clothing into opportunity. This was made possible by customers rounding up at the register in store and online at Famous Footwear, and online at Caleres brand websites including Allen Edmonds, Naturalizer and Sam Edelman. The program was launched in the fall of 2023 and the funds will benefit Soles4Souls’ 4EveryKid initiative, which is committed to providing a pair of brand-new athletic shoes to students experiencing homelessness across the United States. In addition to the monetary donations, Famous Footwear customers have donated more than 15,000 of their gently used shoes in-store to the Soles4Souls 4Opportunity program. In 2022, Caleres made an initial two-year, $1 million commitment from the Caleres Cares Charitable Trust, providing both funds and new shoes to support the 4EveryKid program. The Trust commitment combined with the round-up initiative in stores and online brings the total donated to more than $2 million.

Dec. 18, 2023: For the fifth straight year, J.A.Y. Academy — the nonprofit organization founded by sneaker retail entrepreneur Eric “Shake” James — hosted its annual Adopt a Family event on the north side of Milwaukee. The event was held at the Daniels–Mardak Boys & Girls Club on Dec. 16, and was supported by Adidas Cornerstone, the athletic brand’s initiative focused on removing racial disparity by supporting businesses owned by people of color. The Christmas lists of 110 local kids were fulfilled by James and the J.A.Y. Academy, and they also received Adidas shoes, clothes, book bags and lunch. Although this is the fifth year James has hosted the Adopt a Family event with his J.A.Y. Academy, the storeowner has been doing holiday drives in Milwaukee for 10 years. “It was a pleasure to gift these amazing kids and to hear their dreams,” James told FN. “One young lady asked for a sewing machine because she wants to own her own clothing brand and promised to make me clothes for free. I’m excited for next year already.”

Oct. 5, 2023: Lâmo Sheepskin Inc. has donated more than 6,000 pairs of shoes from its Lâmo and Oomphies brands to Maui residents affected by the wildfires in August. The donations, valued at $215,000, were distributed through the Red Cross on Sept. 30 to those impacted by the Lahaina fire. According to the company, cars lined up for three miles to access the Red Cross donations. “The wildfires were devastating, and we wanted to show the people of Maui that the world is behind them,” said Brent Williams, sales rep at Lâmo Sheepskin and a Lahaina-area resident. “As a company, we knew we could do something. We pulled together as many shoes as we could and shared our love and support for the islanders.” The company was aided by its distribution center, PPM Fulfillment, and Carrier TQL and Carrier Front Line.

Sept. 22, 2023: Foot Locker partnered with Fred Jordan Missions once again for its 35th annual ‘Care for Kids’ Back-to-School Giveaway, taking place on Sept. 22 on the streets of Skid Row in Los Angeles. This event, which is one of Southern California’s longest-standing back-to-school giveaways, provides support to more than 3,000 underserved children in the community. The children receive new athletic shoes donated by Foot Locker, along with new clothing, backpacks filled with school supplies and other essential items. Joe Jordan, president of Fred Jordan Missions, said in a statement, “For many children, this will be their very first pair of brand-new shoes. This initiative, which my mother, Willie Jordan, started more than 30 years ago out of her own experience of not having shoes as a child, has been dedicated to changing the lives of children, one pair of shoes at a time.” Over the course of its history, the event has helped serve over 110,000 underprivileged children.

Sept. 15, 2023: This past weekend in Johnston & Murphy‘s hometown of Nashville, the American footwear and apparel lifestyle brand partnered with the Ted Rhodes Foundation on its annual Ted Rhodes Charity Golf Classic. The event brought together pros, Fisk University players and weekend warriors. Johnston & Murphy’s president, Danny Ewoldsen, who is an avid golfer, played alongside Fisk University’s golf coach Robert Moore as well as several players from the golf team. Johnston & Murphy also had golf personality and influencer Alexandra O’Laughlin, golf instructor to PGA pros Matt Killen, PGA golfer Ben Crane, Golf Channel’s Ned Michaels and TV personality Diggy Moreland join in on the fun. This comes as the footwear company recently outfitted Fisk University’s boys and girls golf teams for the upcoming season from Johnston & Murphy’s golf collection.

Johnston & Murphy president Danny Ewoldsen at this year’s Ted Rhodes Charity Golf Classic.

Sept. 1, 2023: The Shoe Surgeon has joined forces with 7-Eleven Inc. — specifically its 7-Eleven and Speedway banners — and nine college football players to create custom cleats for the retailer’s first Cleat Crew program. Each pair of cleats will be auctioned off during the 2023 college football season, and the proceeds will benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. The proceeds from each shoe sale by auction, 7-Eleven said in a statement, will go to that player’s local member hospital. The cleat designs, the retailer stated, will be inspired by both the athletes and the 7-Eleven family of brands. The cleats will be revealed and available for auction weekly throughout the season, and 7-Eleven will disclose the full list of participating athletes and weekly auction schedule in the coming weeks. Now through Oct. 31, the retailer said 7Rewards and Speedy Rewards members who shop participating products such as Slurpee, Big Gulp, Big Bite and Red Bull either in-store or via 7Now Delivery will be entered to win a pair of limited-edition sneakers designed by The Shoe Surgeon. Two grand prize winners, 7-Eleven announced, will be able to collaborate with The Shoe Surgeon to design their own custom shoes. Also, 7-Eleven confirmed hundreds of fans will have the chance to win limited-edition shoes designed by The Shoe Surgeon through a 7Rewards and Speedy Rewards sweepstakes. Customers can earn seven extra entries by scanning their rewards app.

The Shoe Surgeon Dominic Ciambrone Chips Ahoy!
Dominic “The Shoe Surgeon” Ciambrone for Chips Ahoy!

Aug. 30, 2023: Skechers has announced that its philanthropic Bobs from Skechers division has donated more than $10 million since the program’s launch in 2015—funds that have helped save and support 1.9 million dogs and cats in need. To celebrate the milestone, Skechers is kicking off a year-long awareness campaign with the Bobs from Skechers Paws for a Cause Design Scholarship, which will give college creatives the opportunity to design styles that improve shelter animals’ lives. The Bobs from Skechers Paws for a Cause Design Scholarship will give two students the opportunity to see their shoe designs produced and sold in the 2024 collection, and will provide $10,000 scholarships from the Skechers Foundation, one-on-one corporate mentorships and donations to local animal welfare organizations. Open to students at United States colleges and universities who will be enrolled in the 2024/2025 academic year, the Bobs from Skechers Paws for a Cause Design Scholarship will accept applications from Sept. 1 through Oct. 15, 2023. “This $10 million achievement is thanks to the passionate pet lovers who have been part of the Bobs story for the past eight years,” Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers, said in a statement. “They saw Bobs from Skechers as a positive, practical way to save lives—and their purchases have made a tremendous difference.”

Skechers, pet charity. Bobs for dogs

Aug. 28, 2023: After 15 years of hosting back-to-school giveaways in Milwaukee, sneaker retail entrepreneur Eric “Shake” James has handed out the most shoes, backpacks and school supplies to local youth at one of his events to date. On Aug. 26, James hit his target of providing 1,001 shoes, 1,001 backpacks and 1,001 school supplies to local youth from his Black Market banner. (James also owns the nearby Sneex and Clicks stores.) James also offered entertainment and additional services to families, which included food and ice cream, a DJ, bounce houses, face painting and haircuts. The event was presented by J.A.Y. Academy, the nonprofit organization founded by James in 2022, and done in partnership with Adidas Cornerstone Community. “I started this initiative in 2008 with 50 pairs of shoes, 50 backpacks and some hats. Since then, I’ve been able to make it bigger each and every year, continuously growing the event, in hopes of serving every under served youth in Milwaukee. This year’s J.A.Y. Academy back-to-school event was one for the books,” James told FN. What’s more, although sparse on details, James confirmed with FN that he is prepared to make a “huge announcement” regarding the J.A.Y. Academy on Nov. 11.

Eric James Shake Black Market J.A.Y. Academy back-to-school
Eric “Shake” James at his Black Market store for the J.A.Y. Academy back-to-school giveaway on Aug. 26, 2023.

Aug. 21, 2023: The Athlete’s Foot has announced its inaugural class of Employee IMPACT Scholarship Program 2023, where recipients will receive a $5,000 grant towards their continuing education. The scholarship program focuses on the merits of five Athlete’s Foot employees across their franchises who have shown exceptional dedication to their store and team. Recipients were nominated by a franchise partner who submitted a one-sheet write-up on each candidate to the awarding committee. This year’s class includes: Cayden Lee Usher from the Salisbury, N.C., store who will be attending Pfeiffer University and majoring in Business and Leadership; Camry Barbour from the Winston-Salem, N.C., store will attend Carolina Christian College majoring in Sports Management, Lucy Griffin from the Charleston, N.C., store will be attending the College of Charleston majoring in Communications; Anastasia Appiah from the Mableton, Ga., store will be attending Florida A&M University (FAMU) majoring in Pre-Business; and Jabari Hunte from the Barbados store will be attending the University of the West Indies Cave Hill majoring in Biochemistry with Chemistry. 

