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.

The Scholarship Coach

The Scholarship CoachScholarship America's blog, The Scholarship Coach, appears weekly at, featuring expert advice on all kinds of scholarship issues. Here on the site, we feature a new highlight from the blog every week, and you can also download a free Scholarship Coach e-book!

Focus On The Finish Line

Scholarship America is dedicated to helping students get their degrees. Our 2013 Annual Report, Focus on the Finish Line, features statistics, stories, and student accounts of the importance of college completion.


Visit the online report to learn more and hear from our President, Lauren Segal.

Become a Volunteer