3025 Olympic Blvd., Suite C Santa Monica, California 90404 7 November 2010Mr. and Mrs. Smith1234 Hilyard StreetPortland, OR 97034Dear friends, I am so happy that I was able to make friends in Argentina. Meeting these peoplechanged my life. While becoming friends with this group of kids, I no longer sawdifferences between us; I saw our similarities. I had never gone bare foot a day in my life,but these kids were going barefoot everyday. This was the stark reality for them. Thedifferences were obvious, seemingly different walks of life. And that’s why I mustcontinue this mission because these overt differences on the outside are clouding ourperceptions of the out-numbering similarities. The human element, the emotions, butjust placed in different circumstances. I connected with these kids on an emotional level but I could only imagine howuncomfortable it would be to go without shoes. Most of these kids would go about theirday without shoes. The wear and tear leaves their feet constantly covered with cuts andsores. I learned that this problem went beyond uncomfortable, physical injuries. Goingbarefoot daily left no time for these wounds to heal and creating open wounds subjectto anything and everything they came into contact with. In places like Argentina, soil-transmitted diseases are one of the leading causes ofillness. Going barefoot everyday makes acquiring a soil-transmitted disease or worse,inevitable. As you know, in TOMS first year we donated 10,000 shoes around Argentina. Itis now nearly 2011 and TOMS is proud to have helped spread its reach into 20 differentcountries and as of September 2010, we have given over 1 million children a pair ofshoes. TOMS has been able to successfully continue its One for One mission with thehelp from our sponsors, friends, family and the community. The act of giving is notalways a simple task. For under developed countries, some charitable offerings can havea much bigger affect than people realize, which is often a good thing.
Even though an act of giving may have good intentions behind it, it can bedamaging and disruptive to the structure of a community. This can happen with largedonations that create a short-term benefit or one-time donations. TOMS developed astrategy to make sure that their donations would make a positive, long-term impact forcommunities in less developed countries. TOMS sought out to find experienced NGOs, charities and nonprofits that hadalready worked in the countries they were going to donate to. Working with companiesthat were already established in these communities allowed TOMS to understand theexisting structure and evaluate the cause and effect of their contribution. The organizations that offered to help us were a vital part of our mission. Theywere able to guide us to focus our aid in a way that would be beneficial in all areas. Thiscollaboration ensured that our aid would not be detrimental to their currentsocioeconomic system nor develop unsustainable habits. TOMS is making changes in communities that are consistent. TOMS has spreadinto 20 countries since starting in 2006. In each of these countries, TOMS is consistentlygiving shoes to the same communities to help establish long-term changes. TOMSemployees and volunteers have also established and maintained relationships with thepeople within these communities. TOMS establishes relationships with these communities with events that we callShoe Drops. TOMS invites volunteers and employees to come on a Shoe Drop werethey can deliver the shoes themselves and spend a week visiting the community. TOMSbrings groups of people with every Shoe Drop because it is more than just the shoes. Itis about helping less fortunate communities evolve in every aspect; and like any otherrelationship or friendship, this requires personal support. TOMS has seen an abundance of inspired young people who have caught on tothe movement. College students are taking action now and developing habits of givingthat they will continue and later pass on to further generations. This is a culturalmovement. One of the ways that college students began taking action was with the One DayWithout Shoes event. Students wanted to make a point and take a stance to get morepeople involved with the efforts to help less fortunate children and they decided tomake their point by doing it themselves. This event started as a bunch of college kids,but now it is for all ages, all over the world. One Day Without Shoes will take place onApril 5, 2011. Last year, over 250,000 people pledged to forego their shoes for anyentire day. Across the globe, 1600 different events took place to raise awareness andmake it known that they were going one day without shoes, for a reason. TOMS main source of advertising is its customers. Word of mouth has madeTOMS possible. We aim to continue the One for One mission, grow and increase ourinvolvement in communities all over the world.
On behalf of myself and the TOMS family, we would like to thank you for yoursupport and let you know that you are a part of a movement that is changing the lives ofover one million kids throughout the world.Sincerely,Blake MycoskieTOMS shoes, Founder