Mellon Foundation grants $9 million to the Promise
Now businesses, individuals and families urged to help program reach its fundraising goal
PITTSBURGH, Pa., February 26, 2009 -- The Richard King Mellon Foundation has taken The Pittsburgh Promise closer to its current fundraising target with a grant to the program of $9 million over the next three years. The grant will be paid in annual installments of $3 million.
“This is a huge endorsement of this critical program,” said Grant Oliphant, President and CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation. “All of us who care about the Promise and the future of our region are deeply grateful for the Richard King Mellon Foundation’s generosity, commitment and leadership.”
The grant further strengthens the investment in the Promise by local foundations and takes the fundraising total for the current academic year to nearly $11.5 million. The Promise must raise $15 million by June 30 to receive this year’s full $10 million challenge element of UPMC’s commitment.
“We need to raise an additional $3.5 million to get $10 million,” said Saleem Ghubril, Executive Director of The Pittsburgh Promise. “Our foundation community has been outstanding in its commitment to this vital program, and has played its part magnificently.
“But now we need the support of businesses and corporations, together with families and individual donors to help with a final fundraising push to get us across the finishing line. I recognize that we are gripped by the worst economic crisis for a generation, but the Promise represents hope, opportunity and transformation, not only for our children but for our regional community. Within the Promise lies Pittsburgh’s future.”
Established in 1947, the Richard King Mellon Foundation focuses its grantmaking on regional economic development, conservation, human services and children and youth. “Pittsburgh Public School Superintendent Mark Roosevelt and the School Board have embarked on a bold and ambitious course to improve student performance,” said Scott Izzo, Director of the Richard King Mellon Foundation.
“Under the best of circumstances this effort will be a huge challenge and The Pittsburgh Promise can serve to provide both momentum for supporting this reform as well as educational opportunities that many students would otherwise never experience.
“The implications of not having a well-educated and trained workforce to meet future demand has the potential to create a lasting negative impact on the region, and it is inspiring to see our community rally to support this worthwhile program.”
For the 2008/09 school year fundraising for the Promise 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, $1 million from The Grable Foundation and $500,000 from The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation. The total raised so far also includes approximately $600,000 that has been contributed by individual donors, small family foundations and organizations.
In addition – and similar to the Richard King Mellon Foundation – The Pittsburgh Foundation, The Buhl Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, The Grable Foundation and the Benedum Foundation have each made ongoing funding commitments for the program.
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 ($10 million a year for nine years), intended to spur support and contributions from all sections of the community to raise an additional $135 million ($15 million annually for nine years).
UPMC’s challenge grant will match any proportion of funds raised by the Promise if the program fails to reach its $15 million goal. “But every dollar that we leave on the table is a dollar that is not being used to help our children, to change lives and to safeguard the wellbeing and quality of our community now and for the future,” said Saleem Ghubril. “That is why I urge everyone to get behind the final phase of our fundraising campaign in whatever way they are able.”
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