All children should start school on equal footing.

First Day Shoe Fund is dedicated to providing new athletic shoes to school-age children in Kalamazoo County who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. We’re a nonprofit that believes all children should start school on equal footing.

“After students received their new pair of shoes, I saw an improvement in their overall confidence. They walked into the classroom with their heads up and smiles on their faces. They were excited to show their peers and truly felt good about themselves. This program provided the opportunity for ALL of my students to FEEL pride.”

Mrs. B., Kindergarten

What we're up to

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The season of giving is upon us. Help us gear up for #GivingTuesday by sharing your giving story or an #unselfie of you and your friends and family as you give back to your community. These stories and photos can be shared with us anytime on Facebook or Instagram. #MyGivingStory #FirstDayShoeFund #Unselfie

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It’s #nationalprincessday! One of our director’s favorite shoe fittings was with a pre-k student named Elsa who couldn’t stop dancing around in her new Frozen shoes. 👸🏽👑❄️

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#MeetOurTeam Josie Richards Board Member, Marketing Committee Josie is the owner of Josie Joan Creative, a marketing and graphic design company specializing in nonprofits. She also is the Marketing Coordinator for Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo. Passionate about community development, Josie earned her Masters of Public Administration from Western Michigan University. Josie joined the First Day Shoe Fund in the summer of 2019. She lives in the Milwood neighborhood with her husband Nathan. They have a dog named Ohlie and a cat named Flint and welcomed a daughter, August, this fall.

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#HolidayInspirationAlert 🚨 Check out this CUTE giving tree from Western Michigan University! The WMU Department of Human Performance and Health Education chose First Day Shoe Fund as their charity partner this year and set a goal to sponsor an entire classroom with their annual holiday giving. Each tag represents a $10 donation to First Day Shoe Fund! We love the creativity here and can't wait to see other unique ways to give back this holiday season. 🎄

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#2019TopTen #ThankYouThursday

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Our office will be closed through November 19 while our director has her tonsils removed--yuck! 😱 We hope to return on November 20. She can still be reached via email at andrea@firstdayshoefund.org

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‘Tis the season for a snow day policy update: if Kalamazoo Public Schools are closed due to snow/ice, First Day Shoe Fund offices will not open. In that case, volunteers and staff need not report. Staff will still be reachable via email.

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#MeetOurTeam Jud Hoff Board Member, President Emeritus Jud has served 8 years on the Board of Directors and brings experience from his past as a graduate of West Point Military Academy, a retired Stryker executive, co-owner of the Dome Sports Center and President of the Southwest Michigan Miracle League. He and his wife Darcy have 4 children and their daughter Reagan is the president of the First Day Shoe Fund Youth Board. Jud volunteers with First Day Shoe Fund because he “vividly remembers the embarrassment of not being able to afford shoes and clothes as a child. I love helping with shoe distribution when the kids believe their shoes can make them run faster or jump higher!”

Our Impact

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shoes distributed to students since 2006
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shoes distributed in 2018 - a new record!
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school districts served in 2018