I was saddened to see the news yesterday that Co Founder of Costco Jeff Brotman has passed away. I first met Jeff in Sept 2000, when was an Junior at Seattle University. I was asked to give a speech at a scholarship breakfast to raise money to help minority students be able to afford higher education. In my speech I spoke about the problems I was having being able to afford my education at Seattle University and the factors at play. The next day I left on a life changing trip to Calcutta, India to work with the Sisters of Charity for three months.
When I returned to Seattle in December of 2000, I was notified that I had a full ride scholarship from the Costco Scholarship Fund. Needless to say this was life changing as I had already racked up$22,000 in debt from the first two years of undergraduate work and had not registered for school as a result of fear of more debt.
Throughout the years, I was continually surprised and touched at how much Jeff and Jim cared about minority education and its ability to transform lives through the economic opportunity that comes with being able to complete school. As the company developed, I have always been proud that Costco has become the worlds largest organic supplier. Costco employees have excellent working conditions and good medical insurance and benefits. Finally, I love that Costco dropped American Express as its card of choice, something that I believe to be in line with their values. As chairman of the board, Jeff was undoubtedly involved in many of these decisions. I love that their motto was "Do the right thing".
In short, Jeff Brotman has touched my life with a opportunity at prosperity that comes from education. Through their scholarship fund they have touched thousands of other students lives and thousands more to come. Thank you Jeff for being you, for caring so much. For touching our lives.