Giving back is a priority at Buckle, and TOMS allows us to do that in a big way. Sometimes it’s easy to view the world’s problems as insurmountable, but TOMS is proof that the power to create lasting, positive impact could be as simple as buying a pair of shoes.
We were fortunate enough to get the chance to talk with Ruthie Eisenburg, Manager of Global Giving Trips at TOMS, about what fuels her to make a difference.
What is the inspiration behind your organization?
We are in business to improve lives.
TOMS is an International One for OneTM company based in the United States with offices in Europe and Asia. In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need, One for One. To date, TOMS has given millions of new TOMS shoes around the world, and now TOMS sells and gives in a number of different categories. For every product sold, TOMS is committed to providing a benefit to a person in need, One for One. In addition to shoes, TOMS sells eyewear and helps restore sight, sells bags and helps deliver safe births, sells backpacks and helps prevent bullying, and sells coffee and delivers safe water.
What has been your favorite project?
I have had the opportunity to travel all over the world and visit extraordinary and inspiring international development organizations that are working to eradicate problems like HIV/AIDS, malnutrition, preventable blindness, and other serious issues in their communities. I have enjoyed every opportunity to meet with our partners and learn about their important work and see how TOMS support adds value to their programs and to their communities. Witnessing a child receive something new, for the first time, that they can call their own, is one of the most moving things I have ever experienced – and through our partner’s efforts, we get to be a part of that every day.
One of my favorite projects was leading our very first virtual reality “Giving Trip” filming project in Peru, with our partner Coprodeli, an organization dedicated to alleviating extreme poverty through comprehensive social programs. We have been giving with this organization for the past seven years and filming their work and partnership with TOMS was a meaningful way to bring their story and the TOMS story to a greater public.
What role has Buckle played in helping TOMS?
Buckle enables TOMS to give more. With every shoe you purchase, you help support the transformation, the improvement of a child’s life. In some cases, you might not just be making a difference, you might be making the difference in a child’s life by ensuring they can go to school, by boosting their self-confidence, and by relieving an economic burden.
Why do you think it’s important to ‘make a difference’?
Every effort to support the betterment of another person’s life makes our world a better place. It’s important to make a difference for one another, for future generations, for a healthy, educated, safe, and peaceful society. As individuals, as consumers, as companies, we can have a huge impact in positive social change.