The Footwear Association Charity Event is on track for another big fundraiser in Shanghai next month.
The event, which will take place from Nov. 3 to 5, raises money for local Chinese charities focused on promoting the health and cultural needs of adults and children.
To date, more than $8 million has been raised, according to H.H. Brown President and CEO Jim Issler, who is chairman of the fundraiser. He remains optimistic this year’s event could hit the $1.7 million mark.
“When we started in southern China, it was smaller — raising about $300,000,” recalled Issler. “Each year we do a little better and attract more people. Last year, for the first time, we had a table of [industry members] from Europe.”
According to Issler, FACE was first created in response to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome epidemic in China, which impacted the travel of industry members from the U.S. Its goal was to promote a safe work environment for footwear and fashion executives by funding health initiatives there.
While FACE donates funds to 10 charities covering a range of issues, from medical care to the cultural enrichment of children, Issler stressed the main recipient has been the Harvard School of Public Health’s China Initiative, established in 2005. To date, that organization has trained nearly 300 Chinese health care officials.
“We are the No. 1 source of all money to the [Harvard] Initiative,” said Issler. “We have to have a robust public health system in China if we, as Americans, are going to continue to make products there.”
Among the other organizations receiving support from FACE are The Two Ten Footwear Foundation; Wings of Music, which brings classical music education to children; The China Welfare Fund for the Handicapped, dedicated to empowering the disabled; and The Traces of Love Education Project, which helps fund the education of underprivileged children.
According to Issler, participation in the event has increasingly come from non-fashion companies, including banks and freight organizations. “The footwear industry uses a lot of support people,” said Issler, adding that many are included in the 147 current sponsors.
FACE kicks off with an invitational golf tournament at the Lake Malaren Golf Club, followed by dinner, entertainment and special appearances by Chinese talent, including Emmy-winning producer and humanitarian Yue-Sai Kan.
For more information, contact John Sweeney from H.H. Brown at [email protected]