Aug. 15, 2023: During a media workout today in New York City, Altra presented a $50,000 check to the Michael J. Fox Foundation and the Bachmann-Strauss Fellowship in Dystonia Research. Altra’s donation aims to bring attention to dystonia, a neurological movement disorder, which decorated long distance runner Kara Goucher — one of its athlete ambassadors —  was diagnosed with in November 2021. “This is not just about running and podiums. This donation allows us to bring awareness to dystonia and to support what’s going on in our athlete’s life,” Altra senior manager of global brand marketing Candyce Hedlund told FN. Aside from the donation, Altra has partnered with Goucher on a special “Hope” colorway of the Paradigm 7 shoe, and $5 from every purchase goes to support Bachmann-Strauss Fellowship in Dystonia Research.

Aug. 10, 2023: To celebrate International Youth Day on Aug. 12, Teva will donate 100 percent of the marked retail price from sandal sales on Teva.com that day — up to a total guaranteed donation of $25,000 — to Camp Fire, a nonprofit dedicated to connecting young people to the outdoors and to themselves and others. “In our view, there’s nothing more important to the development of young people than to have a connection to and experiences in nature,” said Anders Bergstrom, VP and global GM of Teva Footwear at Deckers Brands.

Aug. 7, 2023: Generation S.O.S., a national nonprofit, will be hosting its annual family fundraiser to raise funds for their peer-driven program that addresses substance misuse, prevention, social pressures, coping skills, and mental health issues among teens. The event, which takes place in the Hamptons on Aug.18, will feature a conversation with Steve Madden about his personal journey, overcoming addiction, incarceration and bouncing back. TikTok’s Alex Warren, meanwhile, will perform at the benefit and discuss the importance of prioritizing mental health without stigma or shame. DJ Samantha Michelle will be the emcee of the night.

Aug. 7, 2023: Pacsun and the Los Angeles Rams have announced the continuation of their four-year partnership, which will have the retailer partnering with the NFL franchise on initiatives, activations and engagement opportunities with a goal of benefiting the youth. To commemorate the moment, Pacsun is hosting activations at Rams Training Camp in Irvine, Calif. The activations include giveaways, merchandise, prizes and more for fans, and the retailer confirmed select fans will receive a complimentary Pacsun tote bag as a gift with a purchase at the merchandise tent. Also, Pacsun stated it will offer special takeaways to participants of the inaugural Rams Football Academy youth platform who register at the training camp. Pacsun also confirmed that it will again pledge $1 million in product donations to be distributed in conjunction with the Rams, which brings the total to $3 million in product value. This continuing contribution, Pacsun stated, has impacted the lives of more than 30,000 students in recent years.

Pacsun Los Angeles Rams

July 24, 2023: Burlington Stores is gifting 1,000 teachers with a total of $500,000 for school supplies, impacting 25,000 students nationwide and encouraging customers to join in support of AdoptAClassroom.org during this back-to-school season. This is Burlington’s seventh consecutive in-store fundraising campaign with the national nonprofit. Now through August 28, 2023, customers can round up their purchase or select a donation amount at checkout at any one of Burlington’s 933 store locations. Funds raised will benefit local high-needs classrooms nationwide, providing students with much-needed classroom materials to better learn and succeed. And earlier today, to celebrate the launch of this in-store fundraising campaign, Burlington flash funded 1,000 teachers in high-needs classrooms across the country on AdoptAClassroom.org with $500 each. These funds will help provide 25,000 students with essential classroom materials this coming school year. Michael O’Sullivan, CEO of Burlington Stores, said that the company is “proud” to continue working with AdoptAClassroom.org, to support students in high-need classrooms across the country. “Together with our generous customers and associates, we look forward to raising funds so that even more students are able to reach their full potential this school year and beyond,” O’Sullivan said.

