Mission Statement

The mission of the Reach Scholars Foundation is to honor leadership; honor academic achievement; and give financial support to deserving high school seniors currently enrolled at a Seattle area high school. The intention of the scholarship is to encourage participation and excellence in higher education by “first generation” college students who are economically disadvantaged. A “first generation” college student is a person whose parents have never earned a bachelor’s degree.

The History behind Reach Scholars Foundation

Reach Scholars Foundation is the idea and product of Arnold Schaeffer and Deborah Chandler. While the Reach Scholars Foundation is a very young organization, college scholarships are not a new idea to us. After moving to Seattle in 2003, we decided to create a college scholarship fund through the Seattle Foundation. Our intention was to learn. We wanted to learn everything we could about what works and doesn’t work when awarding college scholarships. With the support of the Seattle Foundation, we have been very involved in reviewing applications, meeting applicants, and making award decisions. We also have built and maintained relationships with each of our scholarship recipients. Since 2003, we have awarded scholarships to students studying at University of Washington, Boston College, and MIT. It has been an extremely rewarding experience for us and as such, we decided to expand our efforts.

The Reach Scholars Foundation is the product of our decision to expand our scholarship program. We are a young organization and will apply what we’ve learned while we continue to learn as we go. We share a very strong belief in the value of education, where it can lead, and the difference it can make. We believe in fostering self-reliance and think it is important to consider post-education employment when selecting a field of study. We are interested in making a difference through scholarships and ongoing involvement with the recipients.

About Arnold Schaeffer

Originally from Philadelphia, Arnold (Arn) Schaeffer grew up knowing that education is important. While neither of his parents attended college, he was expected to attend college. Arn was a very enterprising child and eager to make his own way in the world. He sold pretzels on the street corner, shoveled snow and raked leaves for neighbors, delivered newspapers, worked in book stores and supermarkets. When Arn was 10 years old, the Philadelphia school system delivered a teletype terminal (with paper tape reader) to his public elementary school. He learned how to write simple BASIC programs and was hooked but didn’t really see computers again for another 5 years. Hanging out at Radio Shack and stealing time on the TRS-80 computers provided his first real introduction to the computer business. He saved his earnings and bought his first computer. “Why does anyone need a computer? You’ll lose interest in that in a week,” his Mom said. Well, this time, Mom was wrong! Arn created and sold computer programs before he finished high school. His mother loves to tell the story about a man who telephoned and asked for “Mr. Schaeffer”. It was the first she knew of Arn’s software enterprises. He grew up with dreams of studying computers and moving to California.

Arn attended The Georgia Institute of Technology and earned a B.S. in Information and Computer Science. And true to his dream, he moved to California and worked in the computer industry. Arn earned his M.B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley. His studies concentrated in finance, real estate and high tech ventures. Arn’s career in the software industry included managing large engineering and operations teams for a number of companies in Silicon Valley.

About Deborah Chandler

Originally from Chicago, Deborah Chandler grew up knowing that education is important. Her father said, “Get your education, it is the one thing you can’t lose and once you have it, no one can take it from you”. Deborah says that if she had a dime for every time her dad said this to her, it would have paid for her education. Both of Deborah’s parents attended college and she knew first hand that an education could be a life changer. Her parents grew up in poverty, living and working on farms in rural Tennessee. Her father, Joe, started college while in the Marine Corps and finished while her mother worked to support him. Joe earned a bachelor’s degree in business, moved the family to Chicago, and started a 30 year career as an investment banker. Her mother, Mary, started college while Deborah was in the third grade. At first, she attended community college. Mary had to fill in gaps left by a weak high school education. After completely an A.A. degree, Mary changed schools and earned her bachelor’s degree. Mary continued on and completed a master’s degree in social work. Deborah learned about the drive and dedication needed to succeed in college by simply seeing how hard her mother worked to go to school while taking care of her family.

Deborah attended Northwestern University and earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. Deborah earned her M.B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley. Her studies concentrated in marketing and strategic planning. Deborah’s career was in the computer services industry. She led and managed large marketing organizations. Deborah also managed a mission critical services business.

About Arn & Deborah Together

Arn and Deborah have been married since 1994. They share a love for the outdoors and adventure. They are avid mountain bikers. They enjoy hiking, backpacking, road cycling, and whitewater kayaking. Arn enjoys running, cooking, and learning to speak Spanish. Deborah enjoys baking and chocolate making. Whitewater kayaking is a new thing. Arn says whitewater kayaking is the activity that comes closest to making him feel like a kid again. Deborah says it is a cross between a roller coaster and a water slide. They are lucky to enjoy time spent together and time spent with family and friends. They consider themselves very lucky to have benefitted from the values instilled by their parents about the value of their educations and are committed to helping others pursue their educations.