As a teen from Newark, New Jersey, Roland Adewumi ’98 enrolled at Milton Hershey School in 1994 when he was in ninth grade. It took time for him to adjust to the school, but he says his houseparents helped him feel comfortable.
“I had great houseparents who gave me that pillar where I could feel comfortable,” said Roland. “I felt comfortable because I never saw such comradery between students and houseparents.”
At MHS, Roland took business classes and developed an interest in agriculture thanks to the school’s Agricultural and Environmental Education program.
“My passion for agriculture was cultivated on the grounds at MHS. Every summer, I’d work at the farmhouse on campus, and for three years straight, I didn’t want to go home,” he explained. “I’d stay at MHS in the summer helping with irrigation and picking apples and peaches. The experience itself set the stage and created the groundwork for what I’m doing today.”
After graduating in 1998, Roland established a company called Global Kingdom Funding Group—a platform for humanitarian initiatives around the world. Recently, he partnered with several Nigerian companies through a project called Operation Feed the People.
“Ultimately, the goal is to invest in the platform of agriculture and find out how we can provide food [to Nigerians],” said Roland. “No one should be hungry. My desire, drive and compassion for people started at MHS and it’s grown [over time].”
As he works on this project, he plans to collaborate with MHS students through social media. During a recent visit to Pennsylvania, he presented to a class of STEAM students and introduced the project. They will be designing and prototyping an irrigation system to help Roland’s watermelon crops.
“I want these students to understand that you can dream. And if you dream, you can achieve,” said Roland. “I want them to take in as much as they can at MHS, because if they appreciate the opportunity, a better quality of life will come out of it.”
Roland says he learned about faith and family at MHS, and it’s these foundational skills that he passes on to his own children. It’s also the motivation he carries with him throughout his philanthropy.
“Milton Hershey is my biggest role model,” Roland said. “The philanthropic work that is established at MHS is what inspires me on a daily basis to figure out how I can give back to my community and carve out my legacy moving forward.”