Tis the season for giving, but a recent partnership between footwear label One Small Point of Pride and nonprofit organization Goods 4 Good is helping to make the seasonal cheer last year-round. The two companies’ collaboration marks a new kind of altruism and efficiency that should sweep the fashion industry—and hopefully others beyond.
Goods 4 Good gathers surplus products from US companies and redistributes them to vulnerable children throughout Africa with the help of other local grassroots programs. Founded in 2006, the organization’s straightforward motto, “making progress out of excess,” is a pledge to help reappropriate items that might otherwise gather just warehouse dust for use by those who truly need them. From school supplies to clothing to health and hygenie products, Goods 4 Good helps alleviate the burden of parents and caretakers through the cooperation and goodwill of others. Companies, in turn, get the benefit of a tax write-off on all the donated items and the added benefit of giving to an excellent cause.
One Small Point of Pride recently got on board with Goods 4 Good by donating 4,500 pairs of shoes to the organization’s cause. The generous contribution is now being distributed in Malawi to many children who did not previously own even a single pair of shoes. The relationship between fashion and charity has always been compellingly close, but this is an example of a new way to really give back and put fashion to beneficial, practical use. Goods 4 Good founder Melissa Kushner further explains that community leaders will “talk about not selling the shoes, using them as a motivational tool and encouraging the children to attend school every day now that they have a safe way to travel.”
This integrated involvement with the community recipients is an attractive feature of Goods 4 Good’s approach, especially for partners who are dedicated to ensuring a positive outcome. “We elected to partner with Goods 4 Good based on the strength of its on-the-ground network…[this] close relationship with the communities it supports ensures that all donations will serve their best possible function,” noted Ben Walters, founder of One Small Point of Pride. What’s more, the organization endeavors to keep its participants involved with the outcome of a given donation. “Goods 4 Good keeps us connected with our contribution through pictures, and reports from the field gives us peace of mind that our shoes are indeed on the feet of the intended recipients,” Walters also notes.
At a time when the fashion industry is already on shaky financial ground, Goods 4 Good and One Small Point of Pride’s recent collaboration is a model of productive benevolence, of which industry insiders should take note.