Scholarship America's Founder: Irving Fradkin

"The most valuable asset this country has is not gold or oil, but the minds of young people." —Dr. Irving A. Fradkin

Dr. FradkinIn 1958, Dr. Irving A. Fradkin, an optometrist in Fall River, Mass., founded the initial Dollars for Scholars chapter by challenging everyone in his community to give at least one dollar toward sending its youth to college.

Dr. Fradkin ran for the Fall River School Board in 1957 on a platform calling for community-supported scholarships for local students. Despite his electoral defeat, Dr. Fradkin pursued his idea—which blossomed into Dollars for Scholars, Scholarship America’s flagship program—a nationwide organization that today represents nearly 700 affiliates in thousands of communities across America.

For the last fifty-plus years, Dr. Fradkin has continued to work tirelessly for Scholarship America, for students in Fall River (where he still resides with his wife Charlotte), and for education in America. Among Dr. Fradkin’s numerous honors include the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators’ Distinguished Service Award, the 2010 NCAN "Champion for College Access" Award, the Isaiah Avila Award for “Uncommon Common Man,” the Schow-Donnelly Service Before Self Award and a recognition from the Presidential Task Force on Private Sector Initiatives. He was also awarded an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, New England College of Optometry.

The Dream Award

Dream Award Scholarship America’s Dream Award is a renewable scholarship fund targeted toward completion. These annually-increasing awards will be given to students selected from across the nation who are entering their second year of education beyond high school.

2014 Annual Report

In 2014, more than 125,000 students received over $236 million in scholarship support and assistance from Scholarship America – a record-breaking year for the nation's largest provider of private scholarships.


Visit our 2014 annual report to learn more about our successes, our students and our future.

Success By Degrees

Scholarship America's blog, Success By Degrees, covers items of interest to parents, volunteers, educators and anyone interested in the big issues surrounding education, financial aid and postsecondary success. You'll find policy announcements, news releases and more, every week!

Become a Volunteer