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Seeking Funding Levels from $50,000 – $1,000,000, the Footwear Design Academy Has Laid Plans for FREE High School Program, FREE Global Online Curriculum and FREE Degree Program

Portland, Ore. — PENSOLE Footwear Design Academy today announced it has launched a multi-tiered Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise $50,000 to $1 million for new FREE programs and facility expansion initiatives.

“2017 has already proven to be PENSOLE’s busiest programming year since its inception,” Edwards said. “In our mission to offer master-class design curriculum with no socioeconomic barriers, while providing the footwear industry with a farm system for new design talent, we believe an aggressive crowdfunding initiative will fast-track the process, target a younger audience, and enable us to reach a larger global audience than we have so far.”

PENSOLE’s Kickstarter campaign, “SUPPORT FREE EDUCATION,” seeks to raise a minimum of $50,000, which will be used to produce a limited-edition shoe design by PENSOLE alum Maxwell Lund, handcrafted in Portugal by Portugal Footwear. The first 2017 backers that pledge $217 to this reward will receive a pair of numbered, premium leather, hand-burnished luxury sneakers in the tier of which they were ordered.

If the campaign raises $50,000, it would also establish PENSOLE SneakerHead of State, a FREE nationwide program that will provide high school students awareness of and access to the footwear industry in the form of a design focused competition. “The future of footwear must be sourced in high school—and even middle school,” Edwards said. “We want to provide opportunities to discover and develop future talent at the same age they become consumers.”

Subsequent tiers of crowdsourcing would establish additional initiatives, including an FREE afterschool shoemaking program (PENSOLE Kicks Starter); a FREE international college program called PENSOLE PSSPRT, which will allow students around the world to engage in an online footwear design course instructed by global footwear design leaders; a self-perpetuating scholarship foundation to pay tuition, travel, housing, and supplies for future students to attend any PENSOLE program for FREE; and if the ultimate goal of more than $1,000,000 is funded, PENSOLE will be able to upgrade its Innovation Studio, where students and other aspiring designers can learn the art of patternmaking, sewing, sculpting, 3D modeling, and build prototype samples by hand.


PENSOLE’s “learn by doing” curriculum teaches students the entire footwear design process: inspiration, concept-development, design process, problem solving, materials, business, networking, marketing, and branding. PENSOLE features the most sought after faculty in footwear, comprised of both young professional designers and established footwear design leaders from the top footwear brands, with more than 100 years combined experience to help you with your professional development.

D’Wayne Edwards, a celebrated member of the global footwear community for the last 28 years, founded PENSOLE to give talented young design students—regardless of socioeconomic background—an opportunity to learn from the industry’s best, without financial barriers, and to provide the industry with a farm system for the next generation of footwear designers.

Since the first PENSOLE class in 2010, more than ­­­200 Academy graduates have been placed professionally, full-time or as interns, for footwear companies worldwide, including Columbia Sportswear, Timberland, Converse, AND1, New Balance, Wolverine, Cole Haan, Under Armour, Keen, Ariat, Stride Rite, adidas, JORDAN, Kenneth Cole, Reebok and Nike.


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