Dan Price Gives a Classroom of Sixth Graders $1,000 College Scholarships

Dan Price, CEO of credit card processing company Gravity Payments and famous for cutting his salary to $70,000/year so he could raise his employees’ salaries to at least $70,000/year, has made a promise to a class of sixth graders at Woodbury Elementary School in Irvine, California.

The promise? To give each of the students a $1,000 college scholarship—as long as they each write him one letter per year.

What prompted this unusual offer? As NBC reports, the 33 Woodbury sixth graders each wrote Price a letter as part of a classroom project.

For the students, it was a chance to practice writing business letters. But teacher Hilary Dimitruk also saw a deeper lesson.

“This was a great example of all the values we try to instill in our students here,” she said.

Price, touched by the students’ writing, made a trip to Irvine to visit the classroom and answer questions about his business and his decision to take a salary cut so his employees could earn more. And then:

“If you write one letter every year, I am going to set aside a $1,000 scholarship for every single one of you,” Price announced.

I’ve had the opportunity to meet Dan Price, and he is kind and thoughtful and absolutely genuine about what he does—this is no Scott’s Tots scenario. (In a story like this, you’ve got to work the Scott’s Tots reference in there somewhere.) Watch the video to hear Price speak to the classroom of sixth graders. The students are excited, engaged, and enthusiastic even before he makes his announcement—and then they erupt in applause and gratitude.

Do you think the students will write their letters? It’ll be sad if an excited sixth-grader eventually grows into an overworked high school student who thinks “it’s not like $1,000 is going to make a difference” and takes a pass on the yearly epistle—or, more likely, forgets about it. A year is a long time to remember to keep up a correspondence, and I bet these kids have not yet learned the life-changing power of David Allen’s Getting Things Done responsibility tracking system.

I hope the Woodbury teachers help remind these students to keep up their part of the bargain. After all, while $1,000 isn’t much, a connection to Dan Price might turn out to be extremely valuable, since he’s already proven that he is very interested in helping people succeed.

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