Grant Thornton designates second Purple Paladin: Sneakers for Soldiers


Support will help Philadelphia nonprofit supply athletic shoes to troops in combat zones

CHICAGO — Grant Thornton LLP has named Sneakers for Soldiers as the second nonprofit in its Purple Paladin program – a program Grant Thornton launched in October to provide up-and-coming nonprofits with funding, business advice and volunteer support. Purple Paladins helps promising nonprofits move from start-up to sustainable, while also helping them share their stories more widely.

Sneakers for Soldiers is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides properly fitted athletic shoes to deployed combat troops in all branches of the military.

Deborah and John Hausladen founded Sneakers for Soldiers in 2018, when they received a call from their son, who was serving in Afghanistan and looking for a pair of new sneakers. After realizing the U.S. Military did not provide sneakers to deployed soldiers, the Hausladens were determined to find a way to help their son, and others like him.

“Purple Paladins is about supporting real people who are tackling real issues and making huge personal sacrifices for all of us,” said Brad Preber, CEO of Grant Thornton. “It doesn’t get much more real than helping men and women serving in combat zones.”

With the support of individuals and organizations from around the country, Sneakers for Soldiers purchases high-quality sneakers at a discount to send to men and women serving in imminent danger areas and combat zones. The uniqueness of the program is that soldiers select the brand and style that best fits their feet and needs – ordering is customized for each soldier.

“It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that something as simple as a pair of sneakers is putting a smile on the faces of our soldiers,” said Deborah Hausladen. “In a little more than a year and half, we’ve been able to provide nearly 1,500 pairs of sneakers through the program, and we’re just getting started.”

While the U.S. Military has recognized that sneakers are an essential item and is in the early stages of providing athletic shoes to new service members, deployed soldiers are not currently included in these efforts. Sneakers for Soldiers helps fill this gap: Individuals and organizations can support deployed troops in a practical way that complements the U.S. Military’s efforts.

Preber added, “In addition to helping provide a necessity like a pair of sneakers, it’s important for soldiers to know people care and are grateful for their service. And the difference Sneakers for Soldiers is making is apparent from the outpouring of gratitude it receives from deployed troops who have received their new sneakers.”

The public can donate to Sneakers for Soldiers by visiting the nonprofit’s website.

Sneakers for Soldiers joins Chicago nonprofit Coming Up Rosies as a Grant Thornton Purple Paladin. Coming Up Rosies is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides ‘smile kits’ to hospitals so children – particularly those suffering from hair loss – can engage in therapeutic art activities to create custom head scarves, neck scarves and superhero capes based on their own unique designs.

Grant Thornton’s Purple Paladins program derives its name from the word paladin, a champion of a cause.

To learn more about Purple Paladins or to nominate a nonprofit for potential support, visit Grant Thornton’s website.



About Grant Thornton LLP

Grant Thornton LLP (Grant Thornton) is one of America’s largest providers of audit and assurance, tax and advisory services — and the U.S. member firm of the Grant Thornton International Ltd global network. We go beyond the expected to make business more personal and build trust into every result. With revenues of $2.4 billion for the fiscal year that ended July 31, 2023, and almost 50 offices nationwide, Grant Thornton is a community of more than 9,000 problem solvers who value relationships and are ready to help organizations of all sizes and industries create more confident futures. Because, for us, how we serve matters as much as what we do. 


“Grant Thornton” refers to Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL). GTIL and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions.




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