Soles4Souls, was founded in 2006 when a group of shoe industry executives who donated shoes to survivors of a 2004 tsunami, then to survivors of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, saw firsthand the
profound impact their contributions had made.
Programs such as 4Relief continue to be one of the organization's three focuses. In 2022, 32 containers of new shoes and clothing were served to 242,000 Ukrainian refugees. Now with more than 1,800 partners, Soles4Souls is able to provide clothing and shoes to those in crisis domestically or internationally.
In 2015, donating shoes to entrepreneurship initiatives, known as their 4Opportunity Program through a vetting process to select non-profit organizations as partners in developing countries, has a proven economic impact of creating jobs, by helping people start and grow businesses that sell donated shoes and clothing.
Now, 1-in-4 global entrepreneurs have been able to purchase a home from selling these shoes.
“We’re looking at a long-term solution to poverty,” shares Nashville resident Tiffany Turner, vice president of outreach for Soles4Souls.
Tiffany pleads, “Please clean out your closet. You’d be surprised at what people would want and how people can repurpose and reuse things.”
Seeking sources of new shoes donated by manufacturers, as well as gently used shoes from community or school drives is an ongoing effort.
2020 saw considerable donations received through customers of DSW, and Zappos, as well as a generous donation of $1 million from Caleres. Donations are used to provide shoes for homeless children through the newly launched initiative, 4EveryKid.
Soles4Souls has since served more than 200,000 children in the United States experiencing homelessness during the past three years, in cities of all sizes. The 4EveryKid program had become a primary focus.
Last year, locally, this program served 10,000-plus children in Middleton, Tennessee, experiencing homelessness, including communities in and around Davidson County.”
Just two weeks ago, the organization delivered 200 new coats, socks, shoes, and more, to Clarksville for distribution through Nashville VOAD, for victims of the recent tornadoes.
"It takes $20 to provide a new pair of shoes for a child experiencing homelessness in the United States. To own brand name shoes helps a child feel accepted, like they belong, and more confident which often translates into better school performance,” notes Tiffany.
Local, fun events like Turner’s annual ‘Christmas with Tif and Lee’ benefit show raised more than $20,000 for the non-profit, over the past three years. In addition to grants, Sony Music organized a shoe giveaway and surprise concert with country trio Restless Road at H. G. Hill Middle School in Nashville last November.
Soles4Souls is set to announce an upcoming, exciting event; one of their largest fundraising events in Nashville to date: ‘Soles & Secrets.' The party is planned for 7 p.m., April 11 at Clementine Hall to raise money for new sneakers for middle Tennessee children experiencing homelessness.
Tickets are $100 per person. The fun-filled theme, complete with flappers, a speakeasy, aerialists, jazz music and food bites from local restaurants to keep attendees on their feet.
Rod Arnold, chief marketing officer adds, “The event will be a full 1920s experience.”
“The event will be a full 1920s experience.”