An act of kindness allowed Verlyn “Swede” Roskam to fulfill his dream of a college education. In 1946, an Iowa family Swede had never even met, offered to pay his college tuition using money they received from their late son’s life insurance money.
Swede’s education became his key to success in the business world. But even with success, he had an ongoing urge to repay the kindness given to him and pass it on to others - the gift of education. In February 1982 he founded Educational Assistance Limited (EAL) on little more than an idea and a passion to make it happen.
EAL’s mission is to create scholarships for financially disadvantaged students at post secondary institutions through donations of inventory and other gifts. Swede’s vision was to ask corporations to donate their excess inventory to colleges that can make use of it. The colleges, in turn, would grant scholarships in amounts commensurate with the value of the donated merchandise. The result is that corporations would get tax write-offs and students in need would have more opportunities to fulfill their educational dreams.
When W.W. Grainger, a distributor of industrial equipment and supplies, donated merchandise worth nearly $5000 in scholarship money, Swedes dream took flight. Soon other corporate donors came to EAL’s door. Within two years, 11 schools had offered scholarships to over 60 students to the tune of $71,000.
Since those early days, EAL has raised millions of dollars and helped over 10,000 students at colleges nationwide. Today, EAL stands ready to take Swede’s dream to new heights of opportunity.
It all began with a simple act of kindness. In the case of “Swede” Roskam and EAL, the seed of kindness has indeed borne much fruit. Help us make it grow.