The Thrive Story


The Thrive Center for Human Development was made possible by a series of generous gifts from Robert and Dorothy King and the foundational scholarship of the former Center for Research on Child and Adolescent Development. Motivated by their vision to see all youth thrive and become all they were created to be, the Kings endowed the Thrive Center for Human Development in 2011.

The Thrive Center is a multidisciplinary research center within the School of Psychology and Marriage and Family Therapy at Fuller Theological Seminary. The Thrive Center was established with a dual mission as both an academic research center that teaches and mentors future scholars in the field of psychology, and a non-profit organization that conducts and converts research about human thriving into applied resources to inspire, educate, and equip youth workers, educators, coaches, parents, mentors, and other adults who care for the world's youth.

The Thrive Center has engages in empirical research to discover new knowledge that promotes thriving in adolescence, and has a strong tradition of research in the areas of positive youth development, character virtue and strengths, moral development, emotional health and well-being, and religious and spiritual development.

About Our Founders

Robert King is the founder and former President of R. Eliot King & Associates, Inc., an active venture investor in US and international companies. He is a pioneering social entrepreneur with his wife, Dorothy, who partnered with him to launch R. Eliot King & Associates and volunteered with many different youth organizations, all while raising their three children. They established the Thrive Foundation for Youth in 1995 in Menlo Park, California to support organizations and environments that enable young people to thrive, becoming all that God intends.

Together, Robert and Dorothy have wholeheartedly empowered youth to develop into thriving adults. In addition to their own children, over the years the Kings provided support by hosting international students at Stanford University. They enjoy becoming a part of these students’ lives and supporting them in the pursuit of their goals. The Kings have developed lifelong relationships with their students, and have been known to provide the initial support toward entrepreneurial endeavors. Hospitality and grace are two words that define who they are and their legacy.

In 1995, they believed in promoting pioneering research and youth work in fields that makes a real difference in people’s lives across the world. In 2016, they created King Philanthropies in order to organize and advance the pursuit of their philanthropic ambitions. King Philanthropies’ mission is to alleviate extreme poverty by magnifying the impact of high-performance leaders and organizations.

The Thrive Center joins the efforts of the Thrive Foundation, King Philanthropies, and other organizations supporting youth development through our research and resources. The Center aims to contribute to the King’s legacy of touching and transforming the lives of youth.

Explore Our Resources

Browse through the resources that have funded through the generosity of the Robert and Dorothy King.