Special-edition, Congolese-inspired TOMS Shoes
We're teaming up with Giving Partner Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI), an advocacy and grant-making organization founded by Ben Affleck, on two Congolese-inspired designs with an additional give. Read More >>
TOMS x charity: water - An Eyewer collaboration
TOMS and charity: water, an organization founded in 2006 (like TOMS!) that’s dedicated to to helping bring clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations, join forces for the first-ever TOMS Eyewear collab! Read More >>
Giving TOMS Shoes in the DRC
Founded by Ben Affleck in 2010, ECI is an advocacy and grant-making organization that works with and for the people of DRC, the third most populous country in Africa, and one that struggled under a cycle of violence for nearly 20 years – particularly in the east. Read More >>
Start Something that Matters, a book by TOMS Chief Shoe Giver, Blake Mycoskie, challenges readers to make a positive change in the world and start a project that matters to them. Whether it is a unique business idea with a giving element or a school assignment to improve the community, each project contributes to making a difference. We’ve received many stories from likeminded individuals that have been inspired to start something that matters. Read on to discover the story of Jessica Ekstrom, who’s helping young girls regain their self-confidence with Headbands of Hope.
In the summer of 2011, just before her 20th birthday, Jessica interned with the Make a Wish Foundation of Central and Western North Carolina, an opportunity that allowed her to wake up each day and grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses. Through helping give each day, with day trips to visit the wish recipients with their favorite toys, Jessica felt as though she was being given a gift herself.
One day, Jessica was pulling her hair back into a ponytail when she connected the dots to her current situation. She thought about the thousands of girls around the world who lose their hair to chemotherapy. Through her internship, she was seeing how much losing their hair had an impact on their self-esteem and confidence level.
Jessica explains, “Being a young girl presents many struggles with self-esteem already, and hair loss as a result of a life-threatening illness is traumatic. Not only do girls have to face the risk of losing their lives, they feel that they lose a part of their feminine identity in their battle.”
Soon after Jessica’s ‘aha’ moment, she founded Headbands of Hope, an organization founded on a concept similar to TOMS’. For every headband purchased, one is given to a girl with cancer , and $1 is donated to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund life-saving childhood cancer research.
Since founding Headbands of Hope, Jessica has distributed headbands to girls in the hospitals across the nation. Jessica says the best part of her job is opening the door to the patients’ rooms and seeing their faces light up when she brings dozens of colorful headbands to choose from.
Jessica will continue to give back with Headbands of Hope, and even more, will do her best to inspire others to make a difference in a girl’s life, even in the simplest ways.