UNT PUSH program receives $50k King Foundation grant to help youth transition from foster care into higher education

The funding will provide case management services, housing and meal plans for the UNT students.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation granted $50,000 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 achievements, as well as the social well-being of each student. The generous grant will be used to provide programming and college transition services to incoming freshmen and transfer students who are part of PUSH from Spring 2021 to Spring 2022.

“Supporting students who have experienced foster care presents a lot of challenges, especially during a pandemic. It absolutely takes the university and community village to provide the resources students need to be successful,” said Brenda Sweeten, clinical associate professor of social work, PUSH advisor, UNT foster care liaison officer and director of social work field education. “This grant from the King Foundation will allow us to not only meet basic housing and dining needs of students, but to also provide truly dedicated advocacy and case management support that will ensure they are on the right track. We are so grateful to again benefit from the foundation’s generosity.”

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.

“The King Foundation’s generosity is going to help us ensure our foster care alumni are more engaged in their college experience,” said Melissa McGuire, associate vice president for student affairs. “We will be able to incentivize students to utilize the support services and programs we know will lead to their success. Additionally, the funds will allow us to provide support to our students where many need it most—their housing and food insecurities.”

This is the largest gift that the UNT System has received from the King Foundation to date.

About the Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation:
arl 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.