July 19, 2023: Rack Room Shoes has revealed the winners of its 2023-24 Dr. Heinz-Horst Deichmann Scholarship Program, which helps support the educational goals of its retail associates. Five employees will receive a $2,000 renewable scholarship for the coming school year: Tyler Stephens, assistant manager in Greenwood, Ind.; James Parker, senior sales associate in Lexington, Ky.; Alyssa Bell Oberg, assistant manager in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.; Summer Taylor, team lead in Prince Frederick, Md.; and Nancy Gabra, team lead in Indian Land, S.C. Additionally, scholarships from previous years were renewed, bringing the total recipients to 10. The winners were selected based on their outstanding commitment, dedication and leadership in their studies and in their communities.

July 10, 2023: JCPenney’s Communities Foundation has announced a $300,000 donation to support The Walking Classroom, a program of Alliance for a Healthier Generation (Healthier Generation). JCPenney said in a statement that the donation will support the purchase and distribution of 5,000 WalkKits, an audio device given to students with nearly 200 unique podcasts on a variety of academic subjects. Teachers can use the devices to take students on a walk while listening to educational podcasts aligned with state curriculum standards that are supported by lesson plans, comprehension quizzes and supplemental activities. Between 2023 and 2025, these WalkKits will reach an estimated 30,000 students in more than 150 classrooms, offering 1.2 million hours of instruction, social-emotional learning content and in-class mobility. JCPenney has initiated the partnership with a $100,000 donation to Healthier Generation.

JC Penney, The Walking Classroom

June 30, 2023: NIB Trust Fund (NIBTF) has signed on to become an official Hudson’s Bay Foundation Charter for Change Impact Partner.  As part of this partnership, Hudson’s Bay Foundation has committed $1.2 million to NIBTF over three years, to support its mission to address the impacts of the Indian Residential school system and support Indigenous communities across Canada. This significant contribution marks a pivotal moment in NIBTF’s journey toward creating positive and sustainable impact for First Nations individuals and communities nationwide. With this relationship, NIBTF will expand its efforts to provide educational opportunities, employment programs, and empower its beneficiaries, communities, and people. “We are deeply committed to making a meaningful difference in Indigenous communities,” Sophia Hwang-Judiesch, president of Hudson’s Bay, said in a statement. “As a company, we have a responsibility to support healing and reconciliation, and contribute to the vision of Canada as a nation rooted in reconciliation, equity, and justice.  We feel very privileged to work with NIBTF in this effort.”

June 26, 2023: Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) is teaming up once again with Soles4Souls in support of students in Washington, DC. The goal is to collectively activate the city’s trade organizations to raise funds to provide new shoes to kids experiencing homelessness. To that end, for every $20 donated, the charity will provide one child experiencing homelessness with a new pair of shoes. “We are very excited to bring the DC association community together to support these kids,” Thomas Crockett, FDRA’s Soles4theDistrict team captain said in a statement. “There are nearly 7000 homeless children in DC alone, and new shoes is a huge need for them in local schools. This is one way that we, as the industry’s trade association, can help make a real and meaningful impact in the lives of families.” To donate, please visit here.

June 12, 2023: Stuart Weitzman has made a donation to develop tennis and athletic facilities in Jerusalem and Ramat Hasharon, as part of the Israel Tennis & Education Centers (ITEC) Foundation, which helps underserved kids excel with tennis, education and other services. “I am fortunate to be able to help ITEC continue to expand its athletic and education programs,” says Weitzman, “Our future leaders come from opportunities like this. And ITEC does it as well as any organization I know.”

June 1, 2023: Keen Utility, the work boot division of Keen, has announced the six recipients of its 2023 She Builds Grant Program. The program, which launched in 2021, was created to advance the empowerment of women entering the skilled trades. What’s more, Keen Utility said the program has pledged $1 million in product and financial support to nonprofit organizations in the United States and Canada “that are leading the way to provide trade skills education and support for the next generation of tradeswomen” between 2021 and 2026. The grants — which were selected by Keen Utility and its fans — will be awarded to Black Women Build-Baltimore, British Columbia Institute of Technology’s Trades Discovery for Women, Girl’s Garage, Grid Alternative’s Women in Solar Program, Oregon Tradeswomen and Vermont Works for Women. These grants, Keen Utility said, will help provide trade skills education, expansion of workplace inclusivity training and its women’s-specific safety footwear.

