All in the Fam­ily

How the Edel­mans and Two Ten are team­ing up to raise crit­i­cal funds for peo­ple in need while fo­cus­ing on in­clu­siv­ity and the next gen­er­a­tion.

Footwear News - - CONTENTS - By FN Staff

The Edel­mans are pump­ing up the in­dus­try ahead of Two Ten’s big­gest event.

For 79 years, Two Ten Footwear Foun­da­tion, the char­ity ded­i­cated to help­ing shoe peo­ple in need, has been a pow­er­ful force in unit­ing the in­dus­try for good. ➵ As the or­ga­ni­za­tion preps for its an­nual gala on Dec. 5, its needs are greater than ever — emer­gency-call vol­ume has in­creased nearly 20 per­cent year over year. The group is bank­ing on the an­nual fundraiser to drive much-needed dona­tions — and in­dus­try vets Sam and Libby Edel­man are lead­ing the charge, along with son Jesse Edel­man, as gala co-chairs.

“Ev­ery year is dif­fer­ent, and this time, the Edel­mans are bring­ing an enor­mous amount of cre­ative en­ergy to the gala. From the start, they wanted it to be more ac­ces­si­ble and for peo­ple who typ­i­cally don’t at­tend to be there,” said Two Ten pres­i­dent Neal Newman.

Last year, fa­ther-son duo Bob and Seth Camp­bell fu­eled the fundraiser with their fo­cus on the next gen­er­a­tion, help­ing to raise $3.6 mil­lion. Now the Edel­mans are tak­ing that same idea of in­volv­ing more emerg­ing lead­ers to the next level — and aim to help Two Ten raise $3.7 mil­lion over­all.

To en­hance a sense of com­mu­nity, the gala will fo­cus on a new for­mat. Rather than two sep­a­rate events, the fete will gather 850 shoe peo­ple in one room at the Amer­i­can Mu­seum of Nat­u­ral His­tory in New York.

“We ap­proached [or­ga­niz­ing the event as a way] to bring ev­ery­one to­gether in demo­cratic union and talk about the fu­ture of the in­dus­try,” said Sam Edel­man, pres­i­dent and co-founder of his name­sake brand. “We also felt if we could do it as a fam­ily, this would be a won­der­ful way to meld young and older [gen­er­a­tions].”

The Two Ten As­so­ciate Board, which com­prises fu­ture young lead­ers, in­clud­ing Jesse, has cre­ated spe­cial ini­tia­tives for the evening to help fur­ther ex­e­cute the goal of in­clu­sion.

For in­stance, in ad­di­tion to launch­ing a silent auc­tion ahead of the event via a mo­bile app, As­so­ciate Board mem­bers will be man­ning elec­tronic “jars” dur­ing cock­tail hour. (Guests can dip their credit card to make spe­cific gifts for footwear fam­i­lies in need.)

“The dona­tions don’t have to be in the thou­sands; it can just be a cou­ple of dol­lars,” Jesse said.

Even the small­est dona­tions can go a long way: $25 will go to a school back­pack, $50 can go to­ward a bag of gro­ceries, while $75 can keep the heat on for a month.

“It’s trans­par­ent,” added Sam. “That’s some­thing mil­len­ni­als are in­ter­ested in, and it will help peo­ple re­al­ize the im­por­tance of their do­na­tion.”

While the evening is ex­pected to be a fun re­fresh, the fu­ture of Two Ten re­lies on this an­nual event. “This year, we are aim­ing to de­liver over $2.2 mil­lion of emer­gency as­sis­tance for the year,” Newman said. “Last year, we went $600,000 over bud­get to ad­dress the cri­sis in Puerto Rico. Given that this has been an­other ex­traor­di­nary year with hur­ri­canes and now with the Cal­i­for­nia wild­fires, we need to raise more money than we ever have.”

How­ever, he said the gala has an­other big ben­e­fit: bring­ing peo­ple to­gether. “The more suc­cess we will have as an in­dus­try will hap­pen be­cause we are [work­ing as one],” Newman said.

The group also is hon­or­ing three ded­i­cated mem­bers of the in­dus­try. Zap­pos.com, Skech­ers pres­i­dent Michael Green­berg and Katie But­ler, SVP/GM of Franco Sarto at Caleres will be hon­ored for their tire­less phil­an­thropic ef­forts. There will also be a mo­ment ded­i­cated to 12 un­sung he­roes, in­clud­ing FDRA pres­i­dent and CEO Matt Priest

“Ev­ery year is dif­fer­ent, and this time, the Edel­mans are bring­ing an enor­mous amount of cre­ative en­ergy to the gala.” — Neal Newman, Two Ten

“Spe­cial-needs kids are of­ten iso­lated so­cially, so the idea is to bring them to­gether with main­stream kids to bond and forge friend­ships. ” — Award win­ner Michael Green­berg

and Or­tho­Lite’s Glenn Bar­rett, who will be cel­e­brated for their work be­hind the scenes.

