One of the things we believe in at Savii Group is that companies who give back gain more than just the warm feelings philanthropy creates. These companies create a culture of success that transcends the bottom line, gaining social capital that ultimately helps business flourish in a difficult economy. We’d like to share the stories of some of these companies with you, from the big to the small. We’d love to hear your suggestions for future highlights, as well.
To kick off the series, we’re taking a look at TOMS, a company which was founded expressly to give back. When Blake Mycoskie, an American traveling in Argentina, saw children living in such extreme poverty that they had no shoes, he returned to the United States determined to do something about it. He founded TOMS, redesigned the traditional Argentine alpargata shoe for the U.S. market, and vowed to donate a new pair of shoes to a needy child for every single pair he sold. One for One.
“I was so overwhelmed by the spirit of the South American people, especially those who had so little,” Mycoskie said. “And I was instantly struck with the desire — the responsibility — to do more.”
During its first year in business, TOMS sold 10,000 pairs of shoes. Blake returned to Argentina later that year with family and friends and gave back to the children who had first inspired him. Thanks to supporters, TOMS gave the One Millionth pair of new shoes to a child in need in September 2010. TOMS now gives in over 20 countries and works with charitable partners in the field who incorporate shoes into their health, education, hygiene, and community development programs.
TOMS’ giving partners are made up of NGOs, charities, and non-profits already established and working in the countries in which
TOMS gives. Their expertise guides TOMS to give new shoes responsibly, making sure there aren’t adverse socioeconomic effects, and to ensure that sustainable giving is possible. Giving shoes to the same children on a regular basis is the idea upon which TOMS was started, and is what truly improves the lives of children and their communities.
Savii Group applauds creative thinkers like Blake Mycoskie for investing social capital to help the world flourish. What can you do to make a difference?