Kicks 4 The City, a philanthropic program that gives shoes and financial donations to the less fortunate, hosted its second annual Agora Sneaker Ball this past Saturday at Venue One in Chicago’s West Loop. The Agora in Greece was a popular place for assembly, and the black-tie and sneaker event surely lived up to its name. A who’s who crowd of trendy Chicagoans dressed to the nines in suits and an array of flashy sneakers that ranged from Air Jordan Retro 1’s and Nike Air Maxes to Ace Embroidered Gucci low tops, mingled and snapped photos in front of the green carpet.
“Chicago P. D.” actor LaRoyce Hawkins was master of ceremonies, summoning the crowd to hone in on the first of 10 essential house rules, which was to create vibes. With a live art painting by artist P. Scott, and musical libations administered by DJ Heavy, the cool crowd loosened their bow-ties, unbuttoned their tuxes, and filled the room with joy.
While everyone mingled and had a great time, Kicks 4 The City founder Justin Johnson reminded the crowd that they were partying for a purpose. The event’s goal was to raise $30,000 to help those in need through a combination of raffles that included original works of art, vacations, a Hebru Brantley print, Christian Louboutin shoes, and countless other prizes. Johnson reported that of the 564,708 people experiencing homelessness in America, 48 percent of them don’t have access to a comfortable pair of shoes. Through Kicks 4 The City, Johnson turned his love for sneakers into an opportunity to bless others and has since donated 50,000 pairs of shoes to the less fortunate across nine cities since 2012. Major brands like Nike and Athlete’s Foot recognized the importance of the movement and joined as key sponsors. To top this year’s efforts off, Johnson announced that his charitable work will expand to West Africa, where he will partner with Ghanaian artist Solomon Adufah to extend his outreach to the motherland.
For those of you who missed the occasion, check out images from the Agora Sneaker Ball below. (Photos credit: Michael Patton)