Our Mission

First Day Shoe Fund provides new athletic shoes to school-age children in Kalamazoo County who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. We believe that all children should start school on equal footing.

about us

First Day Shoe Fund (FDSF) is a local, grassroots initiative whose mission is to provide a unique service to children in the Kalamazoo area by distributing new shoes throughout the school year. Valerie Denghel, Founder, realized this need through her work in Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS). Since many families are unable to purchase new shoes, many students are forced to wear shoes that are the incorrect size, tattered, or worn. First Day Shoe Fund believes that every child should start school on equal footing, and distributes a new pair of properly fitting athletic shoes to those students in need. The goal is to help these students and ensure they have adequate footwear to succeed in the school year.

Who Is Eligible For New Shoes?

Students who qualify for free or reduced price lunch, as set by the federal government, are eligible to receive shoes from FDSF. Shoes are ordered and distributed through participating Kalamazoo County elementary schools.

our board of directors

Doug
Pearce

Board President,
Fund Development Chair

About Doug

Leatrice Fullerton

Board Member, Program

About Leatrice

Yolonda Lavender

Board Member, Fund Development

About Yolonda

Ann
Austin

Vice President, Program Chair

About Ann

Christa
Molter

Board Member, PR/Marketing Chair

About Christa

Aura Provancher

Board Member, Program

About Aura

Christopher Moffat

Secretary

About Christopher

Josie
Richards

Board Member, PR/Marketing

About Josie

Angie
Rohrer

Board Member, HR Chair

About Angie

Allison Birmingham

Treasurer, Finance Chair

About Allison

Jud
Hoff

Board Member, President Emeritus

About Jud

Edie
Trent

Board Member,
HR

About Edie

Andrea Macklin

Executive
Director

About Andrea
Scott Hunter

Scott
Hunter

Board Member, Finance Committee

About Scott

Doug
Pearce

President, Fund Development Chair

About Doug

Allison Birmingham

Treasurer, Finance Chair

About Allison

Leatrice Fullerton

Board Member, Program

About Leatrice

Yolonda Lavender

Board Member, Fund Development

About Yolonda

Edie
Trent

Board Member,
HR

About Edie

Ann
Austin

Board Vice President, Program Chair

About Ann

Andrea
Macklin

Executive
Director

About Andrea

Christa
Molter

Board Member, PR/Marketing Chair

About Christa

Aura Provancher

Board Member, Program

About Aura
Scott Hunter

Scott
Hunter

Board Member, Finance Committee

About Scott

Christopher Moffat

Secretary

About Christopher

Angie
Rohrer

Board Member, HR Chair

About Angie

Jud
Hoff

Board Member, President Emeritus

About Jud

Josie
Richards

Board Member, PR/Marketing

About Josie

Our History

In 2004, Valerie Denghel was volunteering in the Kalamazoo Public Schools Woods Lake Elementary when she encountered students on a daily basis who didn’t have proper shoes for school. Since many families were unable to purchase new shoes, many students were forced to wear shoes that were too big, too small, tattered, and worn. And so it began.

First there was one pair of shoes. And then another. And then yet another until the basement of her home was filled with new shoes for students. Since there was no sign of the need diminishing, First Day Shoe Fund was born.

Since incorporating in 2006, First Day Shoe Fund has been providing new athletic shoes to K- 5 students in Kalamazoo Public Schools, Comstock Public SchoolsParamount Charter Academy, Portage Public Schools and Vicksburg Backpack Bonanza through several distribution events. 

With the cooperation of Kalamazoo Communities in Schools, local public school districts faculty, staff and administration, and the overwhelming support of countless community organizations and volunteers, First Day Shoe Fund has grown from a grassroots initiative into a strong, local non-profit.

Not only do new athletic shoes foster self-esteem in students, thereby improving their school performance; these shoes also allow students to participate in healthy activities both in and out of school. First Day Shoe Fund believes that every child should start school on equal footing, and distributes a new pair of properly fitting athletic shoes to those students in need. The goal is to help these students by ensuring they have adequate footwear to not only begin the school year, but help them succeed all year.

WANT TO MAKE A GIFT TO FIRST DAY SHOE FUND?