On any given night, there are approximately 564,708 people experiencing homelessness in America. Bred out of his desire to help those less fortunate,these numbers sparked a fire in Justin Johnson to create his philanthropic organization, Kicks 4 the City.
On June 22, 2019, theChicago- based grass roots organization hosted its 4th Annual AGORA Sneakerball. The charitable gala, annually hosted by “Chicago P.D.’s” La Royce Hawkins, brought more than 1,400 of the city’s best and brightest in a star-studded night of sneakers and black excellence.
“When I sat down once upon a time with Justin Johnson he told me that he wanted to change the face of charity,” says Hawkins. ”I knew that it would behoove us all to take heed to the seeds that man wanted to plant.”
A Cause for Celebration
Since its founding in 2012, the seeds planted by Kicks4TheCity enabled them to distribute over 86,000 pairs of shoes to those in need. In the organization’s seven years, they’ve amassed more than 530 ambassadors and volunteers, expanded their presence to over 9 cities across the US and have been able to globalize their efforts by taking resources to Africa, in the Eastern region of Ghana.
“The issue was simple: providing shoes for people in need,” says Johnson. “As we grew, our focus grew from just homeless shelters. We started to get a little more innovative and with time we acquired more resources. In doing that, we realized not only is there an issue with folks not having shoes, but that shoe culture is relatable to folks like us. That’s what makes it easy for us to do this.”
A Year of Growth and Progress
In what felt like the MET Gala , some of the city’s most prominent thought leaders, influencers, athletes and celebrities held nothing back in their quest to be crowned Most Fashionable at the ball. The dress code? None other than luxury label designs from the likes of Versace and Off White paired with some of the freshest, most rare and hard to find kicks.
Spotted dressed to the nines were a host of notable pro athletes, celebrities and influencers including The Voice’s Sandy Redd, Chicago cast of VH1’s Black Ink Crew, Sam Shepherd, Dave Jeff, Blackshire, Project sWISH Founder McKinley Nelson, Sir & Madam owners Autumn and Brian, DJ Jay Illa, and surprise performer Joey Purp.
Exceeding last year’s gala attendance by almost 1,000, this year’s guest list invitees almost filled the 400,000-square-foot Museum of Science and.
Learn more about Justin Johnson, Kicks 4 the City and how you can get involved at www.kicks4thecity.com.