About Us

Because International believes in PRACTICAL COMPASSION.

We want to listen to those living in extreme poverty to hear their thoughts, ideas, and dreams for how to make their daily lives better. And then we help turn those ideas into a reality.

Basically, we try to make things better by making better things.

We love helping kids have better regular, daily lives because its puts them the best possible position to succeed. And that is what this is all about – shoes, bednets, any project we work on – it is all in an effort to put kids in the best possible position to have success in their lives.

Here we go.

Our Story

After college at Northwest Nazarene University in his hometown of Nampa, Idaho – Kenton Lee traveled the world to gain perspective and see firsthand the issues happening in developing countries. One day while working and living at an orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya in Eastern Africa, Kenton saw a little girl in a white dress walking next to him. He was shocked at how small her shoes were. And this led to an idea.

What if we could create a shoe that could adjust and expand? A shoe that could grow?


When Kenton got back to Idaho, he grabbed some friends and they started to tackle the idea of a growing shoe. But they also thought it would be great to work on other projects for other issues, too. Maybe innovation could help create other products, too? 
In April, 2009 Because International officially became a nonprofit organization. The first project: The Shoe That Grows. This project came to fruition in the Fall of 2014. And now is off-and-running (pardon the pun). Check out the website to see the impact and be involved with this amazing innovation.

But our story does not end with The Shoe. We have other issues to tackle. We have more people who need someone to listen to their ideas and dreams. We have more work to do to help put kids in the best possible position to succeed.


Here we go.

Guiding Principles & Values

We have several core beliefs that guide everything we do at Because International:

Don’t Recreate the Wheel. There are already incredible organizations and people doing awesome things. Instead of doing the exact same thing they are doing – we love working together with them through partnerships. We simply want to be a resource to come alongside those already working with kids to help them do their work even better.

Listening. There is great value in going right to the source to find out how to improve the daily lives of the poor. And that’s what we do: we listen to the thoughts, ideas, and dreams of those living in poverty to hear how they believe their lives could be improved.

Practical Compassion. We want to keep things simple by focusing on practical aid for the everyday, regular life stuff that people experience in their normal lives. We believe that positive impacts on daily life will help put kids in the best possible position to succeed.

Don’t Recreate
the Wheel

Listening

Practical
Compassion

We have several core beliefs that guide everything we do at Because International:

Don’t Recreate the Wheel. There are already incredible organizations and people doing awesome things. Instead of doing the exact same thing they are doing – we love working together with them through partnerships. We simply want to be a resource to come alongside those already working with kids to help them do their work even better.

Listening. There is great value in going right to the source to find out how to improve the daily lives of the poor. And that’s what we do: we listen to the thoughts, ideas, and dreams of those living in poverty to hear how they believe their lives could be improved.

Practical Compassion. We want to keep things simple by focusing on practical aid for the everyday, regular life stuff that people experience in their normal lives. We believe that positive impacts on daily life will help put kids in the best possible position to succeed

FAQ’s

Why did you create The Shoe That Grows?

The Shoe That Grows started when Founder and Executive Director Kenton Lee was living and working in Nairobi, Kenya in 2007. One day while walking to church, he noticed a little girl in a white dress next to him who had shoes that were way too small for her feet. That led to questions about why. And finally an idea: “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a shoe that could adjust and expand – so that kids always had a pair of shoes that fit?” And just like that The Shoe That Grows was born. These shoes are intended and designed for children living in extreme poverty that otherwise would not have access to shoes or only access to shoes in poor condition that will quickly be outgrown.

How do you distribute shoes to kids in need?

We currently get shoes to kids in need in two ways

1. People can donate to fill bags of shoes that we send to partner organizations who then distribute them to kids that need them most.

2. People living in or travelling to areas in need can purchase shoes to distribute themselves.


So rather than recreate the wheel and create our own distribution channels, we instead partner with those already serving these children and rely on others to deliver shoes to kids that need them most.

What size are the shoes?

We've created two sizes:
Small - generally fits children between the ages of 5 and 9 years of age
Large - generally fits children between the ages of 10 and 15 years of age

How much do the shoes cost?

Shoes can be donated to our partner organizations through the Fill-A-Duffle program for $15 per pair. If you'd like to purchase shoes to take on your journey, see our pricing page at theshoethatgrows.org.

