The Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk returned to the beach and broke new records, raising more than $2.6 million for children with special needs and education. With approximately 17,000 participants, the event was supported by Presenting Sponsor Kinecta Federal Credit Union as well as over 100 other generous businesses and partners, and featured appearances by Skechers endorsees Sugar Ray Leonard, Brooke Burke, and Meb Keflezighi, plus live performances by Young Selena singer Madison Taylor Baez, Dance Moms’ GiaNia Paolantonio and He’s All That actor Gabe DeGuzman.
“The Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk is about raising much needed funds for children with special needs and education, but today was an event like no other—hearing about the impact of the joy on the faces of so many friends and family again, it moved me and truly brought home why we have this annual event,” states Michael Greenberg, president of Skechers and co-founder of the Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk. “Over the past year, our kids have become more innovative, creative and determined. I really feel like they’ve taken a page from our playbook on how to thrive through anything, the same way we’ve vowed to improve their lives through the Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk.” Greenberg adds, “Huge thanks to Kinecta, all of our generous sponsors, our celebrities and thousands of participants. Their sponsorship, contribution and enthusiasm illustrate both a giving spirit and how much they believe, like I do, that our future rests in the hands of these bright kids—we just need to provide the resources so they can be all they can.”
“It was such an honor to take part in this incredible Walk—I connected with it very personally,” says four-time Olympian and Boston and New York City Marathon Champion Meb Keflezighi. “When I first came to America as a child, it was at school where I became a competitive runner—and those early days of training and racing have inspired every part of my life and have given me opportunities beyond my greatest dreams. By funding athletics, activities, clubs, classes, teachers and facilities for all of these children at the Friendship Foundation and schools, we’re giving this entire generation a chance to see how big their lives can really be.”
“The Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk’s funds have helped transform the Friendship Foundation from a dedicated community club to a world-class organization that is redefining possibilities for children with special needs,” states Yossi Mintz, executive director of Friendship Foundation. “We’re helping in so many ways—from zoom pals and friendship clubs at over 40 schools which buddies up students with special needs to mainstream them with children on campus, to popular in-person clubs, enrichment classes, sporting events and our upcoming Friendship Foundation Campus which will break ground early next year with plans to open in 2023. All combined, we’re on the cusp of a great new chapter for children and young adults with special needs to get an education and job training so that they can be a part of the workforce of our great country. We’re grateful for how much the Walk has inspired other children to welcome these wonderful kids into their lives.”
Historically California’s largest event for children with special needs and education, the 3.5-mile Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk has raised more than $17 million to date for public schools, scholarships and the Friendship Foundation—with approximately 17,000 registrants this year. Donations from the Skechers Pier to Pier Friendship Walk support The Friendship Foundation and education foundations for public schools. The Friendship Foundation offers children with special needs one-on-one peer visits and social recreational activities, from online gatherings to summer camps, sporting event outings and classes such as music, yoga, cooking, art and drama. The event also helps enhance schools, reduce class sizes, update labs, libraries and facilities as well as protect teachers’ jobs. This year, the Skechers Foundation’s national scholarship program will donate a portion of the proceeds to students with financial need and proven excellence in academics, athletics and leadership, and has awarded $620,000 to date.
In addition to Kinecta Federal Credit Union, sponsors include CET Foundation, Nickelodeon, Steel Sports, Steel Partners, McCarthy Building Companies, Vertra, Dakine, Dreamworks Animation, MBS Group, Continental Development, United Legwear & Apparel, Chevron, Moose Toys, Petco Love, Ross Stores, simplehuman and many more companies who have helped us support, educate and inspire a generation of children.