UNT PUSH program receives $40k King Foundation grant to help youth transition from foster care into higher education

Students will not only earn college credit at UNT, but receive a meal plan and residence too.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation granted $40,000 to the University of North Texas Persevere UNTil Success Happens (PUSH) program, which helps young adults who age out of foster care achieve educational success at UNT by focusing on academic, financial and career success, as well as the social well-being, of each student. The generous grant will be used to fund the Summer Bridge Program, an initiative that provides housing, programming and college transition services to incoming freshmen and transfer students. Participants also get an early start on their coursework.

“Approximately 18 percent of foster care alumni attend college and of those, only 3 percent graduate,” said Brenda Sweeten, clinical social work professor, PUSH advisor and UNT foster care liaison. “This grant will allow us to provide these youth with a supportive pathway to higher education and meaningful careers and gives hope to young people who may have felt there was none.”

Sweeten helped create PUSH as a student organization in 2012 after learning many former foster care students needed a support system and resources to help set them up for success at UNT. Thanks to the generosity of donors such as the King Foundation, PUSH, which is housed in the UNT Division of Student Affairs, has grown to serve hundreds of foster care alumni and helps these potentially at-risk students thrive on campus.  

This is the largest gift that the UNT System has received from the King Foundation and will allow PUSH to serve nearly 20 additional foster care alumni this summer.

“It is an honor to receive this grant from the King Foundation,” said David Wolf, vice president for university advancement. “This award allows UNT to expand this pilot program and allow more students to call UNT home.”

Neale Chumbler, dean of the College of Health and Public Service, says the King Foundation contribution will help PUSH transform even more lives at UNT.

“It’s important that these students feel like they’re part of the UNT family and PUSH provides them with that supportive network,” Chumbler said. “This grant from the King Foundation will allow us to open our arms and welcome even more of these students who are sometimes overlooked and provide them with opportunities they may otherwise have not had. We are grateful for their kindness and generosity.”

About the Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation

Carl B. and Florence E. King started the Foundation that bears their names in 1966. Established by gifts from Mr. and Mrs. King, as well as a later bequest from their daughter, Dorothy, the Foundation has now grown to more than $80 million in assets. The Foundation distributes more than $3 million per year to charities serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area, 38 counties in West Texas, and 32 counties in Arkansas.