While our sunglasses celebrate past and present human achievements, we’re equally excited about the achievements yet to come. When we look to the future, we want to see the good. And since we can’t wear sunglasses in a future that isn’t bright, we are committed to supporting the pioneers of tomorrow by supporting education programs today.
Past visionaries were responsible for the achievements our sunglasses celebrate, but we need future visionaries to ensure we have a bright future… And we want a future so bright, you’ll have to wear shades. So for every pair of sunglasses sold, we donate $10 to education programs related to the specific achievements our sunglasses celebrate.
|proceeds go to SOLA—School of Leadership, Afghanistan — an organization dedicated to furthering educational and leadership opportunities in Afghanistan and the world for its new generation, especially for Afghan women.|
OUR PHILOSOPHY ON CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP
The entire premise behind Westward Leaning is that social causes and progressive issues shouldn’t just be an afterthought for retailers. Our goal is to integrate our values in our products and our brand identity in a way that is truly genuine and authentic. We see the “charitable” component as central to everything we do—for us, the social component is not just a marketing technique, but an integral part of everything from conception to design to the very names of each of our models.
We don’t design our products in a vacuum—social issues inspire and inform every step of the process. That’s why all our designs each feature a unique material that—in its procurement and use—supports and celebrates a specific human achievement. In many cases, the sourcing of these unique materials offers us an opportunity to provide direct financial support to deserving organizations: our Teddy Roosevelt model, for example, features naturally-shed antlers that were collected by Boy Scouts from the National Elk Refuge, and were then sold at auction to benefit the National Parks. And in this example, our financial contribution is not immaterial: the antlers are expensive, 80% of the proceeds go to the Elk Refuge, and we have to buy a significant quantity of antlers, since we can only use a small portion of each antler rack for the sunglasses (most of the antler doesn’t have the necessary structural integrity).
And even when we can’t find a way to support the cause through the procurement of the actual material, we hope our glasses raise awareness for the causes they celebrate, and in their own way add to the dialogue around particular issues. Indeed, by drawing attention and awareness to extraordinary people, places, organizations and events, we hope our glasses will provide an inspiration to us all, a reminder that we humans are capable of greatness.
But we wanted to do more than inspire. When we considered our corporate philanthropy, we didn’t want to do something generic. We didn’t want to just sell a standard product, and add something “good” on at the end. And since the sourcing and purchasing of each unique material doesn’t always provide significant financial support to the particular cause that inspired our glasses, we decided to donate $10 from every sale to an education charity tied to the specific cause. Because we need to support the future visionaries of the world… if only so we have a future so bright, you’ll have to wear shades.