Finish Line and Shoah Foundation: What if they Partnered Up?

Here's one for you – what if Finish Line and Shoah Foundation came together in a partnership? I'll be the first to admit that it sounds a little far-fetched. After all, Finish Line is a chain store that sells athletic shoes and apparel through its 650 plus store outlets, while Shoah Foundation is an institution that dedicates itself to the storage of testimonies by survivors and witnesses to the Jewish holocaust. Granted, Finish Line has a charitable arm in the form of Finish Line Youth Foundation. But, how would these two organizations find a unifying purpose that would possibly result in a solid partnership? I'm about to tell you how.

Why Finish Line And Shoah Foundation Should Partner

First, I feel that I should come clean about my interest in this nuance matter. There is a simple reason why, of all corporations in the world, I thought of Finish Line as a fitting partner for Shoah Foundation: I work there.

Finish Line focuses mostly on selling brand name athletic shoes for sports such as running, basketball, training, and so forth from brands like Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Jordan and others. The company also stocks sporting apparel such as sweatshirts, pants, tanks, jackets, and accessories like backpacks, sunglasses, watches, and the like. The company also offers its customers other perks such as coupons Finish Line and promo codes.

As for the Shoah Foundation, I felt a personal obligation to help sustain its noble cause after visiting Auschwitz concentration camps set up in Poland during Nazi Germany. One in six Jews who lost their lives to the holocaust died at Auschwitz camps—that means that at least 1 million Jews perished at Auschwitz. 

So, it was hardly a stretch for me to appreciate the work Shoah does, especially because I also have a Jewish ancestry. I feel for the holocaust survivors. These men, women, and children, Jewish as well as other Nazi 'undesirables', had to witness their families and friends die in gas chambers, starve to death, face executions, get exploited in medical experiments, and work themselves to death under military duress. 

About The Shoah Foundation

The Shoah Foundation was established in 1994 by Steven Spielberg based on the inspiration he got from directing the award winning film, Schindler's List. At the time, the foundation was called Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation. The foundation dedicates itself to making and storing audio-visual interviews of survivors of the Holocaust and other genocides from around the world in order to educate the public.

Shoah is the Jewish word for catastrophe, and the designated term for the Holocaust within the Jewish community, which lost 6 million of the 11 million people massacred during World War II.

Around 1,600 testimonies are accessible by any member of the public after a free registration to the Visual History Archive Online. The testimony consists of experiences by Jewish survivors, rescuers, Roma survivors, political prisoners, Jehovah Witness survivors, homosexual survivors, forced laborers, and many others.

Over a decade after its establishment (in 2006), Shoah entered into a partnership with University of Southern California (USC) and was renamed to USC Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education.

Why FLYF Might Be Able To Contribute To Shoah's Cause

From what I know, Finish Line's foundation is usually ready to pitch in when it comes to important humanitarian causes, whether or not they are exclusive to youth advancement. This is why I believe it would be within its mandate to assist Shoah in promoting its supreme goal of educating the world on the evils of dangerous political ideologies, especially those that end in war and systematic killing of particular communities.

Finish Line has a consistent involvement in key charitable causes through Finish Line Youth Foundation (FLYF), founded in 1998. The philanthropic foundation supports any cause that can offer tangible results. The foundation gives money, shoes, food, volunteers and other kinds of assistance to important causes.

In the recent past, Finish Line has mobilized its customers, employees, charitable partners, and Finish Line Youth Foundation to support notable charitable causes. In March of 2015, the company made a donation of 300,000 meals to the hungry in Indiana and elsewhere in the world. The company's charity foundation also fed Haiti victims after a devastating earthquake. In 2014, the FLYF supported Special Olympics.

FLYF has also made notable monetary donations to philanthropic causes. For instance, in early 2015, FLYF gave away $106,443 in form of grants to 19 non-profit organizations in the U.S. trying to support healthy lifestyles, special needs, and youth development. The foundation also helped special needs children from Bradenton, Florida, build a playground through a $25,000 donation.

Shoah's Current Needs

Shoah operates many programs which are in constant need of funding. For instance, the organization works with liaisons to ensure its agenda is promoted around the globe, and this program requires funding. The foundation also funds scholars who engage in research that touches on the history of Holocaust from a literary, philosophical, political, sociological, religious, and other standpoints.

Shoah is also keen to ensure that its resources have the desired educational impact on society's view on intolerance, hatred, and violence to better articulate its goal, and this also requires funding. Additionally, since the program is used by educators all around the world, the foundation has found itself having to develop relevant and more effective materials so that educators can find it easier to suit it to the curriculum.

The foundation also operates “Echoes and Reflections Evaluation” program, which monitors how teachers and students change their behaviors and attitudes towards intolerance and diversity based on its educational resources. Shoah also needs funding to support its existing resources, publish its official globally-available PastForward Newsletter, provide online resource access to public and scholars, and many other programs geared towards educating the world on the setbacks of any form of intolerance.

My Final Appeal

Finish Line Youth Foundation certainly has a particular bent towards aiding youth projects, but it has also been more than willing to fund other charity projects. It is my belief that what Shoah does has a very big role in the lives of today's youth, which should make it of interest to FLYF. The immediate future of today's young people depends on their understanding of historical mistakes such as those made during the Holocaust. Besides, what wold promote youth spirit and development better than building a culture of tolerance and diversity in all its shapes and forms? At its core, I believe that this is what Shoah is all about - trying to build a better world for today's youth through its many programs. It is my sincere hope that one day, FLYF will be able to support one of the many critical Shoah Foundation programs, because, in so doing, Finish Line will help lay the right foundation for all future generations.