NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 23, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After six years of leading one of the fastest growing charities in the U.S., Soles4Souls Founder Wayne Elsey has decided to step down from his role as chief executive officer and resign from the board of directors of the international shoe charity. Elsey will work with the Soles4Souls board and management team over the coming months to ensure a smooth transition for the organization, and plans to launch an interactive consultancy group later in 2012.
Kevin Goughary, Soles4Souls chief operating officer and chief financial officer, will serve as interim CEO while the Center for Non-Profit Management assists Soles4Souls with a national search for a new chief executive.
The Soles4Souls board of directors issued a statement, saying, "Wayne has accomplished something that many people aspire to, but only a very rare few achieve. He's made the world a better place. His efforts have improved the lives of millions of people, most of whom were hurting and desperate and lacking basic essentials like shoes on their feet. For hundreds of thousands more fortunate individuals, he's galvanized us to a new level of charity and caring for others.We are grateful for Wayne's complete dedication to founding and growing this fantastic organization. He has strategically positioned our organization to attract the best possible leader for our future and to continue our mission to change the world, one pair at a time."
As a successful shoe industry executive in 2004, Elsey was moved by the televised image of a single shoe washing up on a Southeast Asia shore after the tsunami. Wanting to make a difference in the lives that were so suddenly and tragically impacted by the disaster, he decided to contact a few friends as well as footwear industry leaders. Those calls led to the donation of a quarter of a million shoes to victims in the devastated countries. In 2005 when Hurricane Katrina hit, Elsey placed another round of calls and oversaw the donation and delivery of hundreds of thousands of shoes to communities along the Gulf Coast. One year later, Soles4Souls was formally incorporated.
Since that time, Soles4Souls has responded with crisis relief aid to more than 40 natural disasters worldwide. The charity also assists individuals in developing nations and in the U.S. who cannot afford shoes, and to date, has distributed more than 17 million pairs of shoes across 127 countries. With 50 employees and operations in both Tennessee and Alabama, Soles4Souls has grown to include two affiliated charitable enterprises, Clothes4Souls and Hope4Souls, which provide relief and support through clothing and other necessities.
In addition to "changing the world one pair at a time," Elsey has inspired a new generation of social entrepreneurs with his aggressive, results-oriented approach to non-profit management. His "Get Off the Couch" blog delivers insightful advice, and sometimes provocative challenges, to philanthropic leaders and fundraisers. Elsey's 2010 book, Almost Isn't Good Enough, has become a guidepost for charity executives and directors who want to inject the innovation and drive found in corporate board rooms into their own organizations.
"I am immeasurably proud of the team at Soles4Souls and of the world-wide impact our donors have had over the last six years," said Elsey. "Soles4Souls is now a mature, operationally strong organization with a talented leadership team and a very bright future. My heart and soul will always be in the Soles4Souls mission, but I'm ready to direct my professional efforts in a new direction. I do so with profound gratitude to the organization's board, and with humble appreciation for the hundreds of thousands of individuals who have given their time, talent and treasure to make the world a better place."
About Soles4Souls®, Clothes4Souls®, and Hope4Souls®
Soles4Souls collects new shoes to give relief to the victims of abject suffering and collects used shoes to support micro-enterprise efforts to eradicate poverty. Soles4Souls' other two divisions, Clothes4Souls and Hope4Souls, provide the same relief and support through clothing and other necessities. Donating parties are eligible for tax advantages. Visit www.giveshoes.org, www.clothes4souls.org, or www.hope4souls.org for more information.