The Pittsburgh Promise today announced it has raised an additional $7.6 million for scholarships, bringing the total raised in its first four years to $160 million toward its goal to raise $250 million over 10 years.
The formal announcement will be made at the Promise gala tonight at Stage AE on the North Shore, which culminates a two-week celebration of the first class of Promise scholars to earn four-year degrees.
The Promise provides scholarships to city public school students who meet certain academic, attendance and residency requirements. The original group -- which graduated from high school in 2008 -- was eligible for up to $5,000 a year for four years of postsecondary education. The amount since has been raised to $10,000 a year for four years.
Promise executive director Saleem Ghubril estimated that about 350 to 400 of the first Promise group are graduating this year from four-year schools, some in December, and about 200 others completed two-year programs.
"It absolutely feels to me right now there's wind in our sails," said Mr. Ghubril. "When we first started, the message of the Promise was we're making this audacious promise. It's a huge price tag. We have nothing to show for it. Trust us.
"Now the message is the promise is still audacious. The price tag is still hefty. But here are results."
The Promise also announced it will name certain scholarships after five corporate donors that have contributed at least $1 million to the Promise. The donors are UPMC, Highmark, PNC, Giant Eagle and BNY Mellon.
Five high school seniors will be selected each year for each corporate sponsor, a designation that will then build relationships that could lead to internships and employment. The first group will be selected over the summer from Promise students going to college this fall.
Some of the latest contributions include:
• The Heinz Endowments, which already provided $6 million over three years. It has agreed to provide another $6 million over three years, bringing its total to $12 million.
• The Pittsburgh Foundation has added $500,000, bringing its total to $6.5 million.
• The University Club of Pittsburgh Charitable and Educational Trust, $562,000 in honor of Wayne R. Oates and Zelda B. Oates.
• BNY Mellon, a $500,000 commitment, bringing its donations to $1 million.
Education writer Eleanor Chute: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1955. First Published June 14, 2012 12:45 AM