The SKECHERS Foundation celebrated its seventh annual SKECHERS Pier to Pier Friendship Walk with a check presentation ceremony on Thursday, March 10 at the Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach, California.
The Foundation presented its largest donation totals in the history of the walk: $434,000 for The Friendship Foundation – a non-profit organization that assists children with special needs and their families – and $932,000 dedicated to six education foundations. In addition, the SKECHERS Foundation distributed $25,000 in scholarship funds to several deserving high school students. The scholars were recognized for their outstanding capabilities, their capacity to lead and serve, and their commitment to making a significant impact on their schools and communities.
“Each year we set a goal for our annual Walk,” said SKECHERS president Michael Greenberg. “And this year we set our highest goal yet $1.2 million. When we surpassed our goal and reached a record high of $1.4 million, I was ecstatic with the success and knowing that we could have an even greater impact this year on children with special needs and public education. Our corporate sponsors, celebrity ambassadors, community leaders and dedicated walkers make this all possible. Their support helps to create a better future for our children, and their spirit of giving continues to grow and meet their needs.”
The Friendship Foundation unites children with special needs and teen volunteers through one-on-one peer mentoring and social recreational activities, creating emotional bonds that improve the lives of kids and their families.
“The generous donations from the SKECHERS Foundation have funded the growth of our organization,” said Yossi Mintz, Executive Director of Friendship Foundation. “We have programs running six days a week, including 28 school clubs in ten school districts. This past year we accumulated over 11,000 volunteer hours and have 56 unique programs including Camp Got Friends – a two-week summer day camp that serves 110 children with special needs. The continued support from SKECHERS over the past seven years has been instrumental to our success.”
In addition to supporting the Friendship Foundation, the Walk provides funding for public education. “The SKECHERS Friendship Walk helps support positions and programs that are essential to a high quality education,” said Carolyn Niman, Executive Director of the Peninsula Education Foundation. “We can hire more counselors and teachers, and now receive crucial funds for elementary PE, music and library staff, as well as our award-winning STEM program which incorporates hands-on projects in order to help kids learn engineering concepts.”
The SKECHERS Pier to Pier Friendship Walk has become California’s largest charity event supporting children with special needs and education. Since its inception in 2009, the Walk has united over 54,000 participants and raised over $5.5 million to support The Friendship Foundation and education foundations committed to saving teachers’ jobs, retaining vital academic programs, maintaining smaller class sizes, improving libraries and upgrading school technology. In 2015 alone, more than 13,000 attended the Walk, along with numerous celebrities such as model and entrepreneur Brooke Burke-Charvet, legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and fitness enthusiast Denise Austin.
In addition to headlining sponsor Nickelodeon, the SKECHERS Pier to Pier Friendship Walk thanks its sponsors that include: Wells Fargo, Steel Sports, South Bay Vein and Laser Group, The Claudette and Ethan Rickett Care Foundation, Ross, Zappos.com, Tour de Pier, DIRECTV, Body Glove, Kids Foot Locker, United Legwear, JAKKS Pacific, Marshalls, Cushman & Wakefield, Caskey & Caskey, Siltanen & Partners Advertising, Continental Development, Northrop Grumman, Equinox, Mattel, Chevron, and many others who have given funds and support to provide a better future for children.