ABOVE PHOTO: Rodney and Erika McLeod strike a pose on the red carpet at the The Change Our Future Art & Sole: Sneaker Ball Toy Drive.
By Kharisma McIlwaine
Philadelphia Eagles Safety Rodney McLeod, his wife Erika and their Change Our Future Foundation hosted the “Art & Sole: Sneaker Ball Toy Drive” Monday night.
The inaugural fundraiser held at the gorgeous Arts Ballroom, 1324 Locust Street, called on attendees to bring either a pair of sneakers or a toy to donate because the event was “a night of fun where fashion and sneaker culture meet philanthropy.”
The room was filled with the “who’s who” of Philadelphia who paired their finest duds with their flyest sneakers and came ready to party for a great cause. The fundraiser was hosted by Quincy “Q” Harris and featured music from Philly’s own DJ Aktive. The night also featured a live and silent auction, while attendees enjoyed a full view of the Sneaker Museum — a dream for the sneakerheads in the room.
During the event, Harris took a moment to acknowledge the importance of the mission of Change Our Future, as well as the honorary co-chairs for the 2021 Sneaker Ball, which included: Nick Bayer, CEO and founder of Saxby’s; Alex Holley of Fox-29’s Good Day Philadelphia; Kim Crawford, the Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion external partnerships lead at Pfizer, and Dr. Keith Leaphart, founder and CEO of Replica Creative. The Sneaker Ball officially kicked off Change Our Future’s “12 Days of Christmas” celebration in a huge way.
Since joining the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016, Rodney McLeod has made it a point to support a multitude of efforts that encourage giving back to the youth. He shared why it was important to host the Sneaker Ball.
“It’s huge for us to get in front of our Philadelphia community. This was the first time Change Our Future has had our fundraiser event,” he said. “We wanted people to obviously see things that we’ve done in the past and what we are going to continue to do for our kids. That’s what it’s all about, being able to provide opportunities and resources to open gateways that will lead to success. Erika and I, both being African American, understand the disparities that exist within our communities. We want to be able to fill that void and provide that advantage to those kids and provide equality. A great way to bring everyone together is through sneakers.”
“We figured that after the pandemic and a long time of people being inside, sneakers were a great way to bring everyone together,” Erika McLeod added. “Everyone has a favorite pair of sneakers, and we thought it would be fun to see a lot of people in all different kinds of sneakers that match their personality. Then also the toys are part of our “12 Days of Christmas.” We’re spreading joy for 12 days before Christmas leading up to the holiday. What better way to do that than to gift a pair of sneakers, because everyone deserves a fun pair. With everyone’s swag in the room, I’m sure that they’re getting gifted something a little more special than what they might have in their closet.
The Sneaker Ball raised $203,000, collected over 200 new pairs of sneakers and close to 200 toys. Those interested in donating new sneakers and toys and finding out more ways to support the McLeods, visit: www.changeourfuture.org.