Do the shoes really last 5 years?

Having a shoe that grows five sizes doesn't matter unless the shoe is ultra-durable. As we have distributed shoes over the past few years, we have been continuously gathering feedback, iterating, and making the shoe even better for these kids that so desperately need it.

We have worked with industry experts to create a simple design with the highest quality materials - leather, compressed rubber, and snaps. No mechanical parts of gears to break. Easy to clean. Easy to use.

How can I buy some? And are they easy to take with me?

Yes! We rely on those travelling to areas of poverty and serving children in need to distribute the shoes. Check out how you can purchase some at theshoethatgrows.org.

Also, we've designed the shoe to not only be functional and long-lasting, but to ship and travel easily as well. In fact, 50 small pairs can be disassembled, folded flat, and packed into a standard sized duffle bag (that we provide) that weighs less than 50 pounds. You can take 50 pairs of shoes in a bag on a plane. Incredible.

How can I be involved?

We've relied on others to make the dream a reality and many people have contributed in many different ways. Check out our Get Involved section.

What are different ways to donate?

In addition to buying shoes to distribute yourself, you can donate to fill bags of shoes that we send to partner organizations who then distribute them to kids in need. Donate to fill bags here at theshoethatgrows.org

Finally, you can donate to Because International. One-time or recurring donations are directed toward research and development of future projects and other expenses that go along with producing as many shoes as possible. Donate here!

Are you a for-profit or a non-profit?

Because International was founded in 2009. They are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization headquartered in Nampa, Idaho. They listen to those living in extreme poverty to hear their thoughts, ideas, and dreams for a better life – and then work together to help make those ideas into a reality.

Are you planning any other products?

We are! Although we are busy getting shoes to kids in need, Because International is about innovating and we plan to create additional products that help people living in extreme poverty around the world. We want to continue to help in simple, practical ways. Stay tuned with more information about how you can help!

Staff & Board

Kenton Lee

kenton@becauseinternational.org
208-989-8867

Andrew Kroes

andrew@becauseinternational.org
208-880-8285

Board of Directors

Tobin Rogers
Joe Morgan
Nathan Roskam

Contact Us

info@becauseinternational.org
208-697-4417
216 12th Ave N., Nampa, ID 83687

Media

Logos

Pictures

(Coming Soon)

Press Release

(Coming Soon)

Questions/Comments from Media

If you have any questions or comments our Founder Kenton Lee would love to connect with you. You can contact him directly at kenton@becauseinternational.org.

Contact Us

Email: info@becauseinternational.org     |     Phone: 208-697-4417

If you are interested in having Founder Kenton Lee speak about Because International and The Shoe That Grows – he would love that. Contact him directly at kenton@becauseinternational.org

Interested in volunteering? Let us know! Fill out the form here.

Practical compassion

We believe in PRACTICAL COMPASSION. We try to help kids be in the best possible position to succeed by creating innovations and improvements to tools and resources that they use in daily, regular life. Innovation can be as simple as an idea scratched on a napkin or as complex as computer designs and 3-D printing. Bottomline: Innovation can change lives. And that’s what we try to do.

We try to make things better by making better things.

Innovation

We believe in PRACTICAL COMPASSION. We try to help kids be in the best possible position to succeed by creating innovations and improvements to tools and resources that they use in daily, regular life. Innovation can be as simple as an idea scratched on a napkin or as complex as computer designs and 3-D printing. Bottomline: Innovation can change lives. And that’s what we try to do.

We try to make things better by making better things.

Process of Innovation

We try to run each project through our process of innovation.
Hopefully, as we continue to grow we will have several projects in all different stages of our Process of Innovation.

Listen

It all begins with listening to those who live in extreme poverty everyday to hear their thoughts, ideas, and dreams for how life can be improved.

Identify Idea

There are a lot of ideas out there. We try to use good judgment to find the best one that could provide the most sustainable product.

Expand Idea

Fleshing out the idea to cover it from every angle is important. We do research, ask questions, dream big, and ultimately find the best direction to proceed with the idea.

Prototype

The next step in the process is making a prototype. This is one of the hardest steps but also one of the most important. It is vital to have a minimum viable product to test. This is where the tinkering, engineering, and designing comes into play.

Testing

We try to always test our prototypes in the places where they are going to be used. We test them with the local people in their everyday, regular lives. We love to receive feedback from the people who are testing our prototypes.

