Winning the race against poverty

Any runner will tell you that running shoes need to be replaced. A lot. So often, in fact, that the average runner buys 3 pairs of shoes a year. But even after they’ve served their purpose on the race course, there’s still plenty of miles left for someone in need of a good pair of walking shoes.

Armed with this simple insight, avid runner Robin Telfian and community activist David Hewett had a vision to put repurposed athletic shoes on the feet of those in need. Soon after, they approached Jeff Wells, owner of Fleet Feet Sports, and their program was off and running.

The trio then came to Elevation with a goal to grow the organization in terms of people served, volunteers, and donors. But their first hill to climb was a big one. The name they had come up with for their program (Soles2Share)was already taken. So, we put on our thinking shoes and came up with a new name: Shood—Shoes for Good. We also developed a logo and branding, brand positioning and strategy, and a full launch campaign with print, direct mail and signage for their collection sights.

In its first two years of existence, Shood collected and distributed more than 1,500 pairs of shoes—enough to reach half of the 3,000 people served by Richmond’s homeless organizations, shelters and outreach programs. They’re now expanding their program throughout central VA and hope to grow outside of Virginia in 5 years. But, no matter how far Shood should run, Elevation will be there stride-for-stride.