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

Posted by on Monday, December 9, 2013 @ 11:35 am | Leave a reply

“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.

Memorial

  • 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.

owr1

  • 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).

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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.”

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

Posted by on Wednesday, April 10, 2013 @ 7:58 am | Leave a reply

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!

Anne

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: http://oneworldrunning.com/drop-off-locations/

To visit the One World Running Website to see how else you can contribute, please visit: http://oneworldrunning.com

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Newton heads to Belize with One World Running

Posted by on Thursday, April 4, 2013 @ 7:53 am | 1 Reply

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.

 

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