Now, more than ever before, we are seeing an increasing number of companies in the private sector that are purporting to do good. TOMS shoes is one of them. The company promises that if you buy a pair of its shoes, they'll give a pair to a child in a poor country. The TOMS business model has been wildly successful. The company's sold more than two million pairs of shoes since its launch six years ago and says it has given away two million more to poor children across the globe. Bill Clinton has called TOMS founder, Blake Mycoskie, one of the most interesting entrepreneurs he's ever met.
Blake's for-profit company has made handsome profits but some question whether TOMS shoes is good aid.
"It starts with a solution that we, or the donor, or the giver, thinks is appropriate," Laura Freschi of New York University tells us. "That is, 'We would like to give people shoes,' which, in my opinion, is backwards because the way it should really start is with the person receiving to say, 'Well, what is your priority? What is it that you need?'"
Our story also look at TOMS' Giving Partners; non-profits the company works with to distribute its shoes to children around the globe. As we started to compile a spreadsheet on TOMS Giving Partners, we were surprised to see the number of Evangelical groups that kept cropping up. This got us looking into Blake Mycoskie's particular brand of Christian faith and how it may be informing the groups his company partners with and how they distribute TOMS shoes.UPDATE: TOMS refused repeated requests for an interview but did release this written statement from Sebastian Fries, TOMS' chief giving officer: