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Our History

The Dr. Scholl Foundation was established by William M. Scholl, M.D., in 1947. It is a private, independent, grantmaking foundation created from the success of the business he founded, the Scholl Manufacturing Company.

William M. Scholl was born into a family of thirteen children on June 22, 1882, the son of Indiana dairy farmers. On that small Indiana farm he learned the values of a strong work ethic combined with compassion for the less fortunate. 

He left the farm at age 16 to apprentice in a shoemaker's shop, where he noted the number of customers who complained of foot pain and discomfort.  Intrigued by the ailments of the foot, he attended Illinois Medical College, now Loyola University, and earned his M.D. degree in 1904.  He never practiced medicine; but over the next fifty years, he built a great corporation out of the simple belief that "when your feet hurt, you hurt all over."

While creating one of the world's best-known brand names and a truly global company, Dr. Scholl realized that his good fortune could be used to aid others.  In 1947 he turned financial success into magnanimous charity by creating the Dr. Scholl Foundation.  Dr. Scholl died on March 29, 1968, leaving the bulk of his estate to the foundation.

The Foundation has continued Dr. Scholl's generosity by contributing over $232 million since 1980 to organizations that help people help themselves.  The directors and staff members of the Dr. Scholl Foundation are honored and privileged to carry on his legacy.