Posted by Sanjiv Prabhakaran on Jun 29, 2018
 
Today Scott MacDonald revealed some interesting statistics on financial aid, college fees, etc. He grew up near Chicago and graduated from Indiana University and the U of North Carolina. He recently retired as Chairman and CEO of one of Australia’s largest commercial real estate companies. Prior to living in Sydney, he was CEO or President of several US based real estate companies and worked overseas with Morgan Stanley for several years advising on their real estate investments.
 
His latest book, Saving Investa, how an ex-factory worker helped save one of Australia’s iconic companies, was published last year and his next book, Think like a Dog, how dogs teach us to be happy in life and successful at work, is due to be published later in 2018. The new book was co-authored by his rescue dog, Sadie, and himself. 
 
Scott found that many challenged and low-income families had no way to pay for college due to high rise in fees. Since he did well in his career and felt that he did not need all the money he had made and decided to start a scholarship fund at Davidson College in Charlotte, North Carolina where his kids attended. He has endowed 8 scholarships at Davidson. He calls these Community Service Scholarships, where the qualification is not easy. Applicants need to develop special community projects in order to qualify for full college scholarships. It's a "Pay It Forward" concept. He said there is currently about $1.8 Trillion in student debt. And the U.S. government is going to write off billions off that amount. The primary reason for such high costs, as per Scott, is that the states are not contributing as much to education now as in the past and so the colleges are forced to raise tuition to cover the expenses.
 
 
He mentioned one story about a girl Olivia that called him while he was in Australia and met him. She was a recipient of the MacDonald scholarship and wanted to talk to Scott about how she qualified for it. She had moved to S. Carolina from Switzerland due to the need for warmer weather after her mother fell quite sick. Her father had passed away before she was born. She had a project in mind to build a school in Ethiopia. It required $20K in capital and about $20k in annual maintenance. She wrote a book filled with kids pictures and quotes and started selling those online for $50 and soon raised the $20K to build the school. Scott was moved by her story and started to seek out other such scholars to hear their stories.
 
Another story was about 26-year old Eli Kahn, who went to India and rented a 3-wheel scooter (called tut-tut) and drove across India from north to south delivering a hand-held solar light to impoverished villages so kids could study at night. This was sponsored by some solar panel companies. A full story of Scott appeared in the Union Tribune and can be seen here.
 
Scott then started approaching large universities, such as, University of N. Carolina and Indiana University to promote his scholarship fund concept. It took almost 2 years to go through the college bureaucracy and finally he seeded those funds and the universities then raised millions. As of now Univ. of N. Carolina has given out 12 scholarships, Indiana Univ. gave out 20 and several at University of Michigan. He struck a deal with University of San Diego such that he funds 1 per year and the university will fund 3 per year.
 
Scott is getting ready to publish his next book, which will be on the financial aid crisis. He distributed one his books "Saving Investa" to all the DMSB members that attended today. Go to MacDonald Scholarships for more information on Scott and his scholarships.
 
 
In the end, our in-coming club president Ken Barrett awarded the Joshua Malawi school certificate to Scott MacDonald that represents donation of school supplies by DMSB to schools in Malawi in the name of the speaker. 
 
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