A Johnson County couple was honored this week for their $3 million donation that has fully paid for 150 Kansas students’ college education, including tuition, housing and other fees.
The donation was made by Peter Mallouk, a Kansas City native and CEO of wealth management company Creative Planning, and his wife Veronica in 2017.
It funded the opening of a Kansas branch of Give Something Back, a national organization that provides college scholarships and mentoring to students who face economic hardship and other adversities.
To honor the Mallouk’s donation, Give Something Back founder Robert Carr presented the couple with a plaque bearing the names of the 150 students who received funding during a ceremony Tuesday afternoon at Creative Planning’s office in Overland Park.
Carr said out of all the students who were awarded the scholarship money, one student has already graduated college and many others are soon to follow.
“Over the four years, I think our retention rate is 91%,” he said.
However, Carr said, it is not just the Mallouks’ monetary donation that has brought success to the program, but the couple’s supply of mentors for the students.
Each student selected for the program is provided with a mentor to help guide them through high school and the complexities of college preparation.
“There are 87 active mentors in Kansas, 61 of them are employed with Creative Planning,” Carr said. “And we learned that having a mentor very involved in a student’s life to coach is what really makes a difference.”
A proponent of college education, Mallouk said he is thrilled to see how the program has gone thus far and looks forward to seeing how it will continue to impact the lives of Kansas students.
“I think that the biggest thing is if you can get somebody a college degree, you can solve a lot of future problems for them,” Mallouk said. “We don’t believe someone’s probability of success should be dependent on their zip code at birth either.”
Students are selected in the Give Something Back program in the eighth grade based on interviews and academic performance, then mentored through high school on their way to college.
If selected, students are then expected to maintain a B-average in college and demonstrate good character while receiving tutoring, guidance and other instructional help through high school.
Give Something Back’s Kansas branch is partnered with Baker University, Pittsburg State University, Kansas State University and Wichita State University to provide the selected individuals with a college education.