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Milton S. Hershey

Milton S. Hershey founded the Hershey Chocolate Company.

Hershey was born on September 13, 1857 at a farm near Derry Church in central Pennsylvania. He was born and raised as a Mennonite, being the descendant of Swiss-German Mennonites. He attended school up to 4th grade before becoming apprenticed to a printer in Gap, Pennsylvania. He was never successful as a printer and his interests turned elsewhere. At 18, he opened a candy business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After six years of operation, the business closed. After living in Denver, Colorado, he learned how to make high quality caramel. In 1886 he moved to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and opened the successful Lancaster Caramel Company. In 1894 he started the subsidiary, Hershey Chocolate Company, to create chocolate coatings for his caramel, cocoa drinks, and the famous Hershey's baking chocolate. He sold the Lancaster Caramel Company for $1 million in 1900 but retained the chocolate company and the rights to produce chocolate products.

He returned to his birthplace in 1903 to build the world's largest chocolate producing factory. The location, which was in the center of dairy farmland, would later become Hershey, Pennsylvania as houses, businesses, churches, and a transportation infrastructure accreted around the plant. Because the land was surrounded by dairy farms, he was able to use fresh milk to help mass-produce quality milk chocolate for which he became famous   When Milton and his wife Catherine could not have children, they decided to use their successes to benefit others. They opened the Hershey Industrial School, renamed in 1909 to the Milton Hershey School. The high school was intended for white boys who were orphans or came from broken homes. 

When Milton Hershey died, he willed his entire stake in his company to the school he founded. The trust fund has a majority of voting shares in Hershey Foods Corporation which allows it to keep control of the company. It also has 100 per cent control of the Hershey entertainment which includes the Hershey Hotel and Hershey Park. All profits from this trust fund are required to go to towards helping the children who go to the school. Due to the massive amounts of confectionery sold to date, the fund is worth billions.