Philanthropy

The Milton Hershey School: The Richest Orphans in America


Editor’s Note: The article below expands and updates “The Milton Hershey School: The Richest Orphans in America,” originally published in CRC’s series Compassion and Culture in 2003. The version below also includes some historical material that appeared in the earlier article alongside new information.

“Mr. Hershey can not estimate the good that will result from his tremendous gift. Neither he nor anyone else can have more than a faint conception of the influence that this school will exert on the lives of its inmates, on the communities in which they will become a part, on the State, the nation, and posterity.”—editorial in Troy (N.Y.) Times (1923)

Last year, Dauphin County Orphans Court in Harrisburg, Pa. was the setting for an exceptionally heated battle over donor intent. At stake was this question: Was the Hershey Trust, acting as agent for the Milton Hershey School, fulfilling the wishes of chocolate magnate Milton S. Hershey in selling the school’s controlling interest in Hershey Foods for up to $12 billion?

Ultimately, the court did not have to address this issue, as the Hershey School’s board voted 10-7 against the sale. The seven board members who supported the sale, as well as Hershey School president William S. Lepley, resigned.

But the controversy showed that the richest prep school in America was not some prestigious New England establishment, but was an orphanage. How well-endowed is the Hershey School? Harrisburg Patriot-News reporter Ford Turner provides some useful comparisons. In 2002, Phillips Andover Academy, whose alumni include President George H.W. Bush and President George W. Bush, recently successfully completed a five-year $209 million capital campaign. That’s a larger fund-raising drive than any other prep school. Milton Hershey School, by contrast, is in the middle of a five-year, $228 million building campaign–and it doesn’t have to ask its alumni for a penny. The Hershey School is funding the entire project out of its $570 million rainy day fund.

Here’s another way to show the wealth of the Hershey School. Look at how much they spend per student. Phillips Andover spends about $49,000 per student. The Hershey School, in the 2000-01 school year, spent $111 million for food, clothing, and education for its 1,150 students. That amounts to $96,000 per student–nearly ten times as much as the average public school spends.

So the story of the Milton Hershey School poses two questions. First, what happens when a donor sets up a perpetual trust for a single purpose–and the trust has too much money? Second, what does the Milton Hershey School story say about the success or failure of orphanages in America?

To understand how the Milton Hershey School arrived at its present predicament, we need to turn the clock back a century and study what the school’s founder tried to do.

The Donor

Milton S. Hershey (1857-1945) was one of America’s greatest entrepreneurs. Born in Hockenville, Pennsylvania, Hershey’s family was poor, and had to move constantly to flee creditors. As a result, Milton Hershey went to seven schools in eight years, emerging with the equivalent of a fourth-grade education.

Hershey started working at the age of 14 and never stopped. By the time he was 25, he had started three businesses—a taffy company, a cough drop company, and a confectionary company—all of which failed.

In 1882 Hershey started his fourth enterprise, Lancaster Caramel. Earlier caramel makers used paraffin to make their candies chewy, but Hershey realized that milk could perform the same function, at far less cost. By 1895 Lancaster Caramel had three plants and had annual sales of a million dollars. Hershey’s wealth enabled him to attract—and marry—Catherine Sweeney in 1898.

While visiting the Columbian Exposition in 1893, Hershey saw some German chocolate-making equipment and decided that being a chocolate manufacturer was his life’s ambition. In 1900, he sold Lancaster Caramel for $1 million and used the proceeds to fund an around-the-world trip. The Hersheys made it as far as Mexico City when Milton Hershey announced he was bored, and the couple turned around and headed for home.

Hershey first made chocolates in a wing of the Lancaster Caramel plant, and, as with the caramels, his great secret was that he figured out how to make milk chocolate in large quantities.  Hershey turned chocolate into a product that was so affordable that everyone could enjoy a nickel bar of Hershey’s Chocolate (introduced in 1900) or Hershey’s Chocolate With Almonds (introduced in 1908) for lunch.

The next step was to build a factory. Hershey found land in Derry Township, Pa., about a mile from where he grew up. Hershey knew the area had several advantages. There were many Pennsylvania Dutch farmers nearby, who could either work in the factory or supply the plant with plenty of milk. The factory was conveniently located for shipments to East Coast distributors.

Hershey began building his factory in March 1903. “It is Mr. Hershey’s ambition to erect about his old home a model village, or town, with an immense chocolate factory as its central feature,” the Lancaster, Pennsylvania New Era reported shortly after Hershey began construction.

