Most sell products to put some extra cash in their pocket, but Matt Cline decided to put his profits to better use. Learn more about how Matt Cline has been using StockX to help fund his charitable pursuits for the last two years.
What kinds of plans and goals have selling and the resulting profits allowed you to pursue?
My goal is to keep growing and building. It’s almost like a retirement fund: the inventory gets bigger and we keep buying more and more and reinvesting. We also have our nonprofit Just a Pair of Shoes so we donate percentages back. Last year $2,500 was donated from the for-profit and we have a lot of people that donate from the local community and reseller community. We have given 351 Nikes away, so we are definitely growing fast. We did a 48-mile run and we raised $10,000. I want to work with more schools and give more shoes away. I really want to keep being a volunteer.
Where does the name of your nonprofit come from?
The idea is centered around the phrase, “just a pair of shoes”. But in reality, it’s a lot more than shoes. When you give these kids shoes, it’s not just a pair of shoes to them, it’s much more than that.
My girlfriend and I run it and then we have a board of directors from the community. The board is just full of fantastic, incredible people so it’s not always me doing something, it’s the organization. So there are a lot of people involved and nobody is paid which is really cool. Literally 100% of donations go towards shoes, socks, and then running our website. And we want to try to keep that going for as long as we possibly can.
Was giving back to your community always something you wanted to do?
I come from a very poor background so money is almost demonized. But if you make enough money and have a good heart, you can do some good. The profits from the business allow me to give back and it just so happens to be around shoes.
What do the shoes mean to the kids?
They’re so excited. A couple of weeks ago, a kid said to me “My shoes don’t slip and slide.” Initially, I was like “What?” But I learned that once you wear your shoes so much, they have no tread. I didn’t even think about that. So the kids are all amped up and ask each other “You want to race!?” in their new shoes. But also the message that comes with the shoes – I think is just as important.
To every kid we give shoes to, we ask them to make three promises:
- Do your homework.
- Be a good friend. If your friend is getting bullied then stand up for them, or if they fall down, pick them up.
- Be a good son, daughter, granddaughter, or grandson, help out at home, and listen to your parents.
How does giving back make you feel?
It makes me feel really good. and I think most importantly it’s around a passion that I love, and it touches home for me. I remember my Sophomore year in college, my professor had this quote that said, “Be the person you needed when you were younger.” That’s what led to this and started this whole thing. If I had somebody that gave me a pair of shoes and gave me a couple of tips on life or a direction to go, that was exactly what I needed. So to give it back, it’s awesome.
If you weren’t selling on StockX, how would the pursuit of these charitable initiatives be different?
They would take a little bit longer or we would have to rely on other people to donate. We have a lot of support, don’t get me wrong, but initially, if you want to do something you have to do it yourself. So we had to sell on StockX to get things started. But now, like I said, we have donors and more support to keep donating more and get to fulfill that passion project.
If you’re going to “be the person you needed when you were younger,” what would you say to that younger you?
If I was to give myself advice, I would say just keep building brick by brick. Literally, you build a house one brick at a time. It’s all small beginnings. Don’t quit, bet on yourself, and invest in yourself. Anybody can do it, it’s hard work though. But it’s very rewarding and, most importantly, very fun.
To learn more about Matt’s organization, check out their website: http://www.justapairofshoes.org/