In an online survey, readers were asked, "What would you do with Milton Hershey's billions of dollars to advance his mission of educating poor and needy children?" Here are some responses. Read more online at philly.com/HersheyResponse.
Milton Hershey's legacy could save an educational system and the city of Chester. Endow a model educational program for perhaps Pennsylvania's poorest and neediest children and families. Become the stable anchor of what was Delaware County's County Seat until 1850 and provide this once thriving waterfront city with the opportunity to become a vital piece to Pennsylvania's future.
- Phil Damiani, Media
Rename parts of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh "Hershey" and open schools there.
- Chuck Lewis, Lansdale
Open a long term drug rehab for teens.
- John Kinnaird, Avon, Ohio
I would create afterschool literacy programs throughout the state modeled after the Scranton School District's "Homework Diner." This low-cost measure targets students in grades 1-3, as studies show students living in poverty who can't read at their level by the end of 3rd grade are 14 times more likely to drop out.
- Justin MacGregor, Scranton
Open charter schools for that population across the state. As schools of choice, students and their families would be attracted, not assigned, thereby increasing cooperation and the potential for success. This would also be the best way to leverage both public and private dollars to address a dire situation. If educating low-income children presents their best hopes for the future, the marriage of the Hershey resources with the innovation that is found in the charter sector offers tremendous promise.
- David P. Hardy, Philadelphia
Create an endowment for poor school districts in PA.
- Sam Arnold, Philadelphia
I would use funds to assist public schools and/or other programs in areas of higher poverty to offer pre-K classes. This would broaden the reach of the trust to assist even more children. Mr. and Mrs. Milton Hershey would probably agree that the benefits could expand beyond the Hershey area given the growth of the Hershey company.
- Paula Bussard, Carlisle
Design, export to Philadelphia, and fully fund a comprehensive pre-school program for poor children. Early childhood education is crucial, and many children from poor homes do not have the opportunity to attend NAEYC-accredited pre-school programs. If they aren't read to and taught at home, then kindergarten is their first encounter with anything scholastic. We need high quality pre-school to help children build a foundation for their education.
- Rachael Berget, Philadelphia