Albert Lexie

Albert is a Free Care Fund Hero

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Albert's Story

It is with heavy-heart that we announce the passing of Albert Lexie on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. Albert Lexie gives shoe shining tips to Children's

Albert Lexie, formerly of Monessen, shined shoes at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh from 1982 to 2013. Just about every Tuesday and Thursday, Albert left 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 gave 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 earned 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. At UPMC Children's Hospital he made shoes sparkle for $3 a shine. Usually, customers give him a little extra for “my kids,” as Mr. Lexie called them.

Over more than three decades, he donated all the tips he earned from his shoeshine business to Children’s Hospital’s Free Care Fund. Mr. Lexie referred to the patients and children at UPMC Children’s as “Albert’s kids.”

Mr. Lexie 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 was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Jane Pauley Show, and the CBS Evening News.

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

Additional Resources