May 22, 2023: Kohl’s has announced a more than $2 million donation to the American Cancer Society (ACS) over the next three years to hopes to further engage communities in cancer prevention, improve cancer screening rates, and support cancer survivors. Kohl’s partnership with ACS is built around the Kohl’s Healthy Families program, which supports the reduction of cancer risk for families in southeastern Wisconsin by increasing access to healthy foods and improving opportunities to become more active. As a component of their continued partnership, Kohl’s and ACS have announced this year’s recipients of the Healthy Eating & Active Living (HEAL) Cancer Prevention and Survivorship Community Grants. Through Kohl’s support, ACS will partner with more than 30 local organizations over three years to implement these evidence-based HEAL Community Grants. This year’s recipients are Casa Guadalupe Education Center, CORE El Centro, Cross Lutheran Church Milwaukee, Kenosha YMCA, Milwaukee Catholic Home, Perseverance Health and Wellness Coaching, LLC, Running Rebels Community Organization, Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, Inc, HEAL Cancer Survivorship Grantees, Aurora Team Phoenix Cancer Care Survivorship Program, Divine Intervention Fitness, LLC, Milwaukee Consortium for Hmong Health, Inc., and Tricia’s Troops Cancer Connection.

May 19, 2023: In response to the tumultuous natural disaster across Turkey and Syria and the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the team at Twisted X is teaming up with Soles4Souls to support disaster relief efforts. For the initiative, Twisted X supplied more than 15,000 pairs of men’s, women’s, and youth footwear to Soles4Souls with a retail value of $1 million. Product donations are sorted by Soles4Souls and transported to vetted nonprofit organizations on the ground to ensure entire communities have access to the essential items. “At Twisted X, compassion is one of our highest priorities and we feel a strong sense of urgency to take action and assist communities in need however we can,” Prasad Reddy, CEO of Twisted X, said in a statement. “Our partnership with Soles4Souls allows us to provide footwear essentials in the hopes of restoring even a small sense of normalcy to those in need during times of turmoil.” Twisted X previously partnered with Soles4Soles in 2022 to provide over 16,000 pairs of shoes for Ukrainian relief efforts. In 2021, the brand partnered with Two Ten Footwear to donate footwear for the Share Your Shoes Program that benefited individuals affected by natural disasters.

May 19, 2023: Rack Room Shoes has announced the winners of its annual Teacher of the Year Contest, recognizing educators who have made a significant difference in the lives of their students. The five outstanding winners are Carlee Guthrie, Rebecca Yaple, Jasmine Henry, Ricardo Mendez, and Taren David. The Rack Room Shoes Teacher of the Year Contest, held annually, allows customers to nominate deserving teachers who have made a positive and influential impact. Each winning teacher is awarded a $10,000 grant for their school, along with a $500 Rack Room Shoes gift card. “We are honored to recognize these exceptional teachers who have gone above and beyond to shape the lives of their students,” Brenda Christmon, senior director of brand communication at Rack Room Shoes, said in a statement. “Their dedication, passion, and commitment to education inspire us all.” In previous years of the contest, the schools in need of technology used their grants to buy laptops for classrooms, and even equipped an entire special needs classroom with new desks.

Rack Room Shoes, Teacher of the Year Contest,
The winners of the Rack Room Shoes’ 2023 Teacher of the Year Contest.

May 17, 2023: Famous Footwear has teamed up with Reef in support of Ticket to Dream, which helps foster families fund extra-curricular activities and summer programs for their foster children. As part of the initiative, Famous Footwear is now offering an exclusive “Crystal” colorway of Reef’s Water Vista Sandal, retailing for $59. The shoe retailer will donate 20 percent of the proceeds of these sandals to Ticket to Dream. Gina Davis, CEO of Ticket to Dream, said in a statement that she is “thrilled” to be working with Famous Footwear and Reef to help foster kids get outdoors. “Whether they learn to swim, play soccer, or even learn to surf, we know these youth will be creating happy memories, friendships and life skills that help foster kids just be kids,” Davis said. “We love that customers can pick up a stylish go-to summer sandal and help foster kids at the same time. Thank you, Famous Footwear, Reef and every customer who helps us bring fun to foster kids.”

Reef, sandals, Famous Footwear
Reef’s Water Vista Sandal in Crystal.

