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New St. David’s Foundation Grant Supports UT Austin Social Work Students and Central Texas Nonprofits

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AUSTIN, Texas – As part of their professional education, master’s students at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin complete more than 1,000 hours of internship in Texas agencies and nonprofits. Many organizations, however, can’t partake in this mutually beneficial arrangement because they don’t have at least one master’s level social worker on staff who can supervise interns.

A new grant from the St. David’s Foundation addresses this challenge through the creation of the Earl Maxwell Scholars Program at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work.

During the next seven years, 10 master’s students will be selected as Earl Maxwell scholars each year and receive a $10,000 fellowship each. The funds will also support a full-time clinical faculty member at the Steve Hicks School that will allow Earl Maxwell scholars to complete their required supervised internship in Central Texas agencies and nonprofit organizations without a social work supervisor on staff.

The program honors Earl Maxwell, who retired as CEO of the St. David’s Foundation in December 2019 after more than 12 years in that professional role.

“We are deeply grateful to Earl Maxwell and the board of St. David’s Foundation for generously building on our long-standing partnership,” said Steve Hicks School Dean Luis H. Zayas. “This program will honor Earl’s decades of service to Central Texas and create another pathway for Steve Hicks School students and graduates to serve our community.”

The $1.7 million grant will benefit primarily master’s level students with relevant professional experience and completing advanced requirements. An advisory panel made up of Steve Hicks faculty members, a St. David’s Foundation representative, and a nonprofit leader will identify Central Texas community social and health services organizations that may benefit from hosting Earl Maxwell scholars as interns.

“The Earl Maxwell Scholars Program is an innovative way to fill a gap for nonprofit organizations by giving them access to social work interns who are pursuing their master’s degree,” said Peter Pincoffs, board chair for St. David’s Foundation. “I can’t think of a more fitting way to recognize Earl’s dedication to the community.”