Goleta-based Deckers has launched feet first into an ambitious charitable effort to collect 10,000 pairs of shoes to donate to the global nonprofit Soles4Souls, and it is seeking UCSB’s help to meet this soleful goal.
The local footwear company is asking for donations of new or used shoes now through April 25. It’s your opportunity to do some spring cleaning while leaving a footprint on a worthy organization, Soles4Souls, whose mission is "to collect new shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and collect used shoes to support micro-business efforts to eradicate poverty."
A shoe drop box is located on the Bren School’s Deckers Deck, where the footwear may be placed from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. In addition, donations will be accepted April 16-19 at the entrance to the Mirazozo Luminarium, an exhibit by Architects of Air that will be set up on the UCSB Faculty Club Lawn adjacent to the Lagoon.
Sean Knotts, corporate communications coordinator for Deckers Outdoor Corporation, tells the GradPost that the Soles4Souls drive is an excellent way for the company to strengthen its commitment to the nonprofit group and its cause.
"We began our partnership with Soles4Souls in 2007 because as a footwear manufacturer, it’s fairly easy for us to reduce our waste by donating shoes that are in great condition, yet aren’t fit for consumer purchase,” said Knotts, who earned his B.A. in History with a Minor in Professional Writing from UCSB last year. "We have a company Soles4Souls bin that we keep out year-round for these types of donations, in addition to employee donations."
Last year’s drive netted 6,000 full pairs of shoes and 3,000 half pairs (single shoes), he said. "We decided to step it up this year by focusing on a goal of 10,000 full pair donations."
"The Soles4Souls drive is just one example of our efforts to give back, but it demonstrates how we approach business," Angel Martinez, CEO of Deckers Outdoor Corporation, told the GradPost. "Because we’ve enjoyed success as a company, it’s our job to give back to the world and the communities that we call home."
Knotts explains that the Soles4Souls partnership is one element of a larger company program called Deckers Goods.
"Deckers Goods is a companywide program that encourages employees to give back to the causes they care about and the communities in which they operate," Knotts says. "We encourage employees to volunteer — paying them for up to 24 hours of volunteer time each year — and to give, matching employee donations to the charity of their choice, up to $1,000 each year. In addition, our six brands and our company support many different nonprofits around the world and in our local community."
One recent example of its local efforts is Deckers’ partnership with the Santa Barbara Zoo. Knotts explains:
"In 2010, the Zoo reached out to us and informed us of a penguin that was born with a foot deformity that was causing infections that were potentially life-threatening. So, our Teva brand offered their designers and their time, making multiple different prototypes for a boot that would allow the penguin — named 'Lucky' — to live safely in his habitat and provide his foot with protection. After creating a shoe model that Lucky responded to positively, Teva agreed to make shoes for the penguin for the duration of his life, in addition to special holiday-themed footwear. What’s more, Teva then partnered with an author/illustrator to create a children’s book that is sold in the Zoo gift shop, with proceeds supporting Lucky and the penguin habitat at the Zoo." The GradPost’s Torrey Trust recently paid a visit to the zoo and photographed Lucky the penguin.
For a full list of shoe drop-off locations, read Knotts’ article on Noozhawk.