May 15, 2023: Family Equality threw its annual Night at the Pier gala at Pier Sixty, celebrating the achievements and support of LGBTQIA+ families, parents and children across the country. The event, which honored Nicholas Hite and Amrit Kapai and Nicholas Kouchoukos, included performances by cast members from Broadway’s “Kimberly Akimbo,” “Some Like It Hot,” “& Juliet” and “New York, New York.” The evening, which raised $1.025 million for the nonprofit, ended with a dance party and ballroom dessert reception sponsored by Koolaburra by Ugg. “Journalist Sydney J. Harris once said, ‘History repeats itself in such a cunning disguise that we never detect the resemblance until the damage is already done,’” said Family Equality’s CEO, Stacey Stevenson, in a speech highlighting challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ families today. “But I’m here tonight to say loud and clear that we see the disguise — and we will not stand by and let any more damage be done.”

Family Equality, Night at the Pier, galas, gala, LGBT, LGBTQIA+, families, LGBT families, family rights, parents, children, nonprofits
Nicholas Kouchoukos and Amrit Kapai accept the Visibility Award from Margaret Josephs onstage during Family Equality’s Night at the Pier at Pier Sixty at Chelsea Piers in New York City on May 15, 2023.

May 8, 2023: Pasquale Bruni threw an intimate dinner in partnership with Autism Tomorrow and its founder, Jacquelyn Jablonski, at Parcelle in New York City. Guests including Selby Drummond, Steven Dubb, Brianna Lance and Jaime Kay Waxman commemorated the model and the jewelry brand’s shared values of community and family with the occasion. It also held special meaning for Jablonski, who began Autism Tomorrow from a lack of care for adults on the autism spectrum, including her brother. “I started Autism Tomorrow because of my family, and Pasquale Bruni being a family-run business — this partnership has felt very special,” Jablonski shared in a mid-dinner speech, “so, thank you.”

May 1, 2023: Kohl’s has made a new $3 million commitment to Children’s Wisconsin. According to the retailer, the funds will go to supporting the opening of three additional mental health walk-in clinic locations in Wisconsin. The donation, which comes on the first day of National Mental Health Awareness Month, builds on the organizations’ continued work to build awareness, remove barriers, and make critical mental health services more accessible to youth and families across the state. The new locations will offer similar services to those provided at the Craig Yabuki Mental Health walk-in clinic on the Children’s Wisconsin Milwaukee campus. The intent is to open one location each year over the next three years. Locations of the new clinics have not yet been selected but will be spread throughout Wisconsin. The walk-in clinics provide immediate mental health support to kids 5-18 years old and are staffed with licensed therapists and social workers, and offer a therapy session, safety evaluation and support in connecting families to long-term resources.

April 10, 2023: Burlington Stores has launched its inaugural in-store customer fundraising campaign with global nonprofit YouthBuild USA. Funds raised will advance YouthBuild USA’s efforts to strengthen its programming; identify additional opportunities for impact at the local level, including through expanded career pathways; and drive innovation in education, workforce readiness, and leadership development for opportunity youth. “Our new partnership with YouthBuild USA aligns nicely with our renewed community giving approach,” said Michael O’Sullivan, CEO of Burlington Stores. “As we continue to evolve and grow as a discount retailer best known for extraordinary values on brand name merchandise, teaming up with this strategic charitable partner will allow us to add value by empowering young people in our local communities nationwide to live better lives and build better futures.” Now through May 15, 2023, customers can donate at any Burlington store nationwide.

Fairgrounds Square Mall The Fairgrounds Square Mall will be a topic of discussion Wednesday at the Muhllenberg Township meeting. Burlington is one of the few stores remaining open, accessible only from its outside entrance. Photo by Bill Uhrich 2/6/2019 (Photo By Jeremy Drey/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)
A Burlington store at Fairgrounds Square Mall in Reading, Penn.

April 3, 2023: The Skechers Foundation has reached a new annual record—raising over $3.1 million in donations for children with varying abilities and education through its Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk. The annual partner appreciation event was held on Thursday, March 30, to celebrate the education foundations, which received fund distributions from the walk, and included a $1 million check for the Friendship Foundation. The $1 million will support the Friendship Foundation programs for children 8 to 35-plus with special needs, as well as the building of the Friendship Campus—a $55 million, 62,000-square-foot college-based learning, job training and creative education center scheduled to open in 2025 in Redondo Beach, Calif. In addition, more than $1.58 million in checks was also distributed to six education foundations to help support staffing and educational programs. “Our community is phenomenal. The way they’ve helped our donations reach new highs and achieve a $1 million milestone for the Friendship Foundation, their love for our kids has no bounds,” said Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers and co-founder of the event, which has raised more than $21 million for children to date.

