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Richard Branson donates to Glendale shelter after Twitter challenge

January 24, 2013 |  8:59 am

Richard Branson. Credit: Scott Eells / Bloomberg

After one tweet led to another, British business magnate Richard Branson agreed Wednesday to donate $2,000 to Glendale's winter shelter for the homeless, which has been hitting its 80-bed capacity nightly despite a bare-bones budget.

Branson on Tuesday tweeted that he would donate the money to Ascencia, the shelter's operator and Glendale’s largest provider of services to the homeless, if 2,000 people tweeted the word “shoeathon.”

They did. And so Branson — through his nonprofit Virgin Unite and phone company Virgin Mobile — made good on his pledge, the Glendale News-Press reported.

The shelter, which serves Glendale and surrounding areas, is expected to use the money to supplement funding from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, a countywide agency.

The origin of the Twitter challenge goes back to December, when Shannon Smith of Aliso Viejo wore Branson’s shoes to volunteer at the shelter on Christmas Eve.

How did Smith acquire a pair of Branson's footwear? After Smith tweeted that she wanted to spend a day in the billionaire's shoes, Branson sent her his size 10 ½ sneakers.

She then sent an email to Virgin officials about her experience at the shelter and they responded with the Twitter proposition.

"I think it’s unbelievable," Smith said. "Just to think, it all started with one tweet."

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-- Brittany Levine, Times Community News

Photo: Richard Branson. Credit: Scott Eells / Bloomberg

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