Shoetopia will be opening soon. Just two more days until the fashionistas of Second Life® can descend on shoe lover’s heaven, literally so as the build is itself heavenly. A brief bloggers preview run through tells me that folks will be thrilled with the variety, creativity and quality of shoes and that the most difficult aspect of Shoetopia will be deciding what to buy.
Some people love to make fun of people’s love of shoes, as though it is somehow decadent to enthuse over that fusion of art and engineering, but while shoes can be and often are extravagant indulgences for some, they are also the most important article of clothing there is.
Most of us are lucky enough to have shoes for many functions, daywear for work, formal dress shoes for special occasions, work shoes to protect us from harm while gardening or chopping wood, boots and galoshes for cold and rain, and even specialized athletic shoes for different activities. Not all people are so lucky. In a working class family, they may buy one pair of new shoes for the school year – and hope no one grows too quickly. I grew up in a such a family and know very well the dilemma of choosing one pair that must be strong and hardy enough for the year. Those shoes are never delicate and dainty. Loafers, saddleshoes, oxfords, those last a year. Mary Janes? Not so much.
My parents never encouraged me to go barefoot to save on shoes in the summer. A good thing, since many kids get hookworm from walking around barefoot. On top of the risk of broken glass, sharp objects and hot burning tar on the road, parasites are a serious health hazard for those who go barefoot. Soles4Souls is a charity aimed at making sure people have the shoes they need to protect them and help them lead a healthier, safer life. Kids cannot go to school without shoes – so they are also important to reducing poverty. This is a critical, and often neglected, charitable need and Shoetopia aims to raise funds to donate to Soles4Souls efforts.
In my professional career, I was often called on to help struggling nonprofits, evaluating their management systems, their board and staff and financials to identify problems and find solutions. I would travel out of state at times and spent a week or so at an organization, going through its minutes and financials, talking to staff and board and coming up with a plan to bring it around. Anytime I am asked to support a charity, I automatically check it out. So of course, I checked out Soles4Souls and I was pleased.
I went to GuideStar and looked them up. I ignore other charity rating sites and the Better Business Bureau because you can get a better rating by joining. That’s extortion plain and simple, a racket. Their ratings are meaningless. GuideStar is uninfluenced by whether the charity pays them money or not.
95% of Soles4Souls expenditures are program-related. That means they spend less than 5% on management and fundraising. Most people like that kind of ratio and charities are encouraged (bullied) into getting to that magical 5% sweet spot. Of course, often that is the result of joint allocation of fundraising and program expenses – and so not completely accurate and frankly, that’s a good thing. This is a $50 million charity that gave away over 1 million pairs of shoes last year. Imagine what they could do if they invested more in fundraising. However, charities are often hobbled and held back by this idea we have that they should operation on a shoe string and not spend money to raise money. We always hear that nonprofits need to run more like business, but then they are never allowed in to invest in growth like business.
That’s where events like Shoetopia can do so much more than just raise money. They can raise the profile of the organization – make sure people hear about it and spread the word so that folks think of Soles4Souls when making their end-of-the year charitable donations. I certainly encourage you to donate above and beyond your purchases at Shoetopia, if you can.
And now to the fashion. The dress came from CIA Designs for Enchantment. I love that they were not too literal in their fairy tale inspiration. The necklace and earrings are from CAE. The shoes are from MiaMai for Shoetopia and I love them to pieces. I love the many textures and how they take the usual aggressive stud fashion trope and make it into something more delicate and refined.
Store info at Blogging Second Life
Poses: oOo Studio & Ma Vie
Skin: [PXL] FAITH NAT NE MEB C1
Tattoos: [PXL] FAITH NAT Xtreme Eyes
[PXL] FAITH NAT Pale Lips
Eyes: [UMEBOSHI] Eon eyes Duo Green (med)
Mani/Pedi: SLink Mesh Hands & Feet with FLAIR mani applier
Hair: !Forelock(*Dura-Girl42*-Light Color-Chin)resize
Clothing: [CIA Designs] Black Pencil Dress M
Shoes: Miamai_Barbarella stud (stiletto) – onyx
Jewelry: Cae :: Entangled :
Eiffel Tower – floorplan at Collabor88