Milton Hershey School Community Celebrates 100 Years of Founders’ Gift to School
During the month of November, the Milton Hershey School community will celebrate a big milestone—100 years since its founder Milton Hershey gifted his fortune to the school. Hershey placed 5,000 shares of equity stock in the Hershey Chocolate Company (now the Hershey Company) in a trust fund for the school. His gift ensured the well-being and future of Milton Hershey School in perpetuity.
It was on Nov. 13, 1918, that Hershey officially gifted his stocks. The decision was made after his beloved wife Catherine passed away in 1915, the country was suffering through the end of World War I, and sugar prices increased throughout the world.
“The media did not publicize Milton Hershey’s gift until five years later,” said MHS School Historian Susan Alger. “When the media eventually published stories about his gift, some criticized Hershey and believed he had made a mistake, but here we are 109 years later.”
Eventually, Hershey was interviewed for several publications expressing his reasons and plans for the future of the school. He told Liberty magazine in 1923, “It was natural for me to think of education and of orphans and boys whose mothers had hard times and wanted them to have the chance other boys had … I wanted to get away from the idea of institutions and charity and compulsion, and to give as many boys as possible real homes, real comforts, education, and training, so they would be useful and happy citizens.”
Today, Milton Hershey School has more than 2,000 current students enrolled in pre-K through 12th grade who are given an exceptional education, a nurturing home life environment, and medical and dental care at no cost to their families.
The school will celebrate the milestone with the following events:
- A special week-long (Nov. 5-9) schoolwide celebration honoring our founders.
- A Founders Feast on Sunday, Nov. 11 at 4 p.m. at the Hershey Lodge.
- A Founders Day assembly on Monday, Nov. 12 at 8 a.m. at the Hershey Theatre.