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For Immediate Release

Albert Lexie Earns Philanthropy Award for Support of Free Care Fund at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh

Albert Lexie makes shoes shine and kids at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh smile. During the last 19 years, he has donated all the tips he has earned from his shoeshine business to Children’s Hospital’s Free Care Fund. And on National Philanthropy Day, he will be honored for his good deeds.

Lexie, a Westmoreland County native, will receive an Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the organization’s Western Pennsylvania Chapter. He will be honored on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at the Westin Convention Center Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh during the chapter’s 2001 National Philanthropy Day Luncheon. The award is one of nine Awards for Philanthropy that will be given in recognition of individuals and organizations whose lifetime and long-term achievements have made a significant impact on society.

“Albert Lexie is a special person and a shining example of outstanding generosity,” Children’s President and Chief Executive Officer Ronald L. Violi said. “His selfless actions remind us that no matter what our financial means, we all can make a difference. Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is able to continue to provide the best medical care to all children thanks to people like Albert.”

Since 1982, Lexie has traveled every Tuesday and Thursday to Children’s Hospital to shine thousands of shoes. Through the years, he has given all of his tips – nearly $74,000 – to the Free Care Fund, which ensures that all Children’s Hospital patients receive the medical care they need regardless of their families’ ability to pay. What makes this gesture so awe-inspiring is that Lexie only earns about $10,000 a year.

“For Albert, charity is a way of life,” said Children’s Director of Development Shelly Tolo, who nominated Lexie for the award. “He has given much more than could ever be expected and because of that, Albert is a true philanthropist.”

At age 15, Lexie built a shoeshine box in high school shop class. Today, at 59, he makes shoes sparkle for $3 a shine. Usually, customers give him a little extra for “my kids,” as Lexie calls them. In addition to shining shoes at Children’s, Lexie travels to Salomon Smith Barney in Pittsburgh and the business districts of Charleroi, Donora, Monessen and Monongahela to offer his services.

Lexie’s story has been featured in Reader’s Digest, People, former Ohio Senator John Kasich’s book Courage is Contagious: Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things to Change the Face of America, local newspapers and on the Oprah Winfrey Show. He received a 1997 Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Citizen and has earned recognition from several Rotary organizations in the Monongahela Valley.

Melanie Tush Finnigan, 412-692-5016,

Last Update
February 20, 2008
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Last Update
February 20, 2008