It’s increasingly important to actively find ways to make a positive, healthy impact on our world. Hundreds of businesses and people dedicate time, effort, and money to giving back and making the world a better place. Their stories inspire us to reach out and join this important work. Of the many stories of organizations giving back, none is quite like the three brothers from Idaho who founded Proof Eyewear.
How Giving Back Began
Tanner, Brooks, and Taylor Dame grew up on a family mill and describe themselves as having sawdust in their veins. Brooks came up with the idea of making wood consumer products and began putting it into motion. The brothers wanted to create a product that would help people and the Earth. So, they set their sights on eyewear.
Millions of people wear sunglasses every day — it’s a massive industry. Unfortunately, at some point, all of these sunglasses end up sitting in a landfill. So, the brothers decided to do something about that. Using their woodworking skills, they began crafting the world’s most eco-friendly sunglasses, and Proof Eyewear was born.
“When we started Proof, we really focused on two things: sustainability and giving back,” Brooks explains in a video. When it comes to sustainable materials, these brothers know exactly what to use. Cotton-based acetate, recycled aluminum, sustainably sourced wood, and repurposed skateboard decks are all used in the construction of their sunglasses. And their shades are much better for the environment than many of their competitors’. As Brooks says, their eyewear “is not only good for Mother Nature, but it also looks good.”
Tanner, Brooks, and Taylor wanted to achieve much more than nice specs and sustainable production methods. Their ultimate goal was to use their business to help the Earth and impoverished people around the world by giving back. They incorporated a bird into the Proof Eyewear logo to demonstrate their belief that “everyone has wings to fly; some just need a little help.” They wanted to be the wind beneath the wings of those who need that little bit of extra help.
Giving Back Even More
In the spirit of giving back, Brooks says, “We donate a large portion of our sales to an eye clinic in India that provides sight-giving cataract surgery for those in need.” Since starting the company in 2010, the brothers have also hosted several Do Good projects both locally and globally. The proof team has worked tirelessly to provide tsunami relief in Japan and help reforestation in Haiti. In Africa, they’ve aided in child soldier rehabilitation and fought poverty in Peru. They’ve focused on education, visual and oral health, economic development, and environmental conservation, to name just a few areas. The ultimate goal is to give people the tools they need to fight back against poverty and live better lives.
Through their Peru Project in 2019, 592 people received eye care and treatment. They distributed 327 optical readers, and 599 people received dental care, ranging from fluoride treatments to extractions. They also gave out 588 oral care products and lessons for people on how to properly clean their teeth. To give back to the environment as well, the team donated and planted 500 trees. Proof also funded three wells for clean water, helped build four brick stoves, and constructed a greenhouse. The company prides itself on giving back in a multitude of ways to those in need, and without a doubt, they’re living up to that desire.
After one decade of operation, Proof Eyewear now reaches thousands of people globally. The brothers’ determination, initiative, and hard work have resulted in overwhelming success.
How You Can Give Back Too
As entrepreneurs, we create opportunities for ourselves that many others around the world will never have the privilege to create in their own lives. As the Dame brothers put it so well, some people just need a little extra help making their way in life. If our hard work gives us the means to extend a helping hand to others in some way, then we have an obligation to do so. There are people in our very own community who need our help.
Take some time to consider how you can start giving back. Chances are there’s something you or your business can do to make a big difference in someone else’s life, even if it’s just through the smallest of means.