In this video, Blake Mycoskie, the founder and chief shoe giver at TOMS Shoes, talks about his inspiration for starting a shoe company for the purpose of giving away shoes to children in need. He also talks about the importance of the TOMS giving partners and their ability to sustain shoe distributions year after year.
NRC has been working in Indian country for nearly 25 years. We have been a consistent and reliable resource for our reservation partners since the beginning of our work. Not only are we capable, but we’re excited about the opportunity to partner with TOMS Shoes every year to put shoes on the feet of children in remote and isolated reservation communities. We have the infrastructure ― distribution centers, partner network, dedicated staff, and equipment ― to manage large scale distributions in Indian country and we’ve been doing it for years!
When the partnership with TOMS and NRC was just in discussion, I noticed a number of other values and practices our companies have in common that made this seem like a terrific partnership to me:
- TOMS has a commitment to serving people in need in a dignified and individualized manner. This is demonstrated in the quality of the shoes they provide and the manner in which distributions are conducted. NRC shares this commitment to high quality products delivered in a way that supports individual dignity and community pride.
- TOMS treats their giving partners (like us) and the recipients of their giveaway shoes (the Native kids in this case) like customers. We had a terrific service experience with TOMS. They were meticulous about getting our shoe order just right. They also insist that the children who receive shoes have a customer-type experience at distributions. At NRC, we have always understood that our partners and program participants are our most important customers.
- TOMS insists on very strong accountability from their giving partners to ensure the shoes their customers purchased for kids in need are distributed exactly as intended. NRC also has strong commitment to accountability and we have high expectations of our partners. Good stewardship is a priority.
- TOMS has a keen awareness of the potential to inadvertently create problems in a community even when giving projects are done with good intentions. NRC understands this also. It is one of the primary reasons we involve the people we serve in the planning and execution of all projects that impact their community.
- TOMS and NRC share a commitment to sustainability and strive to set up projects that avoid dependence, which serves to help break the cycle of poverty.
We are so grateful for the opportunity to partner with a company as socially responsible and deliberate about their philanthropy as TOMS Shoes.