Two Ten’s chair­man, Greg Tun­ney, pres­i­dent of Hush Pup­pies, re­it­er­ated how im­por­tant the big night is to the suc­cess of Two Ten. “The gala rep­re­sents over 50 per­cent of to­tal an­nual rev­enues. Ev­ery year, there are new peo­ple in the in­dus­try, so the ed­u­ca­tion and aware­ness need to con­tinue,” Tun­ney said.

As the footwear in­dus­try con­sol­i­dates, Tun­ney stressed how im­por­tant it is for com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als stay ac­tive. “We are blessed to have a $40 mil­lion en­dow­ment, and it con­tin­ues to grow. I would call that our gas tank, but it’s not a piggy bank. We want it to be there for gen­er­a­tions to come, so we need to be ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient.”

For more on the award win­ners, read on.

A WALK TO RE­MEM­BER

As a young child, Skech­ers pres­i­dent Michael Green­berg spent sev­eral years serv­ing as a helper and men­tor to spe­cial-needs stu­dents at his el­e­men­tary school. Decades later, that ex­pe­ri­ence in­spired him to co-found the Friend­ship Foun­da­tion, a South­ern Cal­i­for­nia non­profit that sup­ports such chil­dren and their fam­i­lies through one-onone peer men­tor­ing, and so­cial and recre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties such as art classes, movie nights, sum­mer camps, out­ings to sport­ing events and more.

“Spe­cial-needs kids are of­ten iso­lated so­cially, so the idea is to bring them to­gether with main­stream kids to bond and forge friend­ships do­ing all of the ev­ery­day things we take for granted such as go­ing to the beach, the movies, a Kings hockey game,” Green­berg said. “The Friend­ship Foun­da­tion serves a cause that hits close to home for me, so I jumped at the op­por­tu­nity to be part of start­ing such a won­der­ful or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Three years into its his­tory, how­ever, the fledg­ling char­ity faced a cri­sis as the 2008 re­ces­sion crip­pled the econ­omy, caus­ing dona­tions to dry up. With the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s pro­grams at risk of be­ing shut down, Green­berg came up with the idea of stag­ing a 3.5-mile com­mu­nity walk be­tween the Man­hat­tan Beach and Her­mosa Beach piers to raise much-needed funds.

And what an idea it turned out to be: The first-an­nual Skech­ers Pier to Pier Friend­ship Walk drew a mod­est 1,000 par­tic­i­pants and gen­er­ated $220,000; this year, the event at­tracted 15,000 walk­ers and broke a fundrais­ing record, sur­pass­ing the $2 mil­lion mark. Over its 10-year his­tory, the walk — now the largest of its kind in the U.S. — has raised an im­pres­sive $11 mil­lion.

“They say ad­ver­sity leads to op­por­tu­nity. Well, we had an ad­verse year, and it led to the cre­ation of some­thing truly in­cred­i­ble that brings a lot of love and hap­pi­ness into the lives of so many kids and their fam­i­lies,” said Green­berg, who next week will be hon­ored with the Two Ten Footwear Foun­da­tion’s T. Kenyon Holly Award for his phil­an­thropic achieve­ments.

Yossi Mintz, ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of the Friend­ship Foun­da­tion, said his char­ity wouldn’t be where it is to­day with­out Green­berg’s gen­er­ous and un­wa­ver­ing sup­port. “Michael’s in­volve­ment has been vi­tal to the heart­beat of our or­ga­ni­za­tion and its con­tin­u­ous growth. The funds raised by Skech­ers over the last 10 years have al­lowed us to ex­pand from one Sun­day pro­gram to of­fer­ing 50 ac­tiv­i­ties a month, eight sum­mer camps and 40 Friend­ship [School] Clubs. The im­pact has been tremen­dous,” Mintz ex­plained, not­ing that Green­berg also goes out of his way to per­son­ally spend time and con­nect with the kids who ben­e­fit from the foun­da­tion’s out­reach.

Re­flect­ing on the suc­cess of the Friend­ship Walk, Green­berg said he hopes his up­com­ing recog­ni­tion by Two Ten in­spires other in­dus­try mem­bers to seek ways to give back. “If you can imag­ine it, you can bring it to life,” he said. “We all have the abil­ity to do good, to do more. We shouldn’t give un­til it feels good; we should give un­til it hurts.”

ZAP­POS’ ZEAL

Phi­lan­thropy has been a cen­tral part of Zap­pos.com’s unique cul­ture since the dig­i­tal pow­er­house launched nearly 20 years ago.

Through its broad-reach­ing “Zap­pos for Good” pro­gram, the com­pany — which is re­ceiv­ing this year’s So­cial Im­pact award from Two Ten — par­tic­i­pates in so­cially con­scious ini­tia­tives that sup­port its com­mu­nity in its home­town of Las Ve­gas and be­yond, aim­ing to “spread hap­pi­ness” along the way.

“We un­der­stand the value of ser­vice. Zap­pos has had great suc­cess, and in turn, we are re­spon­si­ble for help­ing oth­ers suc­ceed no mat­ter the chal­lenges they face. It also helps keep us grounded — we al­ways want to en­sure that we are never solely fo­cused on the trans­ac­tion,” said Jeff Espersen, VP of mer­chan­dis­ing.