But what should the place be called? Hershey held a nationwide contest; the entries included Hustletown, Ulikit, Etabit, Qualitytells, Chocolate City, and St. Milton. The winning entry was Hersheykoko, but the Post Office rejected the name as being too commercial. But Hershey was acceptable to the Post Office, so the town became Hershey.

Milton Hershey made sure that Hershey, Pa. was created according to his specifications. He designed all the houses—and tore down the ones that seemed too much like slums. Hershey workers could relax in Hershey Park, and ride carousels and watch vaudeville acts courtesy of the company. If they needed to travel outside of Hershey, the company provided a 30-mile interurban railway. If they wanted a meeting space for their clubs, the company provided a community center. (The community center also showed movies—purged, News-Week reported in 1935, of “dirty jokes and sensual dances.”)

In his 2010 book The Company Town, Hardy Green explains that Milton S. Hershey’s goal in creating his town was to offer his workers homes that were “modern affairs equipped with indoor plumbing, central heating, even electricity.” Hershey’s employees “got a cornucopia of benefits, including insurance, medical coverage, and a retirement plan. There were no local taxes, jobs were abundant, and services such as garbage pickup and snow removal were a given.”

Hershey Chocolate used the benefits of the town of Hershey to promote its products. A 2013 article in Journalism History cites this song, used as promotional material, created by Hershey Chocolate around 1920:

 

“A beautiful town in a valley lay,

Where a lot of people night and day

Make Hershey’s Chocolate and Cocoa

As clean and pure as the falling snow

And the green grass grew all around, all around.

And the green grass grew all around.”

 

In 1908, Hershey incorporated Hershey Chocolate (now the Hershey Company). One year later, Hershey decided to donate the majority of the company’s stock to create an orphanage, which he called the Hershey Industrial School. The school began operations in the fall of 1909.

Milton S. Hershey had always been charitable and had never sought any publicity for his gifts.  Hershey biographer Roy Bongartz gives some examples. Hershey once saw a clubfooted boy walking through town, and quietly paid for the cost of the operations needed to fix the youth’s foot.  In another case, a boy was severely beaten up by bullies. Again, Hershey quietly paid all the medical bills.

The gift to the Hershey Industrial School far surpassed anything else Hershey gave away.  Hershey’s best expression of his intent is provided in a 1923 article by James C. Young in the New York Times. “I am 66 years old and do not need much money,” Hershey said. “My business has been far more successful than I ever expected it to be. If I should drop out, what should become of the business, the capital, and the earnings? . . . Well, I have no heirs, so I have decided to make the orphan boys of the United States my heirs.”

“The orphan boy has a harder time than anyone else, you know. There are always relatives or outsiders to take an orphan girl. Girls are useful in the home, and people are glad to get them.  But boys are looked on as a nuisance. The more spirit they have, the bigger the nuisance.”

“Our school will give a boy in its care a thorough common school education, supplemented by instruction in the useful crafts—carpentry, blacksmithing, farming, “the rudiments of electrical work.”

“We do not intend to turn out finished artisans, but to provide a foundation on which they may build,” Hershey said. “And when they leave us at 18 we will then give them $100 each to begin life. That is more than I had.”

Young then asked if Hershey’s wealth could be used to provide “an academic training for most of the orphan boys in the United States.”

“We do not intend to turn out a race of professors,” Hershey replied. “The thing that a poor boy needs is knowledge of a trade, a way to make his living.  We will provide him with the groundwork. Of what use is Latin when a fellow has to hoe a patch or run a lathe? But we expect to develop a plan under which boys of special promise in the academic branches may go to college.”

Hershey expressed his work-oriented philosophy in his Deed of Trust, executed in 1909.  Clause 17 of the deed states, “All orphans admitted to the School shall be fed with plain, wholesome food, plainly, neatly, and comfortably clothed, without distinctive dress, and fitly lodged. Due regard shall be paid to their health; their physical training shall be attended to, and they shall have proper exercise and recreation. They shall be instructed in the several branches of a sound education, agriculture, horticulture, gardening, such mechanical trades and handicrafts as the Managers may determine, and such natural and physical sciences and practical mathematics as in the opinion of the Managers it may be important for them to acquire, and such other learning and science as the tastes, capacities, and adaptability of the several scholars may merit or warrant, to fit themselves for the trades they are to learn, and a useful occupation in life. . . . Each and every scholar shall be required to learn, and be thoroughly instructed in some occupation of mechanical trade, so that when he leaves the School on the completion of the period for which he is to remain, he may be able to support himself.”

