Benedum Foundation awards $2.5 million grant to The Pittsburgh Promise
PITTSBURGH, Pa., February 5, 2009 -- The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation is the latest foundation to add its support to The Pittsburgh Promise with a grant of $2.5 million over the next five years. The grant will be paid in annual installments of $500,000.
Established in 1944, the Benedum Foundation focuses its grantmaking in Southwestern Pennsylvania on education and economic development, and has been a dedicated supporter and consistent funder of the Pittsburgh Public Schools reform efforts.
“We view The Pittsburgh Promise as an integral part of the school district’s reform efforts to prepare all students for success in college and provide the means to make higher education possible,” said James Denova, Vice President of the Benedum Foundation.
The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation awarded grants of more than $21 million in 2008. The Foundation was established in 1944 by Michael and Sarah Benedum, natives of West Virginia, as a memorial to their only child, Claude Worthington, who died in 1918 at the age of 20. The Foundation is a regional foundation focusing primarily on West Virginia and Southwestern Pennsylvania.
This latest grant takes the Promise fundraising total for the current academic year to almost $8.5 million. For the 2008/09 school year this also includes $1 million from the Massey Charitable Trust, $3 million from The Pittsburgh Foundation, $300,000 from The Buhl Foundation, $2 million from The Heinz Endowments and $1 million from The Grable Foundation. Additionally, approximately $600,000 has been contributed by individual donors, small family foundations and organizations.
The Promise must raise a total of $15 million by June 30, 2009 in order to receive the full annual $10 million challenge element of UPMC’s commitment for the current school year.
“Our fundraising so far is a huge achievement, especially against the background of one of the worst economic crises in recent years, and the depleted capacities of our region’s grantmaking organizations,” said Saleem Ghubril, Executive Director of The Pittsburgh Promise.
“This helps to underscore recognition of the importance of the Promise, especially among our foundation community, and I am deeply grateful to the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. At the same time, this level of support conveys the significance and value of the Promise and the hope it infuses in our city’s families and children, something I am privileged to experience every day in the faces and comments of our students, whose dreams of a college education are becoming reality.”
The Pittsburgh Promise program was established at The Pittsburgh Foundation in December 2007 with a $100 million commitment from UPMC, including an initial $10 million to support the 2008 graduates from the School District. The remaining $90 million is a challenge grant, intended to spur support and contributions from all sections of the community to raise an additional $135 million.
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