When Corporate Strategy Becomes Corporate Giving
Companies are cutting corners in every possible place these days, trying to sell their product at any cost and keep their business afloat. Still, some companies are focusing less on their profit margins, and more on what positive impact they can have on people who are struggling financially across the globe. TOMS Shoes is such a company. Launched by a mission, more than a business plan, in 2006 TOMS Shoes "was founded on a simple premise: For every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. One for One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what we're all about."
Though it's reminiscent of the One Laptop Per Child movement, TOMS Shoes serves a far more basic, human purpose. To provide footwear to children across the globe who have health-related problems due to their lack of viable clothing. Furthermore, "many times children can't attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don't have shoes, they don't go to school." Thus, TOMS mission, combined with the enthusiastic support of the American consumer thus far (300,000 pairs of shoes are projected to be donated for 2009), is a simple idea that leads to real-world results.
On April 16, TOMS is sponsoring "One Day Without Shoes." People are encouraged to go barefoot this day, to raise awareness to family, friends, and strangers, about the global need for proper clothing. TOMS is also hosting events, divided by state, and encourages activists to host their own events and post them on their message board. Aside from recognizing this day of awareness, there are plenty of ways for donors to participate with TOMS, including interning, joining a mobile educational team, or becoming a campus/community group representative. And, of course, buying a pair of shoes also makes a difference!