On Sunday night’s episode of 60 Minutes, successful Chicago businessman Pete Kadens explained how his charity, Hope Chicago, would cover the cost of in-state college tuition for thousands of underprivileged students and their parents.
The Toledo, Ohio native was able to retire at the age of 40 after starting five companies and building his wealth.
“I’m a guy who got really lucky in life,” Kadens said, according to CBS News. “I’m a guy who won a lot of lotteries: The birth lottery, the zip code lottery, the education lottery. And when I think about having won all those lotteries and all the people who are suffering, it’s my chance to give them those same opportunities. That’s who I am.”
Kadens shared with the CBS ran news show about his own guilt over having built such a fortune while others who didn’t have the same opportunities as him experienced shortcomings.
“I feel horribly guilty that I created this amount of wealth, and that so many people are still suffering,” Kadens said, later adding, “I just think that fundamentally, there is a misunderstanding in this country that college is accessible to everybody, and the fact is, no it is not.”
During the 60 Minutes broadcast, cameras caught the moment Kadens made the announcement to Johnson College Prep on Chicago’s south side. The crowd burst into applause, cheers, and tears. Kadens would then go on to do the same at four other Chicago schools.
And while others might feel that the privileged philanthropist is crazy, Kadens is well aware of the impact he is making.
“We will end up funding about 30,000 individuals to go to college or trade school in the city of Chicago,” Kadens said. “Over what period of time?” Scott Pelley asked. “Over the next decade,” Kadens responded. “That makes this the largest scholarship program in the country.”