"Knowledge is power." Of the many Dad-isms of my childhood, none stand out more today.
My dad's story is one of defying great odds: through a sheer force of will unfamiliar to most. But, perhaps most importantly, through the recognition that only one thing stood in between his homelessness in Manhattan's subway stations and his most improbable dreams: an education.
For far too many years, he broke his back as a dishwasher, busboy, and deliveryman to make his college education a reality. If there is one gift I know he would most deeply appreciate given to a stranger in his name – so they too could own their destiny – it is the power of knowledge.
This year, it is my honor to donate $25,000 in my dad's name to Scholarship America and specifically its Families of Freedom Scholarship Fund, which ensures children of parents lost or severely affected by the 9/11 attacks are able to fulfill their educational dreams and become every bit the person they were meant to be.