Milton Hershey was a very active donor. He routinely visited each of the boys in his care, and once a year, all the boys were sent to Hershey’s mansion for a special breakfast of hot cocoa and toast. Henry Keener, who, as a “house parent,” supervised the boys, told author Joël Glenn Brenner: “You didn’t know when Mr. Hershey was going to drop by unannounced. And he was the most meticulous fellow with himself. With his clothing, his mannerisms, everything. I never saw him in anything but a full-dress business suit, usually a dark suit.  Never saw him in light clothing.”

Most of the boys turned out pretty well. Bill Dearden, for example, arrived at the Hershey School as a 13-year-old from the Philadelphia slums. His mother had just died, and his father could not afford to feed his family.

Four decades later, Dearden recalled that at his first day at the Hershey School, he was driven through the school’s 10,000 acres and was given his first pair of long pants. He then was given the biggest meal he had ever had. “Creamed rice was the vegetable, and there was apple pie for dessert, Dearden told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Where I came from, creamed rice was the dessert. It was like getting two desserts in one meal!”

After he was graduated from the Hershey School, Dearden was graduated from Albright College. In 1976, he became the first Hershey School alumnus to be CEO of Hershey Foods. “I don’t know where I would be today if it wasn’t for Mr. Hershey.”

The Hershey Trust

Hershey set up the Hershey Trust to manage the school’s assets, including the shares of Hershey Chocolate, and declared that the Hershey Trust and the Hershey Industrial School should be perpetuities. He set up the following structure to determine how the company and the school should be controlled:

The Hershey Trust is a bank. Until 2011, the trust had other customers, but in that year the bank sold its wealth management business (with about $400 million in assets) to Bryn Mawr Bank for an undisclosed sum.

The trust is now exclusively devoted to controlling Hershey properties. The Hershey Trust owns a controlling interest in the Hershey Company as well as a 100 percent interest in Hershey Resorts and Entertainment, which owns land and entertainment venues in the Hershey area, most notably Hersheypark. The board of directors of the Hershey Trust are simultaneously the board of directors of the Milton Hershey School.  The result is that the goals of the company, the trust, and the school are intertwined; the company’s profits were used by the trust to fund the school, and the school would produce productive young men—some of whom would end up working for Hershey Chocolate.

Wm. A. McGarry provided the best explanation of how the three overlapping Hershey organizations were supposed to act in a 1940 article in Nation’s Business. “The plant is now owned in trust by the home,” McGarry explained. “The business supports the boys and the boys supply labor and executives for the business when they grow up.”

Catherine Hershey died in 1915; and in 1918, Milton Hershey transferred control of between two-thirds and three-quarters of Hershey Chocolate stock to the Hershey Trust. Hershey kept this transaction secret for five years, until James C. Young exposed his intentions in a 1923 New York Times article.

To have advertised his gift “to the world,” Hershey told Fortune in 1934, “would have seemed like . . . telling the people to eat more chocolate to aid the orphans and my competitors . . . would have said I was taking advantage of them.”

When James C. Young broke the story of Milton C. Hershey’s gift, he noted that, unlike other great philanthropists, Hershey’s gift (which he estimated at $60 million) came from a fortune “unlike those given away with free hands in the past few years. It came neither from oil, steel, or finance, but from the modest chocolate bar.” (“Think of an orphan boy,” Young concluded, having as his guardian a man who will give him as much chocolate as he can eat!”)

The press, always on the lookout for new philanthropists, saluted Hershey’s generosity.  “When a man spends his fortune in that wholly unselfish fashion in his own lifetime,” the Philadelphia Public Ledger editorialized, “the world applauds, and it is lastingly imprest [sic] by the example.”

The New York American contrasted Hershey’s gift with that of a more inept donor who left $1,000 to his wife and $36,500 for prayers intended for his “poor, miserable soul.” The difference between the prayer-monger and Hershey, the newspaper declared, was “all the difference between selfish barbarism and enlightened civilization.”

There is one small piece of evidence that Hershey may have had second thoughts.  In 1934, Hershey and his company were the subject of a Fortune profile. In the article, the anonymous author declared, “there are some indications” that Milton Hershey “is now considering a modification of the perpetuity provision.” This did not happen.

