Vegan-Friendly Shoe Brand Donates $5 Million to End Gun Violence in Schools

Vegan-Friendly Shoe Brand TOMS Donates $5 Million to End Gun Violence in Schools

Vegan-friendly shoe company TOMS has always strived to do more, aligning its business with causes it is passionate about and working to create meaningful changes in the world. Its most recent endeavor sees the shoe brand working to help end gun violence in schools across the U.S.

TOMS began with founder Blake Mycoskie’s dream. While traveling in Argentina, Mycoskie saw countless children without shoes. The sight inspired him to launch TOMS, that for every pair of shoes sold, donates a pair to someone in need. To date, the brand has given 86 million children a pair of shoes.

In a recent episode of NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” Mycoskie announced that TOMS is going a step further with its activism.

TOMS donated $5 million “to the most amazing organizations working hard on the ground every day to end gun violence” in the single largest corporate gift to end gun violence in the nation.

Groups that benefit from the donation include The Black and Brown Gun Violence Prevention Consortium, Everytown for Gun Safety, Faith in Action, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, Live Free, March for Our Lives, and Moms Demand Action.

Bustle reports that Mycoskie is working with student activist and National Student Walkout organizer, Winter Minissee, on the campaign.

“I think totally, within my lifetime, I’ve seen a shift in corporate social responsibility,” she said, “Before, lots of corporations and [grant providers] weren’t necessarily standing up for issues that could be … divisive, or had anything to do with politics. It was kind of a forbidden land.”

Not satisfied with its efforts, TOMS also launched a grassroots initiative that encourages people to hold their representatives accountable for creating a solution to the issue of gun violence. It allows users to send a postcard calling for universal background checks for gun ownership to legislators.

The background check law would require firearm transactions to be recorded and go through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, ensuring that guns are kept out of the hands of criminals and those who are not deemed fit to own them.

“Ninety percent of Americans want background checks to keep us safe,” Mycoskie said. “If every single American makes an action like this, Congress will listen.”

The campaign is simple: TOMS has already created the postcards and individuals need only visit the TOMS website and enter their details. Notably, it allows younger people who are not yet allowed to vote to participate. But Minissee added that change also starts with having tough conversations.

“If you’re a young person who’s looking to get involved,” Minissee said, “I would say, going into the holiday season, use your platform of your family and your friends to really talk about what’s important to you and what you think needs to be done to get to a better tomorrow for everyone.”

Those who want to get involved and send a postcard to their representative can do so on the TOMS website.

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