My Promise to You
From the blog of our president and CEO, Buddy Teaster
When I first started my journey with Soles4Souls a little more than five years ago, I knew I would dread asking for money. Asking for shoes and clothes…no problem. But the thought of soliciting a financial contribution—that made me sweat. In person, it still does. I work very hard to overcome those feelings and have gotten better, but it still makes me as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs to “make the ask.”
Part of what I’ve had to learn is that I’m not asking for me, but for the thousands of people who need us to deliver on our mission. And even though our work also involves collecting shoes and clothing, the reality is that we need your financial support just as much. Reaching our year-end goal of $100,000 is a big part of that.
So as this crazy year comes to a close, I have some very specific people I’m asking for. And, to be totally clear, I’m asking you, once again, to donate to help make sure we can continue to be there for them.
There’s Wilmar. He’s the man of the house for his mother and two sisters in ways that 14-year-olds shouldn’t have to be. Your support helped us provide him a new pair of shoes that make him feel “normal.” “I want to fantasize about the latest kicks and pretend I don’t have to do some of the other stuff that I have to do,” he tells us. “I know my family needs me.” You made that possible.
There’s this beautiful young girl. On a brutally cold Minnesota day, she not only received a brand new winter coat, but she also had the time and space to see herself in the mirror and be amazed at what she saw. I love the look on her face more than I can say. You made that possible.
Then there’s an entire group of people, thousands and thousands of them, who suffered through the insanely strong hurricanes of Harvey, Irma and Maria. We were able to provide more than 500,000 pieces of clothing, shoes, blankets and diapers to those in the direst of circumstances. You made that possible.
I definitely feel a bit like a hypocrite. I talk about how we often have more material possessions than we need. Then, in the next breath, I’m asking you to share some of that abundance. I talk about how much we’re doing to help. Then, in the next sentence, I tell you how much more needs to be done. In this season that many of us feel is too commercial, here’s one more guy with his hand out.
The thing is, all of it is true. Every paradox, every complicated emotion about helping, about poverty, about guilt, about service.
So what to do? You have lots of choices for where to send your donations. While Soles4Souls gets most of my philanthropy, I also support food banks, parks, my local public radio station and the Academy of American Poets. And I hope you give to those causes that move you.
But if you’re still reading this, it means that the work we do also speaks to you. And so, on behalf of the many who rely on shoes and clothes from Soles4Souls, I ask that you give now and give generously.
In return, I promise you a few things.
You can trust us to do what we say, do it well and do it with passion. You are committed to disrupting the cycle of poverty here in the U.S. and around the world, and Soles4Souls has the global infrastructure, network and experience needed to turn your investment into a real tool for sustainable change.
We’ll steward your money well, putting 100% of your donation directly toward programs. We can do this because the revenue we generate through our micro-enterprise operations, which provide meaningful income generation opportunities for entrepreneurs in developing nations, sustain our administration. That’s a part of how we keep our four-star Charity Navigator rating. More importantly, it tells you that your contribution is going to help those in need.
So, as you decide how much you can donate to Soles4Souls, I hope you’ll think about a young boy with new shoes, a girl with a warm coat and a family with new clothes after the storm. And then remember: You make that possible.
So, back to that dreaded “ask”. Please make your tax-deductible donation today. And thank you!
PLEASE CONSIDER A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION BELOW: