Stuart Weitzman lends a helping heel

Stuart Weitzman, the elegantly accessible shoe and accessories designer, is featuring a new, limited-edition sandal in his stores.

But this shoe isn’t just a statement piece: It’s part of an initiative to support children’s education in developing countries.

The shoe giant recently partnered with Pencils of Promise (PoP), a nonprofit that works with disadvantaged communities to build schools and provide educational opportunities.

Founder Adam Braun prefers the term “for-purpose” — rather than “nonprofit” — to classify his organization.

“Instead of describing ourselves with the term ‘non,’ demonstrating what we don’t do, let’s talk about what we are actually enacting in the world,” Braun has said.

He first launched PoP in 2008 with just a $25 deposit. Fast-forward eight years and the organization has built 334 schools, which serve 33,883 students and affect more than 300,000 lives daily throughout Laos, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Ghana.

Every 100 hours, PoP breaks ground on a new school.

Braun’s inspiration to start PoP came from a simple request — for a pencil. While traveling in India, he encountered a boy begging in the streets. When he asked the child what he wished for most in life, he replied, “a pencil.” A few years later, Braun left his position at Bain & Co., a management-consulting firm based in Manhattan, to start Pencils of Promise, using the motto: “A pencil and a dream can take you anywhere.”

But in addition to pencils, the organization also supplies e-readers, each of which can provide a student with 100 books in both English and the local language, and a literacy kit, a mobile-learning kit for teachers containing books, phonic games and educational tools.

Stuart Weitzman has agreed to fund the building of three Partners for Promise schools — in Ghana, Guatemala and Laos — the cost of which is approximately $105,000. Proceeds from its shoe, a yellow, suede version of the Nearlynude Block-Heel Sandal in its spring collection, will benefit the building of these schools. The limited-edition charity sandal, with its dandelion shade mimicking the classic pencil, retails for $398.

The shoe will launch April 11 at the Stuart Weitzman Manhattan flagship and will also be available in Beverly Hills, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Costa Mesa. It will also be featured through the company website.

For more, visit pencilsofpromise.org and stuartweitzman.com

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