Saleem Ghubril, executive director of The Pittsburgh Promise
By Molly Born / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Pittsburgh Promise has announced $8.8 million in new funding for the scholarship program for Pittsburgh Public Schools graduates, moving it closer to its 10-year, $250 million fundraising goal.
The new pledges, made public at a fundraising gala Thursday night, include $1.2 million raised through the event, $5 million from the Pittsburgh Foundation, a $1 million challenge grant from the Beacon Foundation, $750,000 from the Hillman Foundation and $500,000 from BNY Mellon, plus others.
Though it still has to raise $56 million for scholarships for at least through the class of 2028, the Promise is now at 77 percent of its fundraising goal.
“On behalf of the entire community, we are so very grateful to donors and all who support our scholars in giving them hope, opportunity and financial support to help achieve their dreams as they become part of the region’s workforce,” Saleem Ghubril, executive director of The Pittsburgh Promise, said in a news release.
Since 2008, the program has awarded more than 7,100 scholarships worth more than $91 million. About 1,600 graduates have earned some sort of credential after school and 2,800 are still enrolled.
Starting with this year’s graduating class, the maximum scholarship amount students can receive over a four-year period is $30,000 — down from $40,000, to help lengthen the life of the program.
A question that still remains is whether Wilkinsburg students attending Pittsburgh Westinghouse 6-12 would be eligible for the Promise. The program’s charter says city residency during high school is non-negotiable, but Mr. Ghubril indicated there is some effort underway to help the roughly 200 middle and high-schoolers attending the Homewood school.
“The Pittsburgh Promise is working with other community leaders on identifying a possible scholarship initiative for Wilkinsburg students,” he said, declining to elaborate.
Other new donations were $280,000 from an anonymous donor; $100,000 each from the Ruttenberg family and its American Textiles Co., and Promise board chairman Franco Harris and his wife, Dana, contributed $100,000; and $50,000 from Dr. and Mrs. Richard Hunt.
Molly Born: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1944 or on Twitter @molly_born.
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