Skechers Walk tops $2 million for special ed kids and schools
by Kevin Cody
“Thank God, Rabbi Yossi Mintz made a mistake after arriving at LAX from New York. He turned south and settled in the South Bay instead of going north, to the Valley,” Skechers CEO Michael Greenberg told guests last Thursday during the 10th Annual Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk check presentations at Shade Manhattan Beach.
Shortly after arriving in the South Bay Beach Rabbi Mintz met Greenberg and convinced him to support the Friendship Foundation, which today matches over 1,800 developmentally disabled, South Bay students with fellow classmates.
The Friendship Foundation work reminded Greenberg of the high school experience he had after one of his family’s moves. Finding himself without friends, he volunteered to escort students with special needs to their classes at his high school.
The first Skechers Walk Friendship Walk, in 2009, drew 1,200 walkers and raised $220,000. Last October’s 10th-anniversary walk drew 14,000 walkers and raised $2 million.
Thursday evening, Rabbi Mintz accepted a $577,175 check made out to the Friendship Foundation. Another $1 million was distributed among the El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes, and Torrance education foundations.
“Thanks to this walk, special needs students don’t sit alone at lunch. They don’t get bullied,” Rabbi Mintz told guests.
Over the past decade, an estimated 77,000 walkers have helped raise $11 million for the Friendship Foundation and local schools.
The Skechers Walk also funds Skechers Foundation college scholarships.
Following the check presentations, Greenberg announced plans for a new fundraiser, scheduled for next April, for maintenance of the Manhattan Beach Pier Roundhouse Aquarium.
Skechers was instrumental in a $4 million renovation of the aquarium, completed last November.
“The Roundhouse is exposed to a marine environment,” Greenberg said in explaining the need for maintenance funds.
For more about the friendship walk, visit skechersfriendshipwalk.com.
by Kevin Cody
Kevin is the publisher of Easy Reader and Beach. Share your news tips. 310 372-4611 ext. 110 or kevin[at]easyreadernews[dot]com