An Old Man Used His Secret Fortune to Send 33 Strangers to College
College is a luxury that not everyone can afford because it often costs a lot of money. We don’t all have the same opportunities, especially when it comes to education. Thankfully, there are many guardian angels in our world, and Dale Schroeder is one of them. He gave away his whole fortune to fund the education of 33 lucky people.
Dale Schroeder, a native of Iowa, was a genuine and humble man. Dale, who was born in 1919, grew up in poverty and came from a low-income household. He was born and raised alongside his sister Lila, by their single mom, and didn’t have his own bedroom until he was far into adulthood.
He lived modestly his whole life, spending 67 years as a carpenter at the same firm, Moehl Millwork in Des Moines. He had a strong work ethic and a strong desire to do a good job. Dale never got married nor did he have any children, so his life revolved around going to church and working.
Yet Dale didn’t want much more out of life than to work and be well. He was not a materialistic person who would’ve spent money on unnecessary things. His only belongings were his clothing and his rusty old Chevrolet truck that he cherished.
“He was that kind of a blue-collar, lunch pail kind of guy,” Steve Nielsen, a close friend of Dale, said. “Went to work every day, worked really hard, was frugal like a lot of Iowans.” He lived as simply as possible, but he left behind a legacy when he passed.
Dale had amassed quite a few Social Security checks that he had never cashed. But before passing away, he went to his attorney because he wanted to give that sum to a good cause. Dale had a specific desire: to provide children with the wealth and knowledge he lacked as a child.
“He said, ’I never went to college. So, I’d like to help kids go to college,’” Nielsen said. What was interesting about his request was the amount, because Schroeder had enough cash set up to pay for the education of dozens of kids.
“Finally, I got curious, and 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,” Nielsen recalls.
Dave’s kids foundation
Schroeder’s money has sent young Iowans to college over the last 14 years, thanks to Dale’s foundation. Kira Conard, one of the people who can now call themselves “Dale’s Kids,” has a particularly sweet story. She graduated from high school but had to give up on the idea of attending college due to financial limitations. That is, until she learned about Dale Schroeder.
“I broke down into tears immediately,” Conard recalled. She’s not the only one, though; this amazing man has also saved a great number of others. Scholarships were first granted in 2007, and the final group of beneficiaries enrolled in college in 2015. 33 students from Iowa got free college educations during that period.
Every time they get together for a reunion, they are all concerned about preserving this man’s memory. “We keep him alive by telling his story,” Steve claims. “All we ask is that you pay it forward. You can’t pay it back because Dale’s gone. But you can remember him, and you can emulate him.”