How Soles4Souls Achieves Its Anti-poverty Mission
Founded in 2006, Soles4Souls is a global not-for-profit institution dedicated to fighting the devastating impact and perpetuation of poverty through the distribution of shoes and clothing.
Soles4Souls distributes shoes and clothing in two ways. Most new items collected primarily from corporations and retailers are given directly to people in need, both in the U.S. and overseas. The organization has relationships with several of the world’s leading apparel brands, which provides Soles4Souls with new but non-marketable overstocks, returns, discontinued models and other shoes or clothing items.
At the same time, Soles4Souls receives millions of articles of used shoes and clothing that have been collected by individuals, schools, faith-based institutions, civic organizations and corporate partners. After sorting items in its national warehouse system, Soles4Souls typically sells the used shoes and clothing, as well as some new items allocated by manufacturers, to carefully selected micro-enterprise organizations. These both private and non-profit companies are contracted to provide shipping, financing, inventory, training and other support to ultra-small businesses in countries like Haiti where there are virtually no jobs to generate personal income.
Through the collection and sale of used (and new) clothing and shoes, Soles4Souls helps create self-sustaining jobs that generate desperately needed revenues throughout those communities. The sale of footwear and apparel to support micro-jobs also provides the majority of funding to sustain Soles4Souls operations and further expand its donations of new shoes and clothing.