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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Emergency Assistance, Human Services

Mission: Soles4Souls is a global social enterprise committed to fighting poverty through the collection and distribution of shoes and clothing. 

Results: Since it began, Soles4Souls has distributed more than 26 million pairs of shoes in 127 countries.  Soles4Souls is a global social enterprise committed to fighting the devastating impact and perpetuation of poverty.  The organization advances its anti-poverty mission by collecting new and used shoes and clothes from individuals, schools, faith-based institutions, civic organizations and corporate partners, then distributing those shoes and clothes both via direct donations to people in need and by provisioning qualified micro-enterprise programs designed to create jobs in poor and disadvantaged communities.  Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Soles4Souls is committed to the highest standards of operating and governance, and holds a four-star rating with Charity Navigator.  Please visit www.soles4souls.org for more information.

Programs: Soles4souls collects shoes from the footwear industry, including manufacturing, wholesale and retail oriented companies. These donations will include first-quality new shoes, shoes with minor defects, and customer returns. S4s also collects shoe donations from the general public through shoe drives hosted by individuals, civic groups, schools, churches, and retail businesses. Through our extensive network of qualified charitable partners, as well as through our travel4souls volunteer program, new shoes are distributed to people in need both in the u. S. And internationally suffering from conditions of poverty or the effects of natural disasters. Used shoes are graded and utilized in support of microenterprise initiatives in developing nations. These shoes will provide a livelihood for many impoverished families, spurring local development as well as providing access to low-cost footwear in areas where there may be no alternatives.

clothes4souls receives donations of clothing and accessories from the apparel industry. These donations will include new clothing from first-quality inventories, customer returns, defective products, and items with cosmetic deficiencies. Similar to the utilization of footwear, new clothing is distributed to provide short term relief including crisis relief situations. Clothing either damaged or in need of repair is used in support of microenterprise initiatives in developing nations. As with footwear, this sustainable effort ultimately advances the global fight against poverty.

hope4souls supplements crisis relief distributions through the donations of other suitable donated products received. Items distributed include books, diapers, and toys for children, dvd's, medical equipment, and other relief supplies. These donations have been provided by industrial donors as well as other non-governmental organizations.

Community Stories

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My experience with S4S has been awesome. They have been a terrific partner with our work in Honduras. We have worked together on both the donation and micro-economic side and have been succesful with both. i have found the staff to be compassionate, smart, quick to respond and they do what they say they will do. I cannot say this about all the non-profits I have dealt with.

Ivan K.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The work that we have been able to do for the past 4 years with Soles4Souls has been incredible. They way that they are able to connect with the community of Los Angeles and then connect them to us has been a true blessing. Many lives have been touched by the more than 20 000 pairs of shoes that they have donated which includes those who are homeless to the Hollywood elite. Soles4Souls is truly a life changing company.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

it's easy to give to this charity - simply clean out your closet!!!

7

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

A agree with the other posters that the accounting seems very odd.

1. To its benefit, contributions are incredible, doubling every year. Any NPO would be proud of S4S' record.

2. In Part VIII, cash contributions (line 1c) and fundraising expenses not including line 1c (line 8a) are exactly the same amount, $1,145,217. What is the chance of that being accurate? Zero, if you believe Schedule G, which gives a different accounting of fundraising activities.

3. Some of the noncash contributions must be monetized. Cash contributions in Part VIII are $1.1m yet Part IX salaries are over $2m and legal is $214k. There doesn't seem to be enough cashflow to pay the expenses unless some of the donated item are being sold to pay salaries and expenses. Plus, net assets in Part X grew by more than $9m, so clearly all the donations are not flowing to the poor and needy.
For example, the noncash contributions from the rich are said to be $71.7m while grants to the needy were just $60.6m (still a very impressive number, even if substantially less than the contributions).

4. Part VII lists no independent contractors making more than $100k. This is only possible if all the work is purposefully divided among many contractors to conceal names. Legal expenses are $214k, advertising $810k, occupancy $181k, distribution $413k, and direct mail $267k, yet, again, we are told that none of these large categories had more than $100k to a single vendor.

5. Schedule O says the Directors reviewed the Form 990. There are enough reporting and math mistakes on this Form 990 to make that statement unlikely. At a minimum, the Directors should wonder where is the attached request for an extension, since this Form 990 is late.

Review from Guidestar

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 2

A lot of folks are very positive about S 4 S's work, but I find it troubling that the CEO is earning over $400,000 a year--for the past several years. I and others in this line of work try to align our own living standard with those we serve--although as Rich World residents, we never really get there.

I just think it says something about the priorities of an org if they're saying they're concerned about the poor, but find a way to enrich themselves as they serve the needy.

Review from Guidestar

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Soles4Souls is an amazing organization that is changing the thinking of the entire footwear industry and creating a donation channel where footwear companies, retail stores, schools, civic groups and individuals come together to donate shoes, clothing, housing or sponsor micro-enterprise opportunities for people in need. Since 2005, Founder Wayne Elsey has single-handedly changed the way footwear companies can make a difference, both across the street and around the world. Soles4Souls has donated over 10 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes to people in 126 countries and is currently engaged in an ambitious program in Haiti to create footwear-related jobs, sustainable housing, schools and more.

Review from Guidestar