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On February 2, 1982, Verlyn “Swede” Roskam realized his dream of “paying forward” the gift of a college scholarship he received thirty years earlier. That act of kindness inspired him, and his ingenious colleague Dan Mickelson, to help others receive the benefit of a college education too. They believed that education was the single most powerful way to improve a person’s life.
Then one winter day while reading a business article about companies overloaded with
inventory, a lightbulb went off in their collective minds. Why not ask them to
donate their excess inventory to colleges that can use it? The colleges then could
give scholarships to students with financial need equal to the value of the goods. The
donors would receive a tax benefit. Colleges would receive equipment they needed. And
students would improve their lives through a college education, just like they dreamed.
EAL was born!