Skechers Will Assume Gala Chair Honors and Promises to Deliver a Completely Reimagined Event
Two Ten Footwear Foundation, the national charitable foundation of the U.S. footwear industry, announced plans tonight for its annual Gala event during a kick-off cocktail party at the Bryant Park Grill Rooftop. The much-anticipated evening of philanthropy and celebration will be held on December 1, 2021 at Pier Sixty on the Hudson River in New York City, with a freshly reimagined format and experience.
Skechers, the comfort technology company, will assume Gala Chair responsibilities for the footwear industry’s signature charity event of the year, with the company’s senior vice president of domestic sales Rick Graham working closely with Two Ten to create a refreshed and truly memorable evening.
“Two Ten is one of the industry’s most important organizations, and Skechers is proud to serve as the event Chair for this year’s Gala,” said Graham, who also serves on Two Ten’s Board. “It is an honor to work with the Two Ten team, and we look forward to bringing the industry together for the first time since the pandemic.”
“We are thrilled to have Rick and his Skechers team as this year’s Gala Chair,” said Shawn Osborne, CEO and President of Two Ten Footwear Foundation. “Skechers’ passion for the footwear community and for Two Ten is palpable, and their creativity will ensure that our 81st Gala is unlike any in recent years.”
Changes to this year’s event include replacing the two-event format from recent years—a seated VIP dinner followed by an industry-wide party for a total of 1,200 attendees—with a single-format, cocktails-and-hors d’oeuvres evening for 700. This will allow for a more engaging, interactive and social event than in the past, with brief pauses for speakers and awards.
Another significant change to this year’s event will be the addition of a virtual component that will simultaneously broadcast the live event. This will provide an opportunity for more industry members to attend the event than ever before in the Gala’s history, including every role, geography and time zone.
The biggest highlight of the event will be an exciting casino theme that will permeate throughout the venue, including gaming tables where guests can test their skills while socializing with their industry colleagues. Replete with Vegas-style décor, cocktail lounges and entertainment, the evening will be designed to bring together the footwear community after the long, pandemic-induced separation. The virtual event will combine live feed directly from the venue while offering an online gaming component and other interactive features in a Zoom-like setting that will increase engagement among virtual attendees.
“The name of this year’s Gala is ‘One Team: All In’ which not only reflects the casino theme, but more importantly continues the previous years’ ideal that we’re one industry and one community that comes together for one really important cause, and that’s to take care of each other,” said Graham.
Also notably different about this year’s event will be the absence of heavy fundraising during the evening. “Beginning this fiscal year, we are taking a very different approach to our fundraising,” said Osborne. “Our donors deserve year-round recognition for their gifts to the Foundation’s mission, not just a single night of gratitude. Going forward, we’ll continue to leverage the Gala to recognize our supporters and also provide more acknowledgement during the other eleven months of the year than ever before. And, while we’ll provide opportunities for our guests to give to Two Ten during the Gala, there will be more emphasis on celebrating our donors than asking them to open their wallets.”