Pete Kadens, a self-made man, says that providing education for students is his responsibility and it's not to be seen as a gift.
Pete Kadens is what you would call a self-made man. He's got three thriving businesses and made a fortune for himself. However, Kadens says he didn't win at life fair and square. He adds that not many successful people do. Since he's got so much from society, he decided to give some of it back, but what really stands out is that instead of referring to it as a "gift" he decided to use the term "responsibility." Kadens, a Toledo native himself, recently announced he would pay tuition, room and board, books and fees for the seniors at Scott High School in Toledo, Ohio.
I love stories like this - Pete Kadens shocked the community in Toledo, Ohio, when he told a class of high school seniors that he would pay for their college tuition… for them and one parent... but don’t call it a gift. #charity https://t.co/oe9Q2xnvCG— Rob Boulware (@rboulware) February 8, 2020
He will be spending about $3 million so that the students get a chance to go to college, reports CBS News. In addition, Kadens offered to pay for their parents or legal guardian to go to college or trade school, too, for free. According to WTVG, he said, "I had to come back to my hometown, the community that gave me my tools ... and give back. Scott High School has been under-served for so many years."
We've seen several wealthy people do good deeds, but Kadens has an interesting perspective on it. He refers to him giving back to his community as his "responsibility" as opposed to a "gift". The latter implies a choice, while the former indicates an obligation. Kadens was fortunate enough to attend a much wealthier school and the natural progression of which was college. His hard work paid off and was successfully able to run three businesses. He said, "What became of my life was as much a factor of the inequities that exist in our society today as it was my skills, my talents, and my work ethic," he said.
"If hopelessness is the inverse of justice,— H.O.P.E. Toledo (@HopeTolPromise) February 11, 2020
then HOPE is the beginning of opportunity and endless possibility."
- Pete Kadens, H.O.P.E.Toledo Founder https://t.co/Qt3Dy8rcuj#EducationMatters pic.twitter.com/pLoHhik3mZ
Kadens is well aware of the opportunities he had in front of him and realized the pool of people he competed with were very small, given that there were many others who didn't have the same resources as he did. "The competitive set, the people I compete with, were a lot smaller than otherwise could be if everyone got the same level of education. And Martin Luther King always said history has a long and sordid path of people and groups with privilege protecting their privilege. Well, I'm done protecting my privilege," he said.
"What became of my life was as much a factor of inequities that exist in our society today as it was my skills, talents, and work ethic," says Pete Kadens. "I'm done protecting my privilege," says Kadens.https://t.co/grw8SbCD9r— Leslie Camden Goold (@LCGoold) February 8, 2020
With his generous announcement, Kadens has quite possibly changed the fate of many students and parents. Now, he hopes he can change mindsets too. "I hope others share in my responsibility in Toledo and around the world," he said. According to Fox 2, "The pledge is part of Kadens’ new H.O.P.E. Toledo initiative, an educational funding program that aims to provide under-resourced public school students access to post-secondary education through community donations. The program hopes to raise $100 million so that all Toledo-area students and under-educated parents can go to college, debt-free." As Kaden aptly puts it, "If hopelessness is the inverse of justice, then HOPE is the beginning of opportunity and endless possibility."