Organization Spot Light! Toms Shoes: One for One and Altruistic Capitalism

By Alexis Herr

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Shoes have the ability change a life, and no ladies, I am not talking about the perfect red pump. Toms operates on a simple altruistic business model: with every product you purchase, Toms will help a person in need. Their one-for-one philosophy has allowed them to provide over 2 million pairs of new shoes to children in more than 60 countries since it began operating seven years ago.

During his travels in Argentina in 2006, Toms’ founder Blake Mycoskie witnessed the hardships faced by shoeless children. Without proper footwear, children are vulnerable to infections and diseases that can interfere with their development and ability to attend school.  Hookworm, which affects up to 740 million people worldwide, can be caught when feet aren’t taken care of. The long-term physical effects of hookworm include impeded cognitive development and stunted growth. Podoconiosis, affecting up to 4 million people worldwide (1 million in Ethiopia alone), is contracted with prolonged exposure to soil irritants and causes painful swelling in the feet and legs.

Mycoskie returned home inspired to create a sustainable for-profit business that would allow him to help provide footwear to needy children. Toms’ initial endeavors were so successful that the company decided to expand its efforts to include eyewear following the same one-for-one business model.

One of my favorite things about Toms shoes is that they allow the wearer to get involved in spreading the company’s message.  When a friend asks about my shoes I have an opportunity to talk to them about the company and the motivation behind its creation. Toms offers an excellent example of a for-profit company that has shaped its business model around improving the world.

 

To pick up your own Toms’ merchandise, visit their website here: www.Toms.com

2 Comments on Organization Spot Light! Toms Shoes: One for One and Altruistic Capitalism

  1. Congratulations and thanks to Toms Shoes for doing this and for Assessing Atrocity for spreading the word!

    What is profoundly sad is that Argentina still needs charity from outside its country for such simple needs as children’s shoes.

    While individual Argentinians are so poor that they can’t afford shoes for their children, I doubt Argentinian economy is also that poor.

    As one of the world’s major producers and exporters of beef, Argentina must be awash in surplus cow hides that could be turned into basic shoes for its poorer citizens.

    Argentina has been a democracy for 30 years. Why after all that time is it still failing to provide such basic services to its citizens in poverty?

    Could the answer be that in order to make credible military threats against the Falklands, Argentina may still maintain a militarily far in excess of what they need for their legitimate self defense needs?

    And why have Argentinian private charities such as the Argentinian Catholic Church allowed this situation to exist? Are they not listening to the new Argentinian-Italian pope? In his short time in office he has repeatedly emphasized the priority of compassionate care of the poor.

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