TOMS was founded in 2006 by Blake Mycoskie
, inspired by a trip to Argentina where he saw extreme poverty and health conditions, as well as children walking without shoes. That’s when he recognized the traditional Argentine alpargata shoe as a simple, yet revolutionary solution. He quickly set out to reinvent the alpargata for the U.S. market with a simple goal: to show how together, we can create a better tomorrow by taking compassionate action today.
To realize this mission, Blake made a commitment to match every pair of TOMS purchased with a new pair given to a child in need. One for One. “I was so overwhelmed by the spirit of the South American people, especially those who had so little,” Mycoskie said. “And I was instantly struck with the desire — the responsibility — to do more.”
During its first year in business, TOMS sold 10,000 pairs of shoes. Blake returned to Argentina later that year with family and friends and gave back to the children who had first inspired him. Thanks to supporters, TOMS gave the one millionth pair of new shoes to a child in need in September 2010. TOMS now gives in over 20 countries and works with charitable partners in the field who incorporate shoes into their health, education, hygiene, and community development programs.
TOMS Giving Partners are made up of NGOs, charities, and non-profits already established and working in the countries in which TOMS gives. Their expertise guides TOMS to give responsibly, making sure there aren’t adverse socioeconomic effects, and to ensure that sustainable giving is possible.
In June of 2011, TOMS launched the next One for One: TOMS Eyewear. With every pair you purchase, TOMS will help give sight to a person in need. One for One. With our support, our Sight Giving Partners organize screenings right in the community to identify the people who need care. TOMS then helps our partners provide care in one of three ways: medical treatment, prescription glasses, or sight saving surgery.