This Shirt Project

roots_thisshirtBuy a T-Shirt. Build a school.

Dhani Oks, co-founder of the Academy of Lions, heard Michael “Pinball” Clemons speaking on the Bob McCown Show in December 2010 about his foundation’s 131 School Project. Inspired by the fact that it only takes $8,500 to build a school in Africa, Dhani enlisted the kids at the Academy of Lions to design a t-shirt that stated, “THIS SHIRT BUILT A SCHOOL IN AFRICA.” Dhani calculated that 500 shirts could build a school in Kenya or Sierra Leone. The goal was to sell enough shirts in one day to build a school.

On Christmas Day 2010, 200 t-shirts were sold with no marketing or funds for promotion. Dhani simply used social media tools to spread the word. The t-shirts continued to be sold in the Academy of Lions General Store.

In November of 2011, Dhani was giving a keynote address at Roots Headquarters. The Academy of Lions was partnering with Roots for the Roots Village Project. Dhani presented the idea of THIS SHIRT BUILT A SCHOOL IN AFRICA as an example of small, simple & powerful ideas. Roots co-founders, Don Green and Michael Budman were in attendance and were struck by the concept. A deal was made minutes after the presentation, where Roots agreed to produce and sell THIS SHIRT in stores and online worldwide, donating 100% of the profits to the MPCF to build schools in Africa.

To kick off this partnership, The Academy of Lions, Roots and the foundation worked together to strive to do something big and “Build a School in a Day”. The goal was to sell 500 shirts on December 8, 2011. That day, well over 500 shirts were sold and the goal was accomplished. The momentum has been maintained and to date enough shirts to build 8 schools through this initiative. Roots has committed to retail the shirts for one year and is still carrying the shirt as of July, 2014.

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