During a trolley tour of the town of Hershey today, we learned that Milton Hershey, the founder of the eponymous chocolate company, did not have children – so no heirs to his vast fortune. Instead, at the turn of the 20th century, he and his wife founded the Milton Hershey School to serve orphaned boys. After his wife died, he seeded the Milton Hershey School Trust with $63 million to ensure the future of the school; today, the trust is worth more than $7 billion and is the controlling owner of the privately held Hershey company. Needless to say, the school is now one of the wealthiest private schools in the world, serving 1,900 underprivileged boys and girls in grades K-12.
All of the profits from sales of the chocolate and the company’s entertainment arm – Hershey Park, the two hotels, the restaurants, the arena – go back into the trust and therefore, the school. With all that money, it’s not surprising that there are free sample chocolates everywhere you turn. And it’s all for a good cause, which makes eating all those chocolates even sweeter.