Albert Lexie

Albert is a Free Care Fund Hero

Albert's Story

Albert Lexie gives shoe shining tips to Children's

Albert Lexie of Monessen, has been shining shoes at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh since 1982. Just about every Tuesday and Thursday, Albert leaves his home at 5:50 a.m. to arrive at Children’s at 7:25 a.m. to begin shining shoes.

Through the years, he has given all of his tips – more than $200,000 – to the Free Care Fund, which ensures that all Children’s patients receive the medical care they need regardless of their families’ ability to pay. What makes this gesture so awe-inspiring is that Mr. Lexie only earns about $10,000 a year.

Albert Lexie speaks about giving shoe shining tips to Children's.

At age 15, Mr. Lexie built a shoeshine box in high school shop class. Today, he makes shoes sparkle for $3 a shine. Usually, customers give him a little extra for “my kids,” as Mr. Lexie calls them.

During the last 28 years, he has donated all the tips he has earned from his shoeshine business to Children’s Hospital’s Free Care Fund. Mr. Lexie refers to the patients and children at Children’s as “Albert’s kids.” 

Mr. Lexie has received several awards over the years for his 28 years of charity work, including:

  • An Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the organization’s Western Pennsylvania Chapter in 2001
  • A 1997 Jefferson Medal for Outstanding Citizen
  • The Donora Rotary honored Lexie with a Community Service Award for his donations to Children’s Hospital
  • 2006 National Caring Award given by the Caring Institute, and inducted into the Hall of Fame for Caring Americans
  • The Foundation for a Better Life, with billboards honoring his charity work.
  • Honored at the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game as one of the 30 “All Stars Among Us”

In addition, Lexie has been on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Jane Pauley Show, and the CBS Evening News.

Purchase the book "Albert's Kids" 

Albert Lexie's book, Albert’s Kids, The Heroic Work of Shining Shoes for Sick Children<> is available by making a donation to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Order Albert's book online

Thank you for making Albert an "All-Star Among Us"

Thank you for making Albert one of the 30 “All Stars Among Us”. He was honored at the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game on FOX. The campaign — organized by Major League Baseball and PEOPLE magazine — recognizes individuals who are serving the community in extraordinary ways.

Mr. Lexie was featured in a special pre-game ceremony July 13, 2010 at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif. This was a wonderful honor for Mr. Lexie who is extremely generous to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Additional Resources

In the News

Shoe Shiner Turns 30 Years of Tips Into $200,000 in Gifts
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, 02/25/13

How shoe-shiner has given $200K to Pittsburgh children's hospital
Los Angeles Times, 02/23/13

Hospital Has A Shoeshine Saint
CBS News, 02/11/09

Institute recognizes 13 caring Americans of all ages
USA Today, 10/16/06

Children's makes job easier for a favorite donor 
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 08/06/03

Albert Lexie: A Shining Example
WQED Pittsburgh