The com­pany’s di­verse lineup of projects in­cludes “Prom Closet,” where thou­sands of high school kids get free for­mal­wear and other dance ne­ces­si­ties. Zap­pos also hosts an in­clu­sive Hal­loween ex­pe­ri­ence for kids with dis­abil­i­ties and un­der­priv­i­leged fam­i­lies. One of the new­est star-pow­ered ini­tia­tives is “Shaq-a-Claus,” in which Shaquille O’Neal will hand-de­liver do­nated toys to Boys & Girls Clubs in Las Ve­gas and Ne­wark, N.J.

“Don’t for­get to fo­cus on the ex­pe­ri­ence. This will help show the world and your em­ploy­ees the au­then­tic­ity of your work,” Espersen said when asked how other com­pa­nies could de­velop their char­i­ta­ble drives.

Sev­eral of the brand’s ef­forts in that re­gard cen­ter di­rectly on footwear. For its Remix Pro­ject, Zap­pos and Na­tive Shoes have part­nered to col­lect over 10,000 pairs of the ve­gan footwear and re­cy­cle them into ma­te­ri­als that can be used for build­ing com­mu­nity play­grounds. In ad­di­tion, the re­tailer has col­lected more than 457,000 items for Nashville, Tenn.-based non­profit Soles4Souls.

In 2019, Zap­pos plans to launch an ini­tia­tive in sup­port of a new school ev­ery month. The e-tailer will stock each class­room with es­sen­tial items such as jack­ets, food and school sup­plies. “We hope it helps cre­ate an even play­ing field for all kids and gives the kids an op­por­tu­nity to choose the items they not only need but like,” said Espersen.

In ad­di­tion to its full list of planned en­deav­ors, Zap­pos.com steps in when un­ex­pected events oc­cur, such as last year’s shoot­ing at the Man­dalay Bay Re­sort and Casino in Las Ve­gas. The com­pany raised $2.7 mil­lion for vic­tims and helped pay for fu­neral costs.

HER VOICE

Katie But­ler knows how to get peo­ple mo­ti­vated. The Two Ten Footwear Foun­da­tion board mem­ber and co-chair of its So­lic­i­ta­tions Com­mit­tee is be­ing pre­sented with this year’s A.A. Bloom Award for her years of ser­vice to the foun­da­tion.

For nearly a decade, But­ler has been com­mit­ted to ral­ly­ing the shoe in­dus­try in sup­port of mem­bers and their fam­i­lies fac­ing per­sonal chal­lenges.

“As co-chair of the so­lic­i­ta­tions com­mit­tee [for the an­nual gala], it’s been re­ward­ing to see the stead­fast con­tri­bu­tions from re­tail­ers, whole­salers, sup­pli­ers and in­di­vid­u­als who get the mis­sion and con­trib­ute big dol­lars each year while at­tract­ing new com­pa­nies and in­di­vid­u­als who hear the mes­sage and want to be­come new sup­port­ers,” said But­ler, GM of Franco Sarto.

But­ler has served in her role along­side

Joe Ouak­nine, chair­man of Ti­tan In­dus­tries. “She’s been a voice,” he said. “A cou­ple of years ago, I passed the ba­ton to her and Joel Oblon­sky, CEO of Ti­tan. To­gether, they brought it to an­other level.”

Ac­cord­ing to But­ler, who re­cently joined Franco Sarto’s par­ent, Caleres, she was fur­ther en­er­gized know­ing the com­pany was a strong Two Ten sup­porter. “I was thrilled to see their com­mit­ment to the or­ga­ni­za­tion as strong as mine,” said But­ler. “Two Ten has many pro­fes­sional pro­grams and fundrais­ing events that make it easy to par­tic­i­pate and do­nate.”

Among But­ler’s stand­out mo­ments at Two Ten has been vol­un­teer­ing for Footwear Cares com­mu­nity projects. “It’s a chance to step out of our daily re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to net­work and give back to our com­mu­ni­ties,” she said. “I’ve en­joyed WIFI events and so­cial­iz­ing with the in­dus­try at the gala event.”

Fel­low board mem­ber Carol Baioc­chi said But­ler’s can-do at­ti­tude has en­cour­aged oth­ers to get in­volved. “Katie ac­tively sup­ports the tenets of Two Ten and con­sis­tently gives valu­able in­put to reach de­ci­sions,” said Baioc­chi. “Her op­ti­mism and drive has made her a valu­able as­set to the foun­da­tion and its fu­ture.”

But­ler is bank­ing on younger in­dus­try mem­bers to carry Two Ten for­ward. “The next gen­er­a­tion is about giv­ing back even more than our gen­er­a­tion, so we’re ex­cited to en­gage them,” she said.

(L-R): Libby, Sam and Jesse Edel­man

Award win­ner Michael Green­berg, with a child at the Skech­ers Pier to Pier Friend­ship Walk

The Zap­pos­spon­sored Las Ve­gas soc­cer team

Katie But­ler

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