Headshot Photo of Nick Lowinger
2013 Award Recipient


Project Gotta Have Sole

Location Cranston, RI

Issue Area Poverty

When five-year-old Nick 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 under-resourced youth with the active footwear they need to participate in sports.

The community coming together to assist our neighbors is vital.

Nick Lowinger
“It is never too late, too early, or too often TO GIVE BACK AND MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE”
Helen Diller