PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy today announced it has launched a global “community ownership” fundraising campaign, called Soleholder, for the purposes of continuing to offer free education while funding expansion for the school’s programs and facilities, according to PENSOLE founder D’Wayne Edwards.
“Since 2010, I have funded PENSOLE from my personal income and it has grown into one of the premier academies worldwide,” Edwards said. “Today we are excited to welcome the public as partners in building an academy that will continue to discover, develop and place the future of the footwear industry.”
Inspired by the Green Bay Packers Shareholders program, PENSOLE is issuing 50,000 no par value common stock shares for sale to the public. Though the shares do not have investment value in the common sense of the term, a Soleholder will receive a tax deduction for his/her contribution, acknowledgement in the form of a certificate that varies depending on contribution level, the Soleholder’s name on the PENSOLE website and in the academy and an invitation to the annual PENSOLE owners/Soleholders meeting, where he/she will have voting rights.
The Soleholder community ownership program is open to anyone who wishes to own shares in the first community-owned footwear design academy in the world. The price per share is $150, and there is no limit to the number of shares that can be purchased until 50,000 total are sold. Any Soleholder who purchases $5,000 worth of shares will have a scholarship established in his/her name.
- Scholarship fund to make PENSOLE free to all students
- Diversity program to recruit more people of color and women for design careers
- Community master class to teach the art of shoemaking
- Innovation Studio with digital design capabilities, 3D modeling and prototyping for both design students and footwear manufacturers
- Special classes and afterschool programs geared to high-school students
D’Wayne Edwards, a celebrated member of the global footwear community for the last 25 years, founded PENSOLE to give talented young design students — regardless of socioeconomic background — an opportunity to learn from the industry’s best, without financial barriers, and to provide the industry with a farm system for the next generation of footwear designers. Since the first PENSOLE class in 2010, more than 85 Academy graduates have been placed professionally, full-time or as interns, in positions with footwear companies worldwide.