Hershey school proposes a PA network of six free early learning childhood centers with $350 million

By Bob Fernandez October 1, 2020

The Milton S. Hershey School for poor children, which has faced criticism over how few students it helps despite its riches, has proposed to spend $350 million on six centers throughout Pennsylvania to offer free infant and early childhood services to 900 kids.

The Early Childhood Resource Centers — if approved by a Dauphin County court — would be the first time the privately funded charitable school, with assets around $15 billion and 2,100 students, has offered to help impoverished children outside of its residential campus in rural Hershey.

The Hershey School controls the highly profitable Hershey Co. candy giant, which finances it with a torrent of stock dividends.

The plan requires the approval of Dauphin County Orphans’ Court to determine whether the project should be financed and is consistent with the Hershey School’s mission, which is guided by Milton and Catherine Hershey’s 1909 deed creating an orphanage and trade school.