Skechers, Pier to Pier Friendship Walk, fundraising

April 3, 2023: The Athlete’s Foot is partnering with The North Carolina Justice Center on its upcoming event “Unlocking Opportunities: A Symposium on the Business Case for Fair Chance Hiring and Second Chance Reforms.” The event, which takes place on Friday, April 21, from 9:30 am – 1:30 pm at the Capital Area NCWorks Career Center, is free, open to the public and will bring together North Carolina residents, directly impacted people, and local business leaders to hear presentations on the economic and community safety benefits of fair chance hiring, second chance initiatives, and reforms. “Providing people with criminal records the opportunity to obtain meaningful employment not only helps them support themselves and their families but also contributes to the economic well-being of our communities,” Reggie Shuford, executive director of NC Justice Center, said in a statement. “Business leaders can play a critical role in breaking down barriers to employment for justice-involved people by adopting fair chance hiring practices and supporting second chance policy reforms.” To register to attend the event in person please go to ncjustice.org/secondchancesymposium.

The Athlete's Foot
The Athlete’s Foot store exterior

Feb. 8, 2023: Kohl’s announced today a $750,000 donation to Hunger Task Force to further the organization’s mission of ensuring everyone in the Milwaukee community has access to nutritious food at no cost. The grant, which is a continuation of Kohl’s and Hunger Task Force’s 14-year partnership, will address current food donation shortages with the delivery of 10 truckloads of food to ensure the nonprofit can continue to meet demand. Funding will also help ensure an average of 31,000 individuals a month have access to free, healthy food options by supporting Hunger Task Force’s network of 68 food pantries, homeless shelters, senior dining sites, and soup kitchens, and provide kids free meals this summer through the Milwaukee Summer Meals program.

DORAL, FLORIDA - JUNE 07: A person walks near a Kohl's department store entranceway on June 07, 2022 in Doral, Florida. Kohl’s announced that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with Franchise Group, which is proposing to buy the retailer for $60 per share. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A Kohl’s store in Doral, Florida.

Jan 26, 2023: Texas-based footwear brand Twisted X today launched a new collab collection created in partnership with Cook Children’s in Fort Worth, and all wholesale proceeds from the line will go directly to the health care organization. The collection includes four unique slip-on shoes designed by young patients at Cook Children’s with the help of Twisted X designer Tuan Lee. Each pair is named after the artist and embodies their dream pair of footwear. “I like my shoe and my favorite part about it is that it’s rainbow colored and I love rainbows,” said Alex, a 6-year-old with ketotic hypoglycemia. The sneakers are available at select Twisted X retailers nationwide.

Cook Children's Twisted X shoe collaboration
Twisted X shoes specially designed by Alex, a patient at Cook Children’s in Texas.

Jan. 20, 2023: Dillard’s Inc. announced it will contribute $289,000 to local Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Chapters — the result of sales of its exclusive “Southern Living Christmas Cookbook” during the holidays. The 256-page hardbound cookbook featured 100+ new recipes and 125+ full-color photos. With this year’s contribution, Dillard’s has donated more than $15.6 million since 1994 to local RMHC Chapters to support Ronald McDonald House programs. Joanna Sabato, chief marketing and development officer at RMHC Global, said in a statement, “We are incredibly grateful for Dillard’s generous donation and commitment to support our mission to keep families with children who are sick together.”

Dillard's at The Avenue shopping mall at Carriage Crossing in Collierville, Tenn. (Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)
Dillard’s at The Avenue shopping mall at Carriage Crossing in Collierville, Tenn.

Jan. 10, 2023: Macy’s customers raised $4.8 million to help fuel life-changing mentoring experiences for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) this holiday season. Throughout the months of November and December, Macy’s customers donated online at macys.com and by rounding up in-store purchases. The funds raised will expand the reach of BBBSA’s mentoring model, connecting more young people with mentors and mentorship experiences they need to reach their full potential. Fundraising efforts engaged all 230+ Big Brothers Big Sisters agencies, reaching 5,000 communities in all 50 states. By 2025, Macy’s, Inc. aims to give more than $125 million to nonprofit organizations whose work is aligned with its social purpose platform Mission Every One.

Macy's Herald Square
People walk by the Macy’s store on March 24, 2020 in New York City.

