Warby Parker’s New Eyeglasses Support Pencils of Promise

Warby Parker, pencils of profit, eyeglasses, one-for-one, one-for-one model, Leon Kaye, social enterprise, education, Laos, Guatemala, Nicaragua
Warby Parker’s 1-for-1 model will now benefit Pencils of Promise

The one-for-one social enterprise model has had its successes and shortcomings, but one organization that has enjoyed continuous success is Warby Parker. The eyeglass company’s buy a pair, give a pair mission has at a minimum benefitted 85,000 to people in need around the world, and that figure does not include the training and mentorship that Warby Parker has offered to entrepreneurs to help them set up their own businesses.

Warby Parker branched out and released a new eyeglass fashion line that boosts an up-and-coming nonprofit focused on the construction of schools and offers educational opportunities in three countries. Starting today, Warby Parker will sell limited edition eyeglass frames that will raise funds for Pencils of Promise.

Since its founding in 2008, Pencils of Promise (POP) has broken ground on 50 schools in Laos, Nicaragua and Guatemala. According to POP’s most recent annual report, the nonprofit’s involvement in building schools, libraries, dormitories, community learning centers and bathrooms has, in turn, served over 4,000 students. Those projects together have had an impact on at least 38,000 lives, and the 275,000 volunteer hours tallied so far have led to 1.3 million hours of instructional time. Contributions also topped $1 million for the first time last year. By the end of 2012, the number of schools will reach 100.

Now the purchase of eyeglasses will help POP reach that goal. Warby Parker will contribute to POP’s efforts by contributing $30 for every $95 pair of frames purchased. The frames, which Warby Parker’s designers crafted to pay homage to the traditional yellow pencil, will also follow the company’s policy: for every pair a customer purchases, the company will send a pair to a person in need. With only 31 more schools left in order for POP to hit that metric, the honey and charcoal colored frames could be the lift needed in order to expand education programs in regions where they are desperately needed. Perhaps this model should be called “buy one, give two,” as this Warby Parker-Pencils of Profit partnership meets a couple of very important needs.

Leon Kaye, based in Fresno, California, is a sustainability consultant and the editor of GreenGoPost.com. He also contributes to Guardian Sustainable BusinessInhabitat and Earth911. You can follow Leon on Twitter.

Image courtesy Warby Parker.

Leon Kaye has written for Triple Pundit since 2010 . He is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in Fresno, California, he is a business writer and strategic communications specialist. His work is has also appeared on The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost).