Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Payless ShoeSource Launches Inspiring Possibilities Scholarship Program

TOPEKA, Kan., — In celebration of Black History Month, Payless ShoeSource has launched the Payless Inspiring Possibilities Scholarship program and will join together with its shoppers to raise money to support the future of African American and other minority youth.

Through the new program, Payless is selling a limited-edition I Believe necklace for $4 in more than 800 stores nationwide and Payless.com, while supplies last, and will donate 100 percent of the net profits of necklace sales, with a minimum donation of $35,000, to a newly developed scholarship program established with the National Urban League (NUL). This is the first-ever retail partnership for the NUL. Payless said it expects the NUL to distribute a minimum of a dozen $2,500 scholarships to African American and other minority youth through its signature program, Project Ready.

The limited-edition necklaces, available now in stores and on payless.com, feature a unique silver-toned loop-link "Rolo" chain and three charms including a silver-toned square inscribed with the inspiring message "Believe" on one side and "Dream" on the other, offset by a large shell-like medallion and accented by a smaller red disc.

"The National Urban League is pleased to partner with Payless ShoeSource on this scholarship program," said Marc H. Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League. "It is essential that we invest in young people in urban communities and help them continue their educational pursuits. This cause-related campaign marks the first partnership of its kind in the National Urban League's 100-year history. We are happy that Payless and its customers are joining us and supporting this unique initiative."

Payless ShoeSource, Inc., a unit of Collective Brands, Inc., is the largest specialty family footwear retailer in the Western Hemisphere and is dedicated to democratizing fashion and design in footwear and accessories and inspiring fun, fashion possibilities for the family at a great value. As of the end of third quarter 2008, the company operated more than 4,500 stores.

Established in 1910, The Urban League is the nation's oldest and largest community-based movement devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream. Today, the National Urban League, headquartered in New York City, spearheads the non-partisan efforts of its local affiliates. There are over 100 local affiliates of the National Urban League located in 35 states and the District of Columbia providing direct services to more than 2 million people nationwide through programs, advocacy and research.

Payless' program could make it possible for many minority students to attend college and make their dreams come true. The necklace is an affordable way for any customer to get involved and support the program.

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