Samuel Bistrian grew up in the remote village of Benesti in Romania, where he experienced firsthand the struggles of living in a Communist controlled country. Bistrian received his first pair of rain boots, passed down from his siblings, when he was six years old. At the age of eight, the Communist regime fell and his family seized the opportunity to migrate to the United States.
In 2001, Bistrian returned to Romania for the first time since moving to America. As he witnessed impoverished children trudging through the rain and snow with inadequate shoes, Bistrian knew he had to help. Upon graduating college, Bistrian pursued a career in fashion at Neiman Marcus. In 2009, while working at Neiman Marcus, he met the founder of TOMS, Blake Mycoskie, and was inspired to create his own philanthropic company. Bistrian knew this was the most effective way to combine his love for fashion and desire to serve others.
In 2010, with the help of friends and family, ROMA Boots was born. It was not until a few years later, when Bistrian decided that he wanted to take his philanthropic passion to the next level. With a keen desire to serve others, Bistrian decided to have two entities: the first being the for-profit side, ROMA Boots, and the second being the conduit to carry out the mission of “giving poverty the boot”. Roma For All eventually was renamed to ROMA Foundation in 2016 when the foundation received their 501(c)(3) status in June.