Social Responsibility

  • ‘Tis the Season to Give Back - An Interview with Wendy Lee

    “Our company was founded on the principle of helping others. It starts with our commitment to our community and continues with our involvement with a diverse range of philanthropic organizations both here and abroad.”


    Is this a running company? Yes, it is. And, yes, this is what’s written at the top of Newton’s Global Responsibility page. “It’s my dad,” explains Wendy Lee, whose dad, Jerry Lee, is CEO and cofounded Newton Running together with Danny Abshire, CTO. “Honestly, when he founded the company with Danny, he was at a point where he had been very successful in his previous career. He said, ‘If I’m going to start another company, and particularly a running shoe company, the reason I’m doing it is to help other people.’ It starts with him and he made the philosophy from the beginning and made it understood.” Lee, who is Director of Global Sustainability and oversees Newton’s initiatives in this arena, adds, “Of course, we want to make the best running shoe and provide the best running education, but at the end of the day we want to help the lives of other people.”

    And this isn’t just a Jerry and Danny thing. Employees hear about social responsibility in their initial interviews and are introduced to it in the orientation process. It’s also written into job descriptions. “Every employee needs to be involved with social responsibility to whatever level possible. Everyone knows that’s what we stand for and that’s why we exist.  It’s not just something we do on the side, this is why we exist and I find that people really like it and get excited,” explains Lee.

    So what exactly does all this talk mean?

    • Prostate Cancer Foundation:

      Newton has supported the prostate cancer foundation for many years. Lee’s dad and founder, Jerry, is a prostate cancer survivor (since 2005), so she says, they feel strongly about that one. Newton Running also sponsors team athlete Winter Vinecki, who lost her dad to prostate cancer and races to raise funds to fight the disease.


    • Team Kokua:

      Newton has always encouraged athletes to participate in triathlon, while raising funds for causes that hit close to home, such as prostate cancer. In 2013, Newton partnered with the Ironman Foundation to create an ambassador team of 45 athletes. This team of athletes not only raced, but they were charged with raising funds and participating in direct service projects to give back to designated non-profits in the communities in which they were racing. The team has raised $70,000 so far, and Lee is hoping they will break $100,000. Most recently, the team was in Arizona where they organized a track and field day at a school, and then presented a check to the school to go toward a PE program and physical fitness. Next year, Lee says she expects the team will have closer to 60 athletes.

    Team 2

    • Trickle Up:

      Newton has sponsored Trickle Up since 2008. It is an organization that provides education, training and grants for some of the world’s poorest people to develop microenterprises. “It’s a small charity, but they do incredible work,” says Lee. “Trickle Up focuses on the extreme poor, who seem to be overlooked by other charities. They are left out because they are so isolated and impoverished. They live on under $1.50 a day. There are a lot of people, especially women with children living under this poverty line. The quality of life is very low.” 

    Trickle Up works with local organizations to help train these women how to start their own businesses, usually in textiles or farming. They help these women to establish their own micro-economy and to have a sustainable economy for themselves, which then allows their kids to go to school and to get an education. Each season, Newton chooses a shoe from which a $1 per sale goes to the Trickle Up campaign.

    casa guatemala

    • One World Running:

      This Boulder-based, nationwide, volunteer-run organization takes in used running shoes, cleans them up and delivers them to impoverished villages around the world. When they deliver them, they typically host a race in the village the next day. Newton Running has donated more than 5,000 pairs of mostly new shoes to the organization. “We have a constant stock that we donate to them,” says Lee.


    • Back on my Feet:

      This group is east coast based with offices around the country. Back On My Feet organizes running groups for homeless shelters. They meet once or twice a week in the morning and run as a group. Newton donates shoes for every participant in each of the locations around the country (more than 1,000 pairs).


    Being a company that does the right thing also means that after Hurricane Sandy hit, Jerry Lee spontaneously gave 100s of pairs of running shoes that the company had brought to sell at the New York marathon expo to a group of firefighters who happened to be walking through the expo. They in turn donated the shoes to survivors of the hurricane.  Likewise, shoes have been sent to the Philippines and the company even helped their own community after the Colorado floods sent water gushing through Newton’s backyard this fall.  “We are always ready to help where we can,” says Lee. The company also gives a discount to military members.

