Cleveland State University receives $500,000 to help foster-care youths

CLEVELAND, Ohio- Cleveland State University has received a $500,000 gift to advance the school’s nationally recognized efforts to help students who have aged out of the foster-care system, the university said in a news release.

The gift, from Thomas and Marsha Hopkins, will create the Mathilde Jane Gutow Endowed Fund, which will provide support for housing assistance, meal-plan assistance, book stipends and family emergency stipends.

It will also support the tutoring, peer mentorship and socio-cultural support offered through the Pratt Center, which was created in 2016 following a $1 million gift from Barbara and Frank Sullivan.

Cleveland State receives $1 million gift for foster care youth support center

“Foster children are one of the least likely groups to graduate from college and one of the most at-risk cohorts in our society,” CSU President Ronald Berkman said in the release. “This generous donation will strengthen the Pratt Center’s efforts to create a holistic system of support that can ensure these students receive the financial, academic and social assistance necessary to help them succeed at CSU and beyond.”

Tom Hopkins earned his master’s in psychology at CSU in 1982 and spent his professional career at Sherwin-Williams, retiring as the company’s senior vice president for human resources. He currently serves as an executive-in-residence with CSU’s Division of Career Services.

The fund is named in honor of Marsha Hopkins’ mother, Mathilde Jane Gutow, a former foster child who served in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Case Western Reserve University and worked for many years as a social worker and teacher.

“Jane overcame a tremendous number of societal, emotional, economic and life issues to complete her education at the highest levels, serve her country, raise a family and be an active member of her community,” Tom Hopkins said in the release. “We are pleased to offer the foster students of Cleveland State University the opportunity to build meaningful and satisfying lives through the Mathilde Jane Gutow Endowment Fund.”