In honor of Women’s History Month, Los Angeles-based shoewear brand Tieks launched a nomination-based giveaway to celebrate women making a difference. The “Blue Prints Giveaway,” which ran from March 1 through March 14, offered anyone a chance to nominate a woman that has left a Blue Print on their life. The idea was that 21 female changemakers would be honored and given a $200 Tieks Gift Card, and those nominating the winners would also receive a $100 gift card from the brand. Winners were to be featured on Tieks International Women’s Day page and potentially highlighted on the brand’s popular Instagram page.
However, the giveaway turned into something far greater after the company received an overwhelming number of heartwarming entries from across the country about women making a meaningful impact in their communities. In response, the touched Tieks team contacted these changemakers and donated directly to their causes.
Jacklyn Milton empowers through education as the director of the Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute, a grassroots nonprofit in St. Paul, Minnesota. Jacklyn’s mission is to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline by teaching children how to read. Since students who cannot read are four times more likely to drop out of school and 85 percent of children in the juvenile system are illiterate, the goal is to ensure that each child reads at least 1,000 books before kindergarten. To achieve this lofty objective, Jacklyn holds book drives and leads an annual youth leadership summit. She herself is a testament to the truth that learning never ends, as she began attending college at age 50 after running her own in-home daycare for over 30 years. Inspired by Jacklyn’s commitment to literacy, Tieks donated funds to her organization for books.
Amy Weatherly, a co-author of the popular Facebook page “Sister, I am with you” and motivational speaker, created an online fundraiser to help her fellow West Texans through the freeze that ravaged their region. At the time of Amy’s nomination, she had raised over $26,000 for the West Texas Food Bank, a nonprofit that provides meals for the food insecure in her area. Beth Garza, who nominated Amy, said her friend is as “big-hearted as Texas” and “bent over backwards” to help her and her family after they lost Beth’s father to cancer last spring. The Tieks team was so moved by Amy’s generosity that they too contributed to the West Texas Food Bank. When Amy heard about the donation, she took to social media in tears over the surprise support and encouraged her followers, saying that if they keep doing the work, kindness will follow.
Stefanie Willis also provided significant aid in Texas, traveling all the way from Philadelphia to San Antonio to host a food drive for the storm-ravaged region. In addition to collecting and donating supplies and canned goods, Stefanie and her team brought local flavor to San Antonio, cooking signature Philly cuisine for the hungry. Back in Philadelphia, she started Everybody Eats Philly, a collaborative team of Black chefs that serves a low-income neighborhood. Stefanie regularly devotes holidays like Thanksgiving to making sure her community is fed. She also helps fill otherwise empty pantries by hosting fun community events. Stefanie’s contagious passion for fighting against food insecurity has spread to Tieks, as the company donated meals to help her organization further its mission.
Meg Heriford has made such an impact in her Lawrence, Kansas community that she was nominated by someone who does not know her personally. As the owner of Ladybird Diner, Meg has closed her restaurant to paying customers for the past 11 months, using this time solely to provide free meals for homeless and hungry locals. During the pandemic, she has donated over 20,000 meals, funding this endeavor by writing a book and donating all the proceeds. “Ladybird Collected” is a collection of essays Meg wrote on the evolution of her diner. To support her inspiring altruism, Tieks joined Meg in donating meals.
Katie Warren nominated Shannon Routh for supporting her after Katie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer at 25. Shannon was diagnosed with the same type of cancer at a young age, leading her to create the Charlotte-based nonprofit Teal Diva, which helps ovarian cancer survivors through education, friendship, and connections. Shannon’s support proved invaluable as Katie endured a grueling recovery from abdominal surgery, months of chemotherapy, and digesting the likelihood that she would never be able to have her own children. Katie thought to nominate Shannon for the Tieks giveawaybecause the ovarian cancer ribbon and Teal Diva’s logo are teal, the same color as Tieks’ signature “Tiek Blue” color. Inspired by the strength of Katie, Shannon, and other ovarian cancer survivors and Shannon’s remarkable work, Tieks made a monetary contribution to Teal Diva.
Tieks was touched by another cancer survivor who has made a tremendous difference providing support for other survivors and their families through art therapy. Gabby Gouveia nominated Jessica Ando, a licensed marriage and family therapist who uses art therapy to comfort the bereaved. After Gabby’s 5-year-old son, Grayson, died of brain cancer in 2016, Jessica provided comfort to Gabby’s 3-year-old daughter and the rest of the family. Years later, Gabby started a nonprofit to support other bereaved parents called Let Grace In, of which Jessica is an integral part and to whom Tieks has just donated. Tieks congratulates Jessica on being honored as the first recipient of Grayson’s Legacy of Love award.
The Tieks team was proud to contribute meals, books, and support toward furthering these grassroots organizations’ important missions. Amplifying the humanitarian impact these extraordinary women are making daily is what corporate social responsibility is all about. More companies ought to follow Tieks’ example and use their platforms to lend a hand and drive social justice within their communities.