When we first conceived of the Film Annex film distribution network, we wanted to create a win-win relationship between content creators, advertisers, and marginalized groups in developing countries. So naturally, we’re always on the lookout for companies using a similar model to promote sustainable philanthropy.
With the launch of its new Marketplace program, clothing retailer TOMS caught our attention most recently. The TOMS Marketplace leverages partnerships with charitable companies by offering customers a selection of products that benefit specific charitable causes: children, education, health, job creation, nutrition, and water. The TOMS Marketplace also allows customers to browse and select from dozens of countries that the profits may benefit.
TOMS Marketplace partners were hand selected by the TOMS team through a rigorous interview process that examined each company’s business and giving philosophies. The selected partners range from small, young companies to established brands, all of which have expressed remarkable dedication to improving the lives of others far and wide.
The TOMS brand is no stranger to sustainable philanthropy. After all, the “TOMS” name is an abbreviation of “Shows for Tomorrow,” and its “One for One” shoe donation program was the premise of its founding, with TOMS donating a brand new pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair purchased. Since its inception in 2006, TOMS has donated 10 million pairs of shoes to children in need.
In addition, profits from its eyewear sales have been used to support community based eye care initiatives, eye surgery, and prescription glasses in over 10 countries. The TOMS eye care initiative also creates jobs, often for young women in developing countries, offering basic eye care training to local volunteers and educators.
Like Film Annex and Womens Annex (a new blogging and online film distribution platform that aims to empower women in Afghanistan) the TOMS Marketplace transforms its “content creators” —apparel brands, in this case—into charitable benefactors, encouraging a sustainable model of giving that benefits the customers, partner companies, and less fortunate individuals in developing countries. And as more companies and organizations employ this sustainable model of giving, consumers and creators will have more chances to do what they love while also encouraging economic growth in Asia and other developing regions. This is something Film Annex can definitely get behind.