By David DiPasquale
Interim President, Two Ten Footwear Foundation
November 12, 2019
After 39 active years as a volunteer and Board member of Two Ten Footwear Foundation, I came into the office as Interim President in July to help through a time of transition.
Aside from the normal issues associated with organizational change, the timing was critical as we were beginning the fundraising and production for our annual Gala, our largest and most important fundraising effort. Luckily, the headquarters team was well-organized and led, and had lined up one of our best Gala chairs ever, Shoe Carnival, led by Cliff Sifford. Nonetheless, we had/have at least $4 MM to raise, and the number of emergency relief cases – and related costs — are literally running double vs. this same time last year.
To best illustrate the kind of people who care enough to engage Two Ten’s cause, consider my recent trip to Pennsylvania.
At the invitation of Two Ten Board member and Foot Locker SVP Chief Accounting Officer Giovanna Cipriano, fellow Two Ten Board member b and I drove to Harrisburg, PA for the annual, international Foot Locker finance conference. Among the 124 at the dinner were Dick Johnson, CEO, and Donna Davis Young, their lead Director.
The financial executives’ on-site employee-giving event (a raffle) raised $5,400 for Two Ten, which was matched by the Foot Locker Foundation, the Donna Young Davis Foundation, and the Dick and Mary Johnson Foundation, for a total of $21,600. Then Dick took the podium to announce an additional gift from the Foot Locker Foundation of $50K, bringing the night’s total to $71,600. Foot Locker had already pledged $50K as part of our early Gala campaign. In total, $121.6K will be credited as part of Foot Locker’s Gala-related contributions so they get the public acknowledgment they richly deserve. What a truly extraordinary and uplifting experience!
Dick Johnson, a busy CEO, was also willing to solicit contributions from other companies on behalf of Two Ten, which is indicative of his great industry leadership. By far, asking others to give is the hardest task we perform, so he deserves so much credit. He has welcomed us into his company, he gave personally (and very generously), committed his company to over $100K, and reached out to solicit others. What an extraordinary example to others with the capacity to do the same.
Seven hours of driving/riding each way is worth it when you come home with that outcome.
On the other side of the world, way too far to drive, is Micro-Pak’s Martin Berman in Hong Kong. If there is a more decent, responsive, generous and wise member of our board, none come to mind. With a twelve-hour time difference, he nonetheless helps the social service committee decide critical case grants, he consistently provides encouragement to the Waltham headquarters team, and of course, he is among our most genuine donors. My interim assignment would be so much more challenging without the encouragement and generosity of Martin.
Then there are the tireless individuals of the Gala solicitation team. Co-Chairs Katie Butler, Joel Oblonsky, and Joe Ouaknine, along with Carl Scibetta of Shoe Carnival and a devoted team of volunteers, make countless calls and solicitations to raise an enormous and critically needed sum.
These are only a few examples of the many friends and Directors who year after year assert themselves to help the working poor in our industry. Without them, my brief stint in the President’s office would be a totally different story.
They make me proud of the 80 years of serving the industry that Two Ten Footwear Foundation has represented.