However, in 1935 Hershey created the M.S. Hershey Foundation as a small charity independent of the Hershey Trust, endowing the foundation with 5,000 shares of Hershey Chocolate common. The foundation’s 2014 Form 990 listed assets of $59.3 million and grants of $9.7 million. The foundation was created in perpetuity to support “educational purposes” in the Hershey, Pa. area, including the Hershey Gardens, the Hershey Theatre, and the Hershey Community Archives. The foundation’s most newsworthy event came in 2009 when it spent $23.5 million on The Hershey Story, a museum devoted to the life and works of Milton S. Hershey. (The museum’s bricks are supposed to resemble blocks of chocolate.)

But throughout the remainder of Milton Hershey’s life, the relationship between Hershey Chocolate, the Hershey Trust, and the Hershey School changed very little. In a 1993 Wall Street Journal article, Milton Friedman recalled staying in Hershey “toward the end of World War II” because he was teaching a quality-control course for Navy procurement officers.

“We stayed at the Hershey Hotel, on the corner of Cocoa Avenue and Chocolate Boulevard, across the street from the Hershey Junior College, where the actual instruction took place, a block or so from the Hershey Department Store, and so on,” Friedman recalled. “You get the idea. The stench of paternalism was in the air.”

Donor Intent?

Milton S. Hershey died in 1945. Within a decade of his death, it became clear that the structure that Hershey had set up had one fundamental flaw: Hershey Chocolate and its successors—Hershey Foods and the Hershey Company—have generated much larger profits than were necessary to operate the Milton Hershey School. For over 60 years, the question has been: what other worthy uses for Hershey’s charity would satisfy Milton Hershey’s intentions?

There has been one successful and several unsuccessful attempts to divert the Hershey fortune. The successful effort took place in 1963, when Hershey Chocolate CEO Samuel Hinkle persuaded the Dauphin County Orphans Court to transfer $50 million, or 20 percent of the Hershey Trust’s assets, to Pennsylvania State University to allow construction of what is now known as the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. The center, located in Hershey, serves as the Penn State medical school, even though it is several hundred miles away from Penn State’s main campus in State College, Pa.

In The Chocolate Trust, Bob Fernandez shows that Hinkle began to worry about Milton Hershey’s fortune in a letter to the Hershey Trust board in 1959. He told the board his fears were that Hershey Chocolate’s wealth would rise as the number of qualified orphans declined. “I began to wonder what Mr. Hershey would do if he himself were living . . . with the accumulation of money that he didn’t need for his orphans. What would he do?”

Hinkle argued that the trust could loosen the restrictions on who was admitted to the Milton Hershey School, so that boys from “broken homes” who weren’t orphans could be admitted. This loosening was explicitly allowed in the Deed of Trust. But Hinkle also said that such a change would ensure that “we would immediately be inviting criticism of our methods,” especially if the school dramatically increased its size.

Instead, Hinkle contended, it would be better to use part of the trust to inspire “new and better remedies for the relief of human suffering—probably traceable to the untimely death of his [Milton Hershey’s] wife, although he seldom mentioned her years of degenerating illness for which he could find no cure.”

The Hershey Trust board sat on the proposal for three years until 1962, when Arthur Whiteman became the trust’s chairman. (Whiteman was admitted to the Milton Hershey School in 1916.) The trust began collecting testimony, including from Dr. Herman Hostetter, a long-time friend of Milton Hershey’s, who said that Hershey told him “at least on two occasions” that he had been asked to give money for a medical center, and declined because the town of Hershey “is not a place for a Medical Center.”

While this was happening, the Pennsylvania state legislature passed bills in 1961 and 1963 authorizing the construction of a Penn State medical center. Hinkle, who graduated from Penn State in 1922, called university president Eric Walker on April 23, 1963 to formally offer a $50 million donation to the school. Hinkle’s donation would fund construction of the medical center, which the trust would lease to the school for one dollar a year. Hinkle’s only condition was that the medical center be built in the town of Hershey. Hershey Chocolate lawyer Gilbert Nurick said that Walker’s reaction was that “you never saw eyes light and anybody drool like that in all your life.”

To get around restrictions in the Deed of Trust, the Orphans Court only authorized the transfer of $50 million from the Hershey Trust to the M.S. Hershey Foundation, which formally made the deal with Penn State. Construction of the medical center began in 1966, and the facility opened in 1970.