Final Product

After feedback from testing – we are ready to manufacture our final product. Yeah!
Continued Improvement: We continue to listen to those using our products in order to make them better and better and better.

Listening

Listening is one of our Guiding Principles. We believe in it so strongly because it is the foundation of all that we do. Our Founder Kenton Lee always says, “I’m just a white guy from Idaho. I don’t know what people need around the world.” We recognize that the best way for us to respond with Practical Compassion to the needs of those living in extreme poverty is to listen to those who are living in extreme poverty.

It sounds simple. We try to keep it that way. As long as we are in existence – we will always begin with listening.

Listening Backpack

Coming in 2016.

Innovation Conversation

Coming in 2016.

Projects

We believe in Practical Compassion. We want to tackle projects that can help people living in extreme poverty have a better daily life. We innovate and improve products to put kids in the best possible position to succeed.

Check out our First Project that is completed and ready-to-go: The Shoe That Grows

And check out our next project that is still in the design stage: The Better Bednet

Plus, we want to keep going and going and going. So get out there and listen and dream big and think of the next idea that can be an incredible product to help kids.

The Shoe That Grows

The Shoe That Grows is a shoe that can adjust and expand 5 sizes and last up to 5 years. It comes in a SMALL (fitting kids ages 5-10) and LARGE (fitting kids ages 10-15). So far The Shoe has been in 20 countries impacting thousands of children helping them have long-lasting shoes to protect their feet.

You can learn more about The Shoe and how to be involved with this product at the official website: TheShoeThatGrows.org

The Better Bednet

Many people around the world need to sleep under bed nets (mosquito nets) to protect them from mosquitos that carry malaria. A traditional bed net attaches to a ceiling and then drapes down over the bed. But what does a child do when they do not sleep under a ceiling? Or they don’t sleep on a bed? The traditional bed net just doesn’t quite make sense for their lives.

We want to create a bednet that can work for kids no matter where they sleep – on the streets, outside, on the couch, on the floor, anywhere. A bednet that can stand on its own. The Better Bednet.

We have listened to this need from those living in poverty. We have identified the idea and expanded it in a great direction. Now we are working on designing a prototype.

If you want to be involved with this project – just let us know!

Get INvolved

We believe in working together with everyone in our mission of Practical Compassion. We love partnerships. We love teamwork. We love involving people in our work: kids, teens, college students, young adults, old adults, middle adults… everyone!

There are several ways to get involved. You can volunteer to help us with a lot of different activities. You can suggest some ways that we can improve our operations, products, or future projects. You can donate to help us be in the best position possible to pursue our mission of Practical Compassion.

And if you have any questions or comments about how to get involved – then just fill out this form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Volunteer

We can all be a part of the mission of Practical Compassion. It really means a lot to us that you would consider giving your time and energy to work alongside of us as we try to help kids around the world.

We love it when people living close to us in Idaho volunteer to help us with The Shoe That Grows and other things that we are doing here. If you want to personally volunteer – let us know. If you have a group (school, church, business) that wants to volunteer together – let us know. We love getting to work side-by-side with people here in Idaho.

And there are also opportunities to be involved right where YOU live, too! You can volunteer to help out no matter if you live in the United States or a different country around the world. You might have some specific skills that we can utilize. Or you might be able to lead a fundraiser or event. Or maybe you can just be our representative/friend who can help spread the word in your area.

If you want to be involved – we’ll get you involved. For sure!
Just start by filling out this form – and then we’ll go from there. Thanks!

Suggestions

We love receiving general feedback and suggestions from people. Whatever you want to say – we want to listen.
Just fill out this form and let us know. Thanks!

Thank you! Your suggestion has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form

Sign up to volunteer

Thank you! Your suggestion has been received!

Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form

We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that exists because of the generosity of our friends and supporters. We have revenue from the sale of our products (The Shoe That Grows) that goes back into our organization. But we also rely on donations from people, businesses, churches, etc. We appreciate every single dollar that is donated to help us with our mission of Practical Compassion.

Donate Online
Live outside the US?

Having trouble making a donation? Do you live outside the US?
Contact Andrew@becauseinternational.org with any questions.

Mail a Check

Checks can be made out to “Because International” and mailed to the following address:
Because International

216 12th Ave N.

Nampa, ID 83687