    Although Jerry Lee won’t toot his own horn, his daughter will, as will Newton employees who have witnessed the giving firsthand. Lee encourages others in the running community to do the same, to look around and see where there is a need. “If there’s any way to help, then do it. Be aware of what’s going on and get involved.” She adds, “We have so much to be thankful for, our health and our well being, particularly when you think about the flooding and the fires that have happened in our own backyard. We’re thankful as a company for our customers and their support of us. We have been fortunate and continue to be so as a company, so it’s our responsibility to give back. It’s what we do.”

  • Newton heads to Belize with One World Running (Part 2)

    Last week we showed you the first two of Anne's postcards from her service trip with One World Running (OWR) to Belize. Anne included some truly inspiring photos as well as a brief video that showed the absolute joy that OWR brings to these children.

    In Part 2 of Anne's postcards we get to see some footage from the finish of the 5K that is one of the highlights of the week's events. We're also taken to where the children live and it's stark contrast to most of our lives. After you've read Anne's entries, please read on to find out how you can help contribute to One World Running.

    One World Running Postcard #3

    The Race!

    Today was the race! Adults, Kids and Special Olympics waves all gathered in the main square for a 5k & 3k for kids. Attached is a video of the top three girls- note the shoes! And photo of the podium finishers!


    One World Running Postcard #4

    Last postcard from the One World Running service trip. We had been in the jungle in the Maya Mountains in the Cayo region at a farm with no electricity for three days, hence the radio silence.

    The schools were in a town called Succotz and the experience was very similar to the schools in Corozol: profound poverty that takes your breath away. To reach the first school you crossed a rickety plank and cable footbridge twenty feet over a river (pic attached). Last week a five year old girl fell through the planks into the river. She could not swim and went under but luckily her father was with her and jumped in to retrieve her.

    The kids we fitted for shoes were so poor and many had no shoes. Their gratitude for something as simple as shoes was deeply humbling and yet another reminder that we are so blessed with abundance in our lives in the US.

    Many thanks to Newton Running for helping to change the lives of many kids from this trip!


    One World Running is ALWAYS accepting donations of shoes as well as financial contributions. Newton Running is proud to support this amazing organization and the work they do around the world. Please consider joining us in bringing the simple gift of shoes, something many of us take for granted, to those in need.

    To find a drop off location, please visit:

    To visit the One World Running Website to see how else you can contribute, please visit:

  • Newton heads to Belize with One World Running

    Newton Running VP of Administration & Sustainability Anne Klein recently had the chance to travel with One World Running (OWR) on a service trip to Belize. One World Running is an international organization that promotes an awareness of health, fitness and nutrition by providing running shoes to those in need around the world. Anne took her goddaughter Laura on the trip to participate in giving shoes to impoverished children.

    Below are the first two of Anne's OWR Postcards sent while in Belize:

    One World Running Postcard #1

    Today was such an amazing day with One World Running that I wanted share some pictures with Newton. We gave away hundreds of shoes today to kids from 13 local schools and their families. Kids arrived with paperwork from their school to help organize the shoe distribution - without this the entire town would show up and it would be very chaotic (they know from experience!).

    Kids stand in line and then enter the school room and sit on chairs lined up just like our expos. The OWR volunteer who is working with the child guestimates the shoe size and tells their partner volunteer what size to get, The volunteer partner grabs a couple options from the makeshift storage area we created in the back of the school, behind the OWR banners. Many kids come in barefoot and the fitting can take several rounds. Once a fit is made and the kiddos have their shoes they exit the classroom, pick up a t-shirt (Mike Sandrock gathers leftover tech tops from all the local races) and their race number (donated by the Bolder Boulder) for the  5k race which will take place on Wednesday morning.

    It is a lot like our expo work!

    So may smiles and beautiful faces. It is an amazing experience!

    One World Running Postcard #2

    Some favorite images from today's work with two different schools. The video illustrates how meaningful something that we take for granted -- shoes -- can be to the kids we're helping. Also attached two photos of proud recipients of Newtons!


    One World Running Making an Impact in Belize from Newton Running on Vimeo.

