Share Your Soles Founder Mona Purdy Receives Sister Clare Award

Feb. 6, 2017 | Joliet, Ill.

Each year in March, the University of St. Francis (USF) bestows the Sister Clare Award upon a deserving candidate in honor of Women’s History Month. This award recognizes women of vision who have transformed the world of their time. The university presents this award in honor of its patron saint, Clare of Assisi. The 2017 Sister Clare Award recipient is Mona Purdy, founder and CEO of Share Your Soles.

Share Your Soles is a not for profit organization started by Purdy 17 years ago during a visit to South America. Purdy noticed the village children painting tar onto their feet because they did not have any shoes to wear. She met an American orthopedic surgeon on her trip who commented that if the children had shoes, he would not have to return so often to amputate their limbs due to infection. In that moment, Purdy decided the solution was simple.

Seventeen years and over 2.5 million pairs of shoes later, Purdy has donated lightly used and new shoes to children in 40 impoverished nations. The organization began in her home garage with help from children in her neighborhood, sorting, cleaning and shipping shoes. Now, Share Your Soles has a permanent home in the Pullman neighborhood on Chicago’s south side.

Over the years, Purdy has enlisted assistance from sponsors, government agencies, embassies and major corporations to ensure the shoes are shipped safely and distributed where they are needed most. For more information or to donate to Share Your Soles, please visit

Purdy will receive USF’s Sister Clare Award on March 21 at 2:30 p.m. in San Damiano Hall, 603 Taylor St., at the Joliet campus. The ceremony is open to the public.

For questions about the Sister Clare Award or attending the award ceremony, please contact Joanna Kourtidis at or 815-740-6444.

 The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves 3,850 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are 48,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.