Shoe fundraiser bolsters Heart of Shenango scholarship fund

Group of people tagging large plastic bags full of shoes and loading them into a box truck

The Penn State Shenango community gathered gently worn shoes for a donation program to benefit the Heart of Shenango Scholarship.

Credit: Michael McElroy

SHARON, Pa. — Many homes have the occasional spare pair of shoes taking up space in a closet or entryway. At Penn State Shenango, an entire room has been set aside to collect and house hundreds of spare shoes, all in the name of philanthropy both on campus and abroad. 

The campus community began collecting and organizing gently worn shoes in October, 2022, with plans to donate all pairs to Sneakers4Funds, an organization who redistributes the shoes to local entrepreneurs in developing countries to help them establish small businesses and assist in raising areas out of systemic poverty. They also provide financial compensation to the fundraising organization for each pair of shoes that are donated. 

"We tried to find a fun and unique way of raising funds,” said Assistant Teaching Professor of Nursing Maureen Dunn. “We’ve done other events in the past but wanted to take a different approach this year.” 

Dunn is a member of the campus’ Heart of Shenango committee who oversees the Heart of Shenango Scholarship. Through the shoe collection and donation, the financial contributions from Sneakers4Funds will support this scholarship fund. 

The Heart of Shenango Scholarship was established by Penn State Shenango employees in 2009 to inspire and support incoming Shenango students who possess the core values of the campus community. The student must also demonstrate financial need, and first preference is given to transfer students from community colleges. 

On Jan. 11, the Shenango community gathered to load 40 bags full of donated shoes onto the collection truck for a final tally of 1,000 pairs of shoes, totaling more than $400 in funds donated to the Heart of Shenango Scholarship. 

"The support from Penn State faculty, staff and alumni, as well as community members, was beyond what I thought it would be,” Dunn said. “This fundraiser goes a long way towards helping us reach our goals with the Heart of Shenango Scholarship.” 

The committee will host an additional fundraising Scoop and Paint event on Saturday, April 1. To learn about the Heart of Shenango Scholarship, and other scholarship opportunities available at the Shenango campus, visit

Philanthropy at Penn State

With the record-breaking success of “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence,” which raised $2.2 billion from 2016 to 2022, philanthropy is helping to sustain the University’s tradition of education, research and service to communities across the commonwealth and around the globe. Scholarships enable our institution to open doors and welcome students from every background, support for transformative experiences allows our students and faculty to fulfill their vast potential for leadership, and gifts toward discovery and excellence help us to serve and impact the world we share. To learn more about the impact of giving and the continuing need for support, visit