  • Newton Running Receives Trickle Up’s Leet Humanitarian Award


    APRIL 9, 2012 (Boulder, Co)— Newton Running, the leader in natural form running, was awarded the 2012 Glen and Mildred Robbins Leet Humanitarian Award from Trickle Up, a New York-based, non-governmental organization dedicated to alleviating poverty. Since 2008, Newton Running has made financial contributions to Trickle Up, which provides conditional seed capital and business training to the world’s lowest-earning people so that they may start a micro-enterprise.

    “We believe strongly in what they do to help the impoverished become financially independent and give women and their children a chance at a better life,” says Newton Running CEO Jerry Lee.

    Trickle Up’s mission resonates personally with Lee, a self-made entrepreneur who grew up in a low-income Illinois household with 14 brothers and sisters, then moved to Boulder, Colorado, to become a highly successful real estate investor and later co-founded Newton Running with Danny Abshire in 2007.

    Lee accepted the award on behalf of Newton Running at the annual Trickle Up gala in New York City on April 4. The Glen and Mildred Robbins Leet Humanitarian Award, named after the Trickle Up’s founders, is given to supporters who demonstrate a passionate commitment to the organization’s core mission of eradicating extreme poverty. Past award recipients include Wendy Gordon Rockefeller (2010), a leader in the green consumer movement, and Charles Slaughter, founder of TravelSmith and Living Goods (2009).

    Newton Running’s  Director of Social Responsibility (and Jerry’s daughter), Wendy Lee, witnessed first hand the impact of Trickle Up’s investment in small businesses when she and her mother, Donna Lee, visited several war-affected Guatemalan communities in 2009. There, they met people who had opened weaving businesses and bakeries thanks to Trickle Up’s local lending programs.

    Newton Running customers can easily support Trickle Up by adding a donation to their purchase

  • Newton and Mile High Squash

    The Mile High Squash group consists of about fifty underserved Hispanic students in Denver.  In addition to squash lessons and healthy lifestyle direction, the MHS organization also provides academic tutoring for 6th – 12th grade students.  Newton Running designer has been involved with the MHS program since they started the program in 2008 from an academic perspective, but since he came to Newton Running, his contribution will be physical fitness and squash.

    Here he am with 20-students from the Mile High Squash organization working on their running form as they prepare for their first annual “MHS Running to College 5k” on October 22 in Denver, CO.  The session included a brief warm-up session consisting of form drills followed by running and walking for 20-minutes, and then some barefoot cool down stretches and balancing drills on the squash court.

  • Running Group Gives Girls Confidence; Pregnant Nicole DeBoom Joins Fun Run

    i-tri Girls Learn Natural Running Form

    We're proud to be involved with many philanthropic organizations, abroad as well as those close to home. One such organization is i-tri Girls, a small New York non-profit started by one mom who wanted to help local high-school girls find empowerment through sport.

    She founded i-tri Girls as a community-based intervention program that fosters self-respect, personal empowerment, self confidence, positive body image and healthy lifestyle choices for adolescent girls. Through the sport of triathlon and a curriculum of physical fitness and nutrition activities, self-affirming lessons of respect, responsibility, teamwork and dedication, i-tri Girls develop healthy habits and attitudes that last a lifetime.

    Last week, Newton Running's Michael Blanchard held a natural running form clinic at the Gubbins Running Ahead store, and the girls all received a pair of Newton Running shoes.

    SkirtSports Founder Nicole DeBoom Leads Fun Run

    A 13-weeks pregnant Nicole DeBoom joined a running group at The Runner's Soul in La Grange, Illinois last Monday. The former Ironman Champion and founder of Skirt Sports took part in a fun run. Newton Running tech rep Justin Dyszelsk outfitted many of the participants a pair of test-drive Newton Running shoes.

    Runners of all levels are invited to take part in The Runner's Soul regular Monday evening runs at 6:30 p.m. Fine more information in this article in

  • Newton Athlete Jeremy Freed Motivates Kids to Run

    Newton Athlete Jeremy Freed recently began a series of presentations about the value of exercise and good nutrition to hundreds of kids  at Parmalee Elementary in Indian Hills, Colorado, Marshdale Elementary in Evergreen, Colorado, and West Jefferson Middle School in Evergreen, Colorado.

    "A parent involved with organizing the a kid's race called the Evergreen Rodeo Stampede Fun Run asked me to  speak to the local students about the importance of running and exercise, sharing my experiences in sports and the importance of proper nutrition for long-term health," says Freed.

