Happily announcing a trio of major gifts from locally-based corporations, Pittsburgh Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril said Monday that the city's scholarship fund now expects to raise $90 million more by 2015, three years earlier than expected.
Calling this shortened second phase of fundraising "Now Fulfilling the Promise," Ghubril thanked UPMC for a $9.3 million additional commitment to round out their pledge to a full $100 million. Ghubril also recognized a pair of $1 million gifts from local drug-maker Mylan, Inc. and Pittsburgh-based clothier American Eagle Outfitters.
"By 'Now Fulfilling' it, we'll be able to honor it for years to come," Ghubril said. "You will not only give us, as an organization, the ability to sing the Hallelujah Chorus, but much more significantly, there are 26,000 kids who will be able to join in singing that in unison, and there will be a whole bunch of employers who will be able to join us in that chorus."
The Pittsburgh Promise was launched in 2007 with a goal of $250 million raised by 2018, in order to be able to invest the funds at a self-sustaining level. Since then, the Promise has secured $160 million through several years of economic recession. With the economy rebounding, Ghubril seemed optimistic that the two-year timeline for raising $90 million was an attainable goal.
The Pittsburgh Promise provides college and trade school scholarships to Pittsburgh Public School District students who graduate high school and meet certain criteria. Students must earn a 2.5 cumulative GPA from ninth grade through senior year at a PPS high school or charter school; each student can earn up to $40,000 from the Promise. There are no income or financial criteria involved.
In 2012, the Promise celebrated the first class of students who graduated from four-year degree programs.