Soles4Souls: A Worthy Charity Run by an Upstanding Guy
I‘ve had the pleasure recently to become acquainted with Wayne Elsey, the founder and CEO of Soles4Souls. Soles4Souls is a non-profit organization that has, to date, donated upwards of 15 million pairs of shoes to kids in need around the world. Wayne Elsey was motivated towards charity in 2006 by the Indonesian tsunamis. The one thing Wayne knows better than most people is shoes. He’d spent his entire adult life to that point in the for-profit world, specifically the shoe industry. He possessed relationships and experience a-plenty in the world of shoes. In other words, he had the power and resources to do something big, and positive, so he did. He devised this model whereby people with old, unused shoes can donate them to someone who could put those shoes to good use. An Idea was born.
Micro-enterprise: Soles4Souls Goes Big
Soles4Souls is dedicated to disaster relief. A large portion of shoes go to just that. However, Wayne believes (and I agree) that to truly support development in the third world people need more than shoes. They need opportunity. This is where the concept of Micro-enterprise comes into the picture. Shoes are sent overseas where they are given to micro-enterprise distributors. These distributors then distribute the shoes to micro-enterprise operators. The micro-business operator then sells the shoes locally, paying only for the shoes that he/she eventually sells. It’s a beautiful model. Aspiring business owners are loaned the resources to start enterprises where otherwise the investment would be impossible. It’s not enough that when disaster strikes millions of first world, well intentioned people donate their belongings. What happens after the crisis? Back to being impoverished? Wayne Elsey and Soles4Souls do disaster relief. They also go further – much further.
To read more about Soles4Souls, you can visit the Charity’s Website: www.soles4souls.org
See the long list of corporate sponsors, most of which would be impossible without Wayne’s knowledge of the shoe industry. Soles4Souls has a simple message that’s easy to get behind. Their sponsors and partners are vital to Wayne’s continued effort. The heart of any charity is the people who support it. His partners believe in the mission, and now so do I. Wayne Elsey is, as they say, good people. He and the other officers and employees at Soles4Souls are dedicated to their mission of providing relief both at home and abroad. 15Million shoes is nothing to scoff at!