While this was happening, the Milton Hershey School continued to expand, thanks to a 30-year period when Hershey Foods grew at an annual rate of 17 percent. The school began to admit blacks in 1970 and girls in 1976 after several national court decisions struck down gift restrictions by race and gender. The school also loosened its definition of “orphan,” in part because parents live longer today than they did a century ago, ensuring there are fewer true orphans than in the past. The school now admits any qualified applicant from a low-income, single-parent household, as well as “social orphans” from two-parent households that can’t afford to take care of their children. By 2000, only 11 of the Milton Hershey School students were wards of the state that had no family to take care of them.

The Milton Hershey School continued to accumulate vast amounts of wealth and began to use it on a pharaonic building campaign. “The orphanage has accumulated so much money that it doesn’t know how to spend it,” Roy Bongartz observed in 1973. He noted that the school had spent millions on Founder’s Hall, a lavish tribute to Milton Hershey “that looks like a recently added addition to the Strip in Las Vegas.” An unnamed Hershey School executive told Bongartz the fancy buildings were necessary because “if a boy is presented with a bright, clean wall, he won’t make a mark on it.”

On assignment for the Philadelphia Inquirer Magazine in 1982, Bill Ecenbarger noted the Hershey School was offering free braces to those who needed them, and meals served in the Camelot Room, “a dining hall with a King Arthur motif that could be a $100-a-meal restaurant.”

Ecenbarger noted some remnants of the Spartan regime Hershey preferred, including mandatory chores (such as cow-milking) beginning at 5:30 AM and a rule restricting junior and senior students from leaving campus more than one night a week. These remnants of Milton Hershey’s time disappeared in 1989, when many of the vocational programs Milton Hershey cherished were eliminated. The print shop became a “communications center,” the auto shop an “energy, power, and transportation center,” and the carpentry shop a “construction center.” The physical education classes became “wellness classes,” and the morning chores at the barns ceased, as Hershey staff feared farm work was too much for the inner-city children that were now a majority of the students.

When former Iowa state school superintendent William S. Lepley became head of the Milton Hershey School in the 1990s, he led an effort that involved selling off two-thirds of the school’s land and slashing the vocational programs even more. Milton Hershey School students were showered with the kinds of gifts that students in every other school in America had to pay for themselves. The Wall Street Journal reported in 1999 that Hershey School students received “Bass shoes, London Fog overcoats, and other preppy clothes—all paid for by the school.”

In addition, the school paid college tuition for its best students and five free years of counseling: offering graduates advice not only on how to succeed in college, but how to rent an apartment, enter the job market, and how to get health insurance.

But Lepley crossed a line when he asked the Dauphin County Orphans Court to void Milton Hershey’s will on the grounds that the Hershey Trust had far too much money than it needed for its purpose of running the Milton Hershey School. Lepley proposed diverting $25 million to start an education think tank that would have been called the Catherine Hershey Institute for Learning and Development. Lepley promised that this think tank—which was supposed to have an annual budget of $25 million by 2004—would never have a budget higher than half the Hershey School budget.

In creating the think tank, Hershey Trust CEO Robert Vowler told the Wall Street Journal, the Hershey School was worried that the school would suffer the fate of the Buck Trust.

In that case, which I discuss in The Great Philanthropists and the Problem of ‘Donor Intent,’ Beryl Buck left $300 million in 1975 to aid poor people in Marin County, California. Her administrators at the San Francisco Foundation tried to divert the fortune to be used for the entire Bay Area. But after the titanic legal battle in the mid-1980s legal commentators dubbed “the Super Bowl of probate,” the courts ordered the creation of several national nonprofits (an institute on aging, an anti-alcoholism organization)—even though there was no evidence that Beryl Buck was interested in these causes. The court declared that these national organizations fulfilled Beryl Buck’s wishes because they were located in Marin County.

Vowler said that, because the Hershey Trust feared a court-ordered diversion of its funds, the trust decided to divert the money itself. “I’m painfully aware of the Buck Trust case,” Vowler said.  “That one’s a little scary.”

The proposed education institute was opposed by Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher and by the Milton S. Hershey Alumni Association, which emerged as a forceful supporter of Milton Hershey’s intentions. Also opposed were six residential programs for troubled children, who asked for a share of the money.