    Freed also got the kids fired up about an upcoming race called the Kid's Rodeo Stampede Fun Run, sponsored by Newton Running, on May 28, as a chance to get a taste of the thrill and sense of accomplishment that comes with finishing a race.  The competition includes a 1-mile, 2-mile and a 50-yard dash. "Spreading the message of youth health literacy is extremely important and, as an athlete, I feel that I can be a good example and provide a meaningful message," says Freed.

    "The kids really responded well to the 45-minute presentation," says Freed. "I spoke for a bit and then got them off the floor and running in place, doing plyometrics and stretching. The kids then got to ask questions about the presentation before they returned to class.

  • Sign up Today for Ironman Canada with Athletes for a Cure

    Even though the 2011 Ironman Canada (August 28, 2011) is sold out, you can still race!Subaru Ironman Canada

    Become a member of Newton Running's Athletes for a Cure team and make a difference in the fight against prostate cancer while competing in the race of a lifetime! Learn more at:

    Spots will go fast so Sign up today!

    Learn more is this informational video featuring Newton Running co-founder, Jerry Lee.


  • Newton Running Donates 1000 Shoes to Kenyan Orphans

    Support this massive "shoe-raising" effort with a $15 donation

    Soles for Kenya, a student-organized "shoe-raiser," is collecting 1000 used shoes for Kenyan orphans and Newton Running is matching their efforts by donating 1000 pairs of Newton Running Performance Trainers.

    Students from Kent Denver High School, J. K. Mullen High School, Regis Jesuit Boys and Girls' Schools, St. Anne's Episcopal School and Colorado Academy oversaw the collection process.

    Aside from supplying much-needed footwear to Kenyan orphans, their goal is to raise awareness for the 2.5 million orphans living with the legacy of the AIDS pandemic: poverty, drought, starvation and tribal warfare. The Denver teenagers were touched by Tumaini's cause and wanted to expand the circle of care for African orphans.

    You can help by making a $15 cash donation to Tumaini Ministries, which they will use to purchase more Newton Running shoes. The shoes will be distributed in Kenya by Eunice Kariuki, founder and executive director of Tumaini, a Kenyan home for orphans, to local orphanages and street kids in Nairobi, Kenya.

    Visit the Soles for Kenya Facebook page here.

  • Run Across Ethiopia Team Raises Funds for Youth Education


    The following letter was submitted by Run Across Ethiopia team member, Nigel Willerton.

    From January 9 to 19, the Run Across Ethiopia Team ran 264 miles in 11 days, averaging 24 miles per day. We ran a marathon (26.2 miles) or longer on seven of the 11 days, reaching a total of almost 53 hours. As a result, I was able to raise almost $30,000, and the Run Across Ethiopia Team raised close to $200,000 for On The Ground to support the education of the children of Fair Trade farmers in Ethiopia. (Read more about the run here).

    This money will be used to build and supply much-needed schools, and to give these children a better start with more opportunities. It was very emotional to see the foundations of the schools being built with your pledges.

    On Day 9 we ran to the village of Hace Gola in the Ethiopian Highlands, where we were met by over 2,000 singing villagers in a stunning display of gratitude for their new school. This is what Run Across Ethiopia was all about–direct intervention to provide desperately needed schools and help break the cycle of poverty.

    I am deeply moved by everyone's support, from the kids who donated their $5 weekly allowance, my friends and work colleagues who dug deep into their pay checks, to the generous businesses that donated four-figure sums. I am extremely proud to be associated with all of you. On The Ground will be able provide the resources to build three new schools in Ethiopia over the next few months because of that tremendous support.

    However, though the run may have ended, the need for support hasn't. These schools will need equipment and supplies in the future. You can donate at any time to and I promise your money will go directly to the very best of causes. Alternatively, you can mail a check made out to "On the Ground" to: On the Ground, 806 Red Drive, Suite 150 · Traverse City, Michigan 49684.

    Finally, please remember that purchasing products from genuinely socially responsible companies can mean fresh water, free health care, schools and electricity to those who would otherwise go without. In this information-rich world, it's not too difficult to find the good guys :-)

    Thank you again,


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