Jan. 10, 2023: To kick off the new year, Kohl’s is donating more than $500,000 to more than 20 nonprofits serving families in Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties through the Kohl’s Hometown Giving Program. The Kohl’s Hometown Giving Program, now in its fifth year, is an important part of the retailer’s local community support and provides another funding opportunity for nonprofits looking to expand and develop their programming to further enhance the health and wellness of families. Grants range from $5,000 to $25,000 and are made possible through the Kohl’s Cares merchandise program, which sells children’s books and plush toys and donates 100 percent of the net profit to health and wellness organizations nationwide. Since the inception of Kohl’s Hometown Giving Program, the company has donated more than $2.5 million to nonprofit organizations in the Milwaukee area.

DORAL, FLORIDA - JUNE 07: A person walks near a Kohl's department store entranceway on June 07, 2022 in Doral, Florida. Kohl’s announced that it has entered into exclusive negotiations with Franchise Group, which is proposing to buy the retailer for $60 per share. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
A Kohl’s store in Doral, Florida.

Jan. 5, 2023: Baffin‘s latest launch is all about doing good. The outdoor footwear brand announced that its Companion boot, a unisex cold-weather style offered in kids, youth and adult sizing, is now available for purchase at Baffin.com, for $60 to $80 CAD, with 100% of proceeds going to Protect Our Winters Canada, a group that advocates for policy solutions to climate change. The Companion style was originally created in fall ’21 by Baffin’s Corporate Citizenship Employee Advisory Group to be used solely for donations to those in need. To that end, the brand has donated 2,500 pairs of the rubber boots to Ukrainian refugees through UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. The Corporate Citizenship EAG will continue to donate boots. And Baffin has further pledged that for every Companion pair sold at retail, it will donate at least one pair to a North American organization in need. The boots are manufactured in the brand’s Stoney Creek, Ontario, factory using 50% regrind material, supplemented with donated compounds care of supplier partners Felix Compounds and Aurora Plastics.

Baffin outdoor

Jan. 4, 2023: Tommy Hilfiger has announced the five finalists of the 2022 Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge, selected out of 259 applicants from global startups to scaleups. For the program’s fourth edition, it aims to amplify historically marginalized entrepreneurs — including Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC), individuals living with a disability and women — who are helping to advance their communities by building a more inclusive fashion industry. The finalists include Care+Wear, IDA Sports, Koalaa, Tactus and Moner Bondhu. Last month, the five finalists worked with experts from the Tommy Hilfiger global headquarters in Amsterdam, to develop practical solutions to their biggest challenges. In the program’s final phase, each will pitch their business concepts on Feb. 9 to a jury panel that includes Mr. Hilfiger, CEO Martijn Hagman and activist Halima Aden. A 200,000 euro award will be divided between the top two winners to support their ventures. Another 15,000 euros will be awarded to the “Audience Favorite” chosen by Tommy Hilfiger associates.

Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge 2022
Finalists for the 2022 Tommy Hilfiger Fashion Frontier Challenge.

Big Initiatives in 2022:

Dec. 28, 2022: Plan International Canada has announced that it has been selected as a nonprofit partner for the Uniqlo “Peace for All” initiative. With the partnership, the organization, which is focused on advancing children’s rights and equality for girls, said it will match customer donations up to 5,000 Canadian dollars (roughly $3,676 at the current conversion rate) from Dec. 30 through Jan. 13, 2023. The donation-matching campaign, the organization said in a statement, will raise funds for its “Youth Leaders in Canada” Gift of Hope that “unites youth of all backgrounds to take a stand as the next generation of global leaders.” Customers can donate to Plan International Canada at the checkout in all Uniqlo stores in Canada and online.

Dec. 23, 2022: DTLR announced it collected more than 30,000 toys for the past few weeks across all of its stores for its annual “Soleful Time of the Year” toy drive. The toys, according to DTLR, will be donated to more than 150 nonprofits, schools and community centers. DTRL said hundreds of local organizations that could help distribute toys to local communities were identified by stores.

Dec. 20, 2022: Academy Sports + Outdoors announced it has donated over $250,000 to its local communities this holiday season. Academy activated more than 50 holiday shopping events across its footprint to give back to thousands and surprise hundreds of shoppers through its annual “Traveling Santa” initiative at each of its 268 stores throughout December. Through its annual “Traveling Santa” initiative, Academy surprises customers doing their holiday shopping by helping pay for their holiday gifts. The company’s charitable events include in-store shopping sprees, bike donations and other giveback initiatives in 50 communities across Academy’s footprint.

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