In December 1999, Orphans Court Senior Judge Warren G. Morgan declared the diversion plan dead, stating, “The proposed institute does not approximate the Hersheys’ express intention for the Milton Hershey School and would do violence to it.”

The standoff between the Hershey Alumni Association and the Hershey School continued. In 1999, the alumni association issued a report stating numerous violations of Hershey’s wishes.  The school responded by hiring former U.S. Attorney General Dick Thornburgh to investigate.  While Thornburgh found that the school had done nothing illegal, he did not address the issue of donor intent.

The next battle came in 2002, when the Hershey School announced that it was looking to sell its shares in Hershey Foods (42 percent of the common stock, 76 percent of the preferred). One proposed buyer was the William Wrigley Jr. Company, which proposed a merger in which the Hershey Trust would own 36 percent of a “Wrigley Hershey” common. The school’s foes included Attorney General Fisher, then the Republican candidate for governor of Pennsylvania.  (He lost to Democrat Ed Rendell.) Also allied against the trust were five former members of the Hershey School board and three former Hershey Foods CEOs.

In September 2002, Senior Judge Morgan temporarily blocked the sale to allow the court further time to investigate. Two weeks later, the board, after an eleven-hour meeting in Valley Forge, PA., voted by 10-7 to stop the sale. William Lepley, who had previously announced he was retiring in June 2003, announced his retirement nine months early. Ten members of the Hershey School board, including the seven who voted for the sale, resigned, and the board was cut from 17 members to 10.

What Would Milton Do?

Even though the controversy is temporarily over, the Milton Hershey School still has a major problem. What is the best way to fulfill Milton Hershey’s donor intent? If the school continues as it is has in the past, it will serve 1,500 poor children a year and give them lavish clothes, fancy equipment, and tuition, room, and board at the university of their choice. But such a scheme does nothing to help the several hundred thousand children trapped in foster-care programs or in hellish homes.

Perhaps the most reasonable way to use the surplus wealth of the Milton Hershey School is for the courts to allow the school to set up satellite orphanages across the US and perhaps overseas. These orphanages should be along the lines of Hershey’s Deed of Trust–simple places, where children could learn useful trades. There will always be a need for competent electricians and plumbers, and Hershey alumni can provide them. It’s quite possible that Senior Judge Morgan or his successor would approve this plan, as long as the diverted funds are used for poverty-fighting, and not for consultants or studies.

Hershey Alumni Association president Ric Fouad concurs with such a vision. The Hershey School, he told CNBC’s “Business Center” show in September, is “the single-largest resource on Earth for taking care of dependent and at-risk children, and it’s still being grossly underutilized and misused….The money they have now is plenty to utilize the resources of Hershey to add more children and to serve them well.”

Moreover, in the 1990s, orphanages have become more common as America’s foster-care has suffered from an increased number of children in the system and a steadily declining number of parents. Given the number of bad parents out there–many drug addicted–it’s clear that a troubled family (particularly a single-parent household) is not necessarily the best place to raise a child.

In 1998, for example, Minnesota Republican Governor Arne Carlson convinced the Democratic-controlled legislature to authorize the building of three “residential academies” that were designed to be all-day boarding schools for troubled 9-18 year olds. Other orphanages are being built by nonprofits, some Christian. S.O.S. Villages USA built three of them in the past five years. Other orphanages have recently appeared in San Diego, Estes Park, Colorado, and New Jersey.

Writing in Insight, Heidi Goldsmith, director of the Center for Residential Education, says that alternatives to orphanages, such as “returning abused and neglected children to their drug-abusing biological parents,” are not necessarily the best solution for troubled children. “What looks like a family isn’t necessarily what children need,” Goldsmith writes. “Children need a living setting which behaves like a family, providing them consistent love from caring adults, stability and satisfaction of their physiological needs. They need living environments which provide structure, values, a place they feel they belong and matter and where dreams are encouraged.”

Should orphanages be the first place troubled children are sent? Perhaps not. But given the failure of foster care and social work, America–and, perhaps, the world–could certainly use more orphanages. An enlightened Milton Hershey School board could use its vast wealth to ensure that orphanages become more common. Such a bold move would be the best way to adapt Milton Hershey’s ideas to a new century.

Martin Morse Wooster

Wooster is a senior fellow at the Capital Research Center. He is the author of three books: Angry Classrooms, Vacant Minds (Pacific Research Institute, 1994), The Great Philanthropists and the Problem of ‘Donor Intent’ (Capital…
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