Michael's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Dreamers

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Nashville, TN

MICHAEL SPALDING

Founder
Equal Chance for Education

“Not everyone’s going to be pulling for you, whether you’re an undocumented immigrant, or a blonde kid from Kentucky whose parents never went to college. It’s all just one day at a time.”

INTERESTS:

Non-Profit Organizations Politics

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Community Opportunity Support & Encouragement Education Individualism Talent Conflict Culture Exploration Hobbies & Pastimes Self-Reflection Honesty

FOUNDATION:

Helping People

TAGS:

asking for help, college, culture, equality, finances, helping others, injustice, interest, leaving home, mentors, network, opinions, opportunity, resources, sharing stories, students, uncertainty, unconventional path, undocumented

BIOGRAPHY:

  • He grew up in Bowling Green, Kentucky; no one in his family had gone to college, but he received a scholarship to Washington and Lee University.
  • Since he hadn’t expected to go to college, he felt like a fish out of water when he arrived.
  • He asked his counselor if he could join the architecture major and was told that there was no such program at Washington and Lee; instead, he was pointed down the pre-med path.
  • After finishing medical school, he moved to Nashville and opened a urology practice, where he worked for over 40 years.
  • He retired in 2013; shortly thereafter, he learned that the daughter of one of his dear friends would likely be unable to attend college because she was an undocumented immigrant.
  • After crunching the numbers, he realized that the economic benefit of sending undocumented immigrants to college far outweighed the economic implications of deporting them.
  • When he looked around for organizations that were helping to send these students to college, he found nothing and no one, so he decided to start his own nonprofit.
  • That organization—Equal Chance for Education—has now provided college scholarships to 93 students.

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