With $3 million worth of savings in the bank, Dale Schroeder, a humble carpenter from Iowa, sent 33 people to college. All of them with scholarships.Schroeder worked at the same company for 67 years and according to a good friend of his, this humble carpenter really didn’t have much.
Schroeder passed away in 2005.
No one really knew that Dale, a humble carpenter, had amassed $3 million in savings. No one expected anything but he saved all this money just so he could give others a better future.
Dale never got to attend college since he grew up in a poor family.
He never got married nor does he have children.
In 2005, just before Dale passed away, he approached his friend and lawyer, Steve Nielsen, to discuss his life savings and what was to become of the money.
“He wanted to help kids that were like him that probably wouldn’t have an opportunity to go to college but for his gift,” Steve said.
“I said, ‘How much are we talking about, Dale?’ And he said, ‘Oh, just shy of $3 million.’ I nearly fell out of my chair.”
The scholarships he funded helped potential teachers, doctors, and therapists realize their dreams were now in reach just by going to college.
It took a long 14 years for the fund to run out. The 33 beneficiaries call themselves “Dale’s Kids”, and are intent on paying it forward.
That’s what Dave wanted.
The beneficiaries from the scholarships recently gathered around the man’s old lunchbox so they could talk about how Dale’s support changed their lives.
And to think they never got to meet the man.
“I grew up in a single-parent household and I had three older sisters, so paying for all four of us was never an option. It almost made me feel powerless, like, ‘I want to do this, I have this goal but I can’t get there just because of the financial part.’” Kira Conrad said.
She always had dreams of becoming a therapist, but her financial situation wasn’t working in her favor so she knew it was impossible.
It was at her high school graduation party that she planned on telling everyone, her friends and family included, that she wouldn’t be able to afford college given her circumstances.
And then Kira received a call that turned her whole life around.
It was Steve and he called to tell her that $80,000 of her tuition would be covered thanks to Dale’s scholarship fund.
Kira broke down in tears. The realization that a complete stranger was sending someone to college just so they could achieve their dreams just didn’t happen. Except it did.