Cranston, RI | 15
2013 Award Recipient
When five-year-old Nick Lowinger visited a homeless shelter, he was surprised to find that many children did not have properly fitting shoes, if they had shoes at all. This experience stayed with Nick, and at age 12, as part of his community service project for his bar mitzvah, Nick created the Gotta Have Sole Foundation to provide new footwear to children in homeless shelters. Since launching Gotta Have Sole, Nick has gathered more than 1,000 volunteers to help him donate new shoes to more than 9,000 children living in homeless shelters in 15 states across the country. Gotta Have Sole has partnered with footwear manufacturers, coordinated shoe drives, and organized fundraisers to provide homeless youth with comfortable shoes to call their own. In this way, Nick has helped kids develop the self-confidence to attend school more regularly and participate in extracurricular activities alongside their peers. Nick has expanded the reach of his nonprofit to spread to additional states in the U.S. and has launched SOLEdiers, an initiative that provides veterans with new shoes; and Serving Love, a project that equips disadvantaged youth with the active footwear they need to participate in sports.