The Daily Grind Video

Compassionate capitalism seems to be the theme around these parts these days. Yesterday, we reported on the work being done by TOMS Shoes where for each pair of shoes sold, one is given to a child in need. Today, we take a look at Van’s, another iconic shoe company interested in spreading wealth and opportunity to those in need.

Yesterday Van’s announced the top five finalists in their Custom Culture Competition and opened the voting polls to the rest of us. The national contest, in its second year, allows students to design their own collection of Vans sneakers for the chance to win $50,000 towards their high school art program. Additionally, the winning school’s designs will be available at retail in 2012.

Starting today, the general public will have the ability to view the shoe designs from 50 semi-finalists at and help move five schools to the final phase. 

The Van’s Custom Culture program strives to provide students the incentive and opportunity to get creative while making a positive change in their school and communities. Last year’s winning school was Rio Rancho High School in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They were able to use their funds to purchase SLR cameras, high-res projectors and other expensive, yet important tools for art students in both the fine and visual arts departments. The grand prize this year is $50K, up from $10K last year. The prize is equivalent to the annual salary of a high school art teacher. 

After the break, check out some of the competition. Don’t forget to vote!

Above: Entry from New Urban High School (Milwaukie, OR).


Caddo Magnet High School (Shreveport, LA)


Bozeman High School (Bozeman, MT)


Stoney Creek High School (Rochester Hills, MI)


SECTA (Las Vegas, NV)