Sir Richard Branson Donates $2,000 to Glendale Homeless Shelter

Image: Ascencia Winter Shelter in Glendale

Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson has agreed to donate $2,000 to a Glendale homeless shelter after the mogul ran a one-day Twitter campaign to raise awareness after being inspired by volunteer Shannon Smith who contacted Branson wanting to “walk in his shoes” for a day.

According to, British mogul Sir Richard Branson received a tweet request from homeless shelter volunteer Shannon Smith asking to spend a day in his shoes. Before the holidays, Branson obliged, and sent Smith a pair of his shoes, which she wore all day on Christmas Eve and to the Ascencia Winter Shelter in Glendale to “join in a partnership with Ascencia, Social Media Club LA and Invisible People, where she served homeless people dinner, handed out gift bags and helped to brighten up the lives of many people.” 


Branson himself works hard to tackle youth homelessness with his Virgin Mobile’s RE* Generation campaigns. After being so inspired by Smith and the other volunteers, Branson decided that he wanted to get the Twitter community involved to make a difference for Ascencia Winter Shelter in Glendale. He sent out a tweet announcing that “the first 2,000 people to tweet with the hastag #shoeathon, Virgin Unite and Virgin Mobile will donate to the shelter on their behalf.” An update on Virgin’s website noted that within a matter of hours, the #shoeathon target was reached and the shelter would be receiving their donation. 

According to Virgin spokeswoman Felicia Hall, “the money will likely be sent out to Ascencia in a couple of weeks,” reports the Glendale News-Press. Hall added, “They money will likely be used to supplement the regional winter shelter – funded by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a countrywide agency – which serves Glendale and the surrounding areas.” 

The shoes that Branson sent Smith had traveled with him from his home on Necker to the UK, then from London to New York. Then Virgin America flew them (and a book and t-shirt) to the West Coast where Smith lives. The video the Virgin Group founder made for Smith announcing he was sending an actual pair of his shoes to her can be seen here.


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