We like to take notice of brands that make an effort to have a positive impact on the world around them, and one brand that goes above and beyond most others is Newton. Among their many social and environmental initiatives, the Boulder based running shoe company sponsors the non-profit Trickle-Up, which is an organization that seeks to enable women living in extreme poverty (living off of less than $1.90 per day) to take greater control of their lives both at home and in their community. Supporting this initiative is unique in the world of running companies, as it goes well beyond providing access to running shoes and athletic aid. Through two, 18-month collaborations with Trickle-Up, Newton hopes to facilitate the empowerment of the women living in two Guatemalan communities: Santa Cruz el Nacimiento and Jolomche.
Starting in March 2015, Newton worked with Trickle-Up to help create the Flor de Santa Cruz savings group within the community of Santa Cruz el Nacimiento, the ultimate goal being that the individuals in the group would be able to generate higher incomes for themselves and their families long after the program ended. After a series of trainings and educational presentations, the program eventually brought together 14 women who developed and purchased shares in Flor de Santa Cruz, provided loans to group members for their businesses, and created a social fund to provide emergency medical care to group members or their family members. Then, in August of 2015, each of the participants’ businesses received $75 in seed funding. From there, their incomes began to increase and the group’s savings began accumulating at a higher rate. The continuation of the group has not been seamless though, and before the end of the first year membership had decreased to 11 women. However, the women that remained with the group saved an average of $35 in the first year, and 8 of the women opted to continue Flor de Santa Cruz after the Trickle-Up program ended.
In January of 2017, Trickle-Up and Newton started a similar program in the community of Jolomche, and initial interest in the program far exceeded that of Flor de Santa Cruz. In Jolomche, 24 women worked together to create and invest in the Rio Jolomche Savings Group. By August they had already saved over $800. Many have started their own businesses or increased the size of pre-existing ones, and although a large number of the group members are looking forward to withdrawing their accumulated savings at the end of one year, a good number are discussing the continuation of the group as well.
In communities where individuals live off of less than $1.90 per day, the achievements of both savings groups are quite impressive. We hope that both can continue to thrive, and we wish Newton and Trickle-Up the best with their work. To learn more about the work of Newton and Trickle-Up in the communities of Santa Cruz el Nacimiento and Jolomche, see their respective pages here and here.
As a result of efforts like this, Newton was the first running shoe company to receive B Corp certification. Companies with that honor are assessed by the non-profit group B-Lab and must meet a rigorous set of standards for social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. It is a distinguishing honor to receive, and we applaud Newton for having done so. To top it off, they also make great running shoes!
Will has been running competitively since high school, and is currently running with the HOKA Aggies, a post-collegiate club here on the central coast of California. With a preference for the humorous and the verbose, he enjoys playing the wordsmith almost as much as his daily runs.