Charity Works: Activist Runner Makes Cross-Country Journey in Adidas x Parley for the Oceans Sneakers + More Brands Giving Back

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July 30: In an effort to raise awareness for plastic pollution and ocean protection, Sam Bencheghib, co-founder of environmental organization Make a Change World, is running from New York City to Los Angeles. And he is doing so in Adidas x Parley for the Oceans shoes. The 22-year-old’s trip, according to a statement, began July 26 and is expected to last five months, spanning roughly 3,000 miles and crossing 13 states. Bencheghib plans to run 20 miles a day for 160 days. Throughout the run, which is being done in collaboration with Parley for the Oceans, Bencheghib will make stops at schools to discuss how positive change can be created concerning the crisis of marine plastic pollution. Make a Change World will document the journey via video, and his progress can be tracked via the StepChain fitness app.

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July 30: Drew Brees is using his on-field footwear to benefit charity. Throughout the NFL preseason and regular season, the New Orleans Saints quarterback will wear custom cleats created in collaboration with sneaker customizer Marcus Rivera (aka Soles by Sir). The cleats, including the Nike pair with Louis Vuitton and Supreme logos that the NFLer wore at practice this week, will be auctioned off with proceeds heading to a nonprofit. Brees and Rivera have teamed up on customized cleats before, with Rivera designing three pairs of “My Cause My Cleats” for Brees.

July 29: Nike continues to make wishes come true. For the third year, the sportswear giant is raising funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s chapter in Portland, Oregon, where the brand is headquartered. Nike in collaboration with IDL, an experience design agency that partners on Nike’s activations, will raise funds through at auction on Aug. 1 at the annual Check Your Swoosh event. The benefit honors the memory of Andrew Woodruff, a boy whose dream was to become a Nike designer, but lost his battle with cancer days after he visited the brand’s headquarters. Artwork from about 40 members of Nike’s design team will be featured in the auction; proceeds will help grant wishes for 235 children with critical illnesses who are waiting to have their dreams fulfilled. The event will be held at IDL’s gallery space and is free and open to the public. Last year’s auction raised more than $75,000.

July 25: Adidas Skateboarding partnered with skateboarding legend Mark “Gonz” Gonzales to raise funds in New York City at a benefit that supported the sport’s community. The athletic brand’s longtime collaborator opened up his private art collection for the sale, which benefited The Harold Hunter Foundation. Additionally, 100% of proceeds from the sale of 50 white basketballs Gonzales hand-painted went to the cause. The HHF charity provides educational programs for New York City skateboarders as well as other services for youths. The event was held on July 17 at the Adidas-sponsored Beyond the Streets graffiti art exhibition, where it had a shot of star power from rapper Cam’ron, who hosted the festivities, with musical entertainment by Stretch Armstrong.

July 24: AKID is doing its part to make sure children in Los Angeles head back to school in a new pair of shoes. The company, founded by Ashleigh Dempster, a mother of three, has donated 6,500 pairs of new shoes via the Good+Foundation and their 45 partners locally. The organization’s goal is to help demolish multigenerational poverty through combining tangible goods with services and programs for families in need.

July 24: In time for the back-to-school season, Reebok has launched a buy-one-give-one program on its website, through which customers can provide kids in underserved communities with a free set of sneakers. The program is live now and will run through July 31. Up to 5,000 pairs of shoes will be distributed to children at low-income schools that participate in BOKS (Build Our Kids’ Success), Reebok’s global grassroots physical activity program.

July 23: Rocky Boots, a manufacturer of military footwear since World War II, is partnering with the National Veterans Memorial and Museum in Columbus, Ohio, with monetary support that enables the museum to recognize the experiences of veterans, sharing stories that honor, connect, inspire and educate the public. The museum features more than 50,000 square feet of exhibits, memorials, meeting space and classrooms.

July 17: And1-backed NBA star Montrezl Harrell, along with Walmart, worked to help New Orleans ballers in the city’s iconic Central City neighborhood by restoring an area park. The effort, which included a rededication on July 3, was part of And1’s Paint the Park initiative, which is geared toward improving the conditions of urban parks and basketball courts for kids throughout the U.S. New hoops and a massive mural that dominates the basketball court are included in the upgrades to the New Orleans park. Aside from Harrell, street basketball legend Rafer “Skip to My Lou” Alston, DJ Jubilee and And1 Mixtape creator Set-Free were present at the park’s reopening event.

July 8: Bearpaw will partner again with the Ticket to Dream Foundation for the 3rd annual Back to School Bash. The annual event hosts more than 100 foster kids from the Sacramento, Calif., area each year in an effort to get them excited about the school season. The festivities will take place on July 14 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Safetyville USA. Children will be able to enjoy Bearpaw-sponsored activities, including a bouncy house, field day games, a coloring station and a boot station. Last year, more than 130 youngsters went home with Bearpaw boots, backpacks and plenty of school supplies.

July 2: Toms will host the launch of a one-man show by gun violence prevention activist Manuel Oliver as part of its End Gun Violence Together initiative. “GUAC: My Son, My Hero” is a social justice, first-person theatrical piece that tells the true story of Oliver’s experience following the death of his son Joaquin “Guac” Oliver, who was one of the 17 victims of the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Fla., in 2018. Oliver and his wife Patricia founded the nonprofit organization “Change the Ref” after the tragedy to raise awareness about gun violence and advocate for reform. The play debuts on July 11 at Toms’ headquarters in Playa Del Rey, Calif., with a fundraiser to kick off a tour in key electoral swing states leading up to the 2020 election. In November last year, Toms announced a $5 million investment to combat gun violence in America by partnering with nonprofits working to end the epidemic.

Want more? See how other brands and retailers are giving back.

Charity Works: June 2019

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