Michael Franti today announced his partnership with Soles4Souls, the international shoe charity dedicated to providing free shoes to people in need around the world.

In an effort to collect/sponsor 100,000 pairs of shoes, the campaign will serve to raise awareness of the need for footwear both nationally and internationally in order to enhance the lives of families worldwide through a cooperative effort to distribute critically needed footwear.

In addition, nine cities along Franti’s “The Sound of Sunshine Tour” this Fall will be designated as part of The “Barefoot Concert Series” (see dates below) where fans can donate/sponsor shoes and learn more about the programs at Soles4Souls. Fans will also be able to donate funds via text message by texting keyword “FRANTI” to 20222 or via www.michaelfranti.com and www.soles4souls.org. Local distributions, as well as additional promotions (including impromptu “busking” performances by Franti), will be held in select cities throughout his tour.

The two will partner to raise money through the charity’s “$1 equals 1 pair” program. For every dollar that is raised, Soles4Souls will donate a pair of shoes to someone in need. The partnership is especially significant for 2010, as it marks anniversaries for both Soles4Souls (the distribution of its 10 millionth pair of shoes) and for Franti, who decided to go shoeless 10 years ago.

A musician, poet, social humanitarian and activist, Franti is recognized as a pioneering force in branding music as a vehicle for global social activism. In 2000, while traveling the globe, Franti saw unfathomable poverty, which amongst other things, had children and adults walking barefoot.

Upon his return to his home in San Francisco, Franti decided to give up shoes for three days to learn what it would be like to be constantly barefoot, and his trial period turned into a 10-year campaign. He can only be seen wearing flip-flops when boarding a plane or in a restaurant.

“Ten years ago I made a decision to go barefoot after playing music for kids in many countries who could not afford shoes,” said Franti. “I know some of the aches and pains that go along with being barefoot, but have no idea what it’s like to not be able to afford them. Partnering with Soles4Souls is a way of putting my experience to use helping families take a first step out of the cycle of poverty.”

“We’re honored that Michael is joining with us to give shoes to people in need,” said Wayne Elsey, Founder and CEO of Soles4Souls. “It’s not everyday that you have such a dynamic artist willing to take time out of their busy schedule to become personally engaged in our mission, and we are delighted to be a part of it,” he said.

Michael is the founder and lead singer of Michael Franti & Spearhead. For over two decades, the Bay Area born Franti has been bringing our world exceptionally powerful, deeply felt music. The Sound of Sunshine is Michael Franti & Spearhead’s seventh studio album and the follow-up to 2008’s Top 40 hit All Rebel Rockers. The album is set for release on September 21st and the album’s title track and single is currently #1 on the AAA chart. In addition, Michael is the creator of the Power to the Peaceful (PTTP) festival in San Francisco. This year’s 12th annual festival will take place on September 11th and is a part of “The Barefoot Concert Series”. PTTP is one of the nation’s largest free annual music festivals with over 50,000 attendees and serves to promote change through music, art and action.

Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based charity that collects shoes from warehouses of footwear companies and the closets of people around the world. The shoes are distributed, free of charge, to people in need across the globe. Since 2005, Soles4Souls has given away over 10 million pairs of new and gently worn shoes (currently distributing one pair every 7 seconds). The shoes have been distributed in 125 countries, including Haiti, Kenya, Nepal, and the United States.

For more information on Michael Franti, please visit: www.michaelfranti.com

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