Pittsburgh Promise attracts new money for scholarship fund


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As the Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program today announced plans to raise $90 million in two years, two companies said they each will donate $1 million.

American Eagle Outfitters and Mylan announced their commitment at a Promise event this morning at Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch said the gift would provide access and open a new world to students.

Marcie Eberthart, president of the AEO Foundation, said the program is a vehicle for her company to become a "great corporate citizen in our community."

The Pittsburgh Promise offers post-secondary scholarships to graduates of city public schools, both district schools and bricks-and-mortar charter schools. Students who met certain academic, attendance and residence requirements are eligible for up to $40,000 in scholarships to Pennsylvania schools.

The Promise began with a challenge grant of $100 million made by UPMC in December 2007 for a program beginning with the Class of 2008. It provided $10 million in the first year and offered $1 for every $1.50 raised in subsequent years for 10 years, up to $10 million a year for a total of an additional $90 million.

During the past few years, the Promise didn't raise enough to get the full match from UPMC, but it was announced today that UPMC will provide the full $90 million match -- for a total of $100 million -- no matter how long it takes.

The Promise had an initial goal of $250 million and, counting the UPMC gift, has $160 million in commitments.

It had planned to spend longer getting the rest but instead decided to try to capture the momentum of successful Promise graduates and raise the remainder within two years.

The effort has widespread corporate support with Martin McGuinn, retired chairman and CEO of Mellon Financial Corp., and David Shapira, executive chairman of Giant Eagle's board of directors, serving as co-chairs of the corporate committee. Twenty-two others have signed on as honorary co-chairs.

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Education writer Eleanor Chute: echute@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1955. First Published April 22, 2013 1:30 PM


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