2022 Grants Challenge

Shoes for LAUSD Shoe Banks

Shoes That Fit provides brand new, high-quality athletic shoes to children in need. In LAUSD, where 4 out of 5 children live in poverty, Shoes That Fit is opening shoe banks to provide new shoes to LAUSD students on an ongoing basis. LA2050 funding will provide over 2,500 pairs of shoes to respond to immediate need and Shoes That Fit will leverage your support to double that number.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Income Inequality

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

LAUSD (select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

In the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), 4 in 5 children are living at or below the poverty line. With rising costs, many families are having to make the difficult decision of what necessities to buy. New shoes may be one of the most expensive items for families to provide and may not make the list. Not only do unsuitable shoes put children at risk of injuring their feet, they can create barriers to learning, physical activity, and emotional health. In addition to distractions caused by physical discomfort, students wearing old and tattered shoes often contend with embarrassment, bullying, low self-esteem, and feelings of isolation amongst their peers. This is an immediate problem that Shoes That Fit can solve. We find that our program is often the only resource for providing the children we serve with a single decent pair. We want to give students the best chance to put their best foot forward and remove one obstacle to success.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Shoes That Fit is requesting a grant of $75,000 from LA2050 to provide new, athletic shoes for more than 2,500 children in LAUSD. This crucial funding will expand our ongoing program to help students in Los Angeles. In the Spring 2021 semester, Shoes That Fit launched a pilot program with LAUSD’s “Community of Schools” (COS) program. There are currently 42 COS sites that provide resources for every LAUSD school. Shoes That Fit’s goal is to provide a “shoe bank” within these sites so that kids who need new shoes can receive them as they are needed across LAUSD. The first site was located at LA Mid-City Community of Schools followed by shoe banks at Rivera Community of Schools and Bell/Cudahy/Maywood Community of Schools that opened soon after. Since the program’s launch, 6,500 students at the 3 COS sites have received new, athletic shoes. We anticipate the opening of our fourth site to take place during the Fall 2022 semester. Our goal is to continue to open shoe banks across LAUSD to serve the immediate needs of students. At each of our shoe banks, we provide a size run of shoes based on the number of students and age range to ensure that there will be enough of each size. Each student that receives shoes through our programs is measured for accurate sizing using Shoes That Fit measuring forms that we provide to the COS staff. Shoes That Fit works with each COS to determine what the best practices are for their individual sites.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Receiving a new pair of well-fitting shoes can be a life-changing event for a child, especially for those whose shoes are falling apart or who have only ever received used shoes before. Our program solves an immediate need, removing an often painful or embarrassing distraction from school and athletic participation. One of our Los Angeles school partners best describes the impact of new shoes: “I love seeing the face of the students who receive the new shoes, they get very happy and their whole attitude, appearance changes. Some students will come to me after and tell me the shoes made them faster at running. That's probably the best part about helping the students: the instant changes they have.” With a grant from LA2050, we will support students in LAUSD and leverage support for growth so that one day, every student in LAUSD who needs new shoes will get new shoes.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

To measure the success of our programs, Shoes That Fit collects qualitative and quantitative data on the number of shoes provided to children annually and surveys our school partners on the impact that new shoes have on their students. Since the launch of the shoe bank program with LAUSD’s COS, 6,500 students have received new, athletic shoes. Over the last several years some of our most notable outcomes, as described by our school partners, have been the effect a new pair of shoes has on a child's school attendance, behavior and attitude, level of activity on the playground, and with classmates. The results from our surveys in 2022 are a testament to the success of our programs: 90% of liaisons who responded to the survey reported an improvement in confidence among the children who received new shoes, 87% reported an increase in self-esteem, 85% reported an improvement in attitude, 76% reported an increase in physical activity, and 47% reported an increase in attendance.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 2,500

Indirect Impact: NaN