A $500,000 gift to the Pittsburg State University Foundation will give as many as 25 Kansas students who have experienced hardships the chance to attend PSU.

President Steve Scott called the gift “a story of generosity.” That story began with Bob Carr, who grew up in Illinois and received a $250 scholarship to attend college. Today, he’s a highly successful entrepreneur, philanthropist and author.

In 2003, he founded his non-profit, Give Something Back Foundation. The organization has prepaid more than $35 million in scholarships to help more than 1,500 students go to 20 colleges in six states. Such students might have been in the foster system, the children of incarcerated parents, or might have lost a parent to death.

Students are identified in their ninth-grade year, and are provided mentors and the tools to succeed. They are required to have a minimum 3.0 GPA in high school, take a college preparatory course load, and demonstrate strong character.

To bring the program to Kansas, Carr worked with a business partner, Kansas native Peter Mallouk, whose wife, Veronica Yaghmour Mallouk, grew up in Pittsburg. Peter is president and chief investment officer of Creative Planning, Inc.

Scott said there is tremendous need for such support of students. State funding is at the 2006 level, which has necessitated increasing tuition and fees.