Frye Boots (, the 140-year-old New York-based footwear manufacturer, celebrated its most financially successful year ever on Wednesday night by showing shoes — and compassion.

At a cocktail gathering at Trust Lounge in New York’s Meatpacking District, the company presented its spring/summer ’04 collection to editors and a $50,000 check to Project ALS (, a research foundation formed in 1998 to help fight ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ALS is fatal neuromuscular illness that is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Larry Tarica, president and COO of Frye’s parent company, Jimlar Corporation, presented the check to Project ALS’s creators, Valerie and Meredith Estes, who formed the organization when their sister Jennifer was diagnosed with the disease five years ago.

The large donation marked the launch of Frye’s new "A Step Toward a Cure" program, which will raise money for Project ALS and heighten public awareness of the disease.