Care to Change the World

Fort Worth philanthropists and Longhorn parents John David and Leslie Moritz are giving back to the UT social work students who care for our communities.
header

The Moritz family was inspired by their experience with social workers in hospice care. From left to right: Anna Moritz, a rising senior in the Moody College of Communication, John David Moritz, Meg Moritz, B.A. ’19, and Leslie Moritz.

Social workers support us at some of the defining moments of our lives: illnesses, recoveries, births, deaths, and virtually any other moment of challenge or transition—and the memory of their care is often an inspiration to pay it forward.

Fort Worth philanthropists and Longhorn parents John David and Leslie Moritz were inspired to give back to students in The University of Texas at Austin’s Steve Hicks School of Social Work for just that reason. “When my father was in hospice, I saw firsthand the importance of social work in the care that he received,” says Moritz. “In fact, this is what my family remembers most about that time.”

This spring the Moritz family gave more than $1 million to support the future of social work—investing in innovative approaches to its future, and offering a helping hand to UT students already making a difference in their communities.

Social Work for Health

As much of 80% of our health is determined by factors outside of medicine and medical settings. For that reason, “the skills provided by social workers are more important than ever to achieving better health outcomes for patients and their families,” says Barbara Jones, associate dean for health affairs at the Steve Hicks School and chair of the Department of Health Social Work, a new collaboration with Dell Medical School.

The department, the first of its kind within a medical school, brings clinical social workers onto multidisciplinary health care teams. “I believe health care and social work go hand in hand,” says John David Moritz. The results are promising. Early clinical outcomes from a Dell Med care team with integrated social work are the best they’ve ever been.

The Moritz family’s investment provides startup funding for the department, supports two clinical social workers for three years, and endowed the Moritz Family Scholarship for Social Work. Their gift to establish the scholarship was matched by the Steve Hicks School, creating a $1 million permanent source of support for social work students aspiring to work in health care.

change the world insetgraphic

Caring for Those Who Care for Us

UT’s social work students make a difference in their communities before they even receive their degree. Through required field education, they spend hundreds of hours interning in places like social work agencies, nonprofits, schools, legal clinics, health care providers, shelters, and recovery programs. These experiences are almost always unpaid, and many future social workers take on additional student debt to cover their living expenses, which they carry into their first—often low-paying—jobs as social workers.

“Financial support for social work students allows them to engage with the work of learning and not simply survive the stress of school,” says Tanya Voss, clinical professor and assistant dean for field education at the Steve Hicks School.

To meet those needs, John David and Leslie Moritz made a gift to create the Moritz Family Student Support Fund, an on-demand resource that provides much-needed financial assistance to students completing their field placements.

“The Moritz family’s scholarship enables our students to focus on the education they came to UT to get,” says Voss. “It lets the students know their contributions are valued.”

“John David and Leslie’s deep understanding of the pivotal role of social workers is matched by their generosity and unwavering commitment to our students,” says Allan Cole, dean of the Steve Hicks School. “They are not just helping them today, but making a lifetime impact by lightening the financial burden for the Longhorns who care for our communities.”

school of social work image
Help UT students who are dedicating their lives to helping others. Visit the Steve Hicks School of Social Work online or contact Marie Cloutier, executive director of development, at marie.cloutier@austin.utexas.edu.

Changing the world

More from this series

All About the People

All About the People

From four generations of family business to the McCombs School of Business, alumni Billy and Rozanne Rosenthal say that it’s all about the people.

Engineering the Big

Engineering the Big

Alumnus Fariborz Maseeh tackles the next generation of engineering challenges through a transformational investment in one of UT’s top departments.

World-Classroom

World-Classroom

Five years after its founding, take a look at the impact of UT’s President’s Award for Global Learning on students, faculty and communities around the world.

Skip to content