Since 2008, the Pittsburgh Promise made a pledge to pay for the higher education of city high school residents, and this past week it reached the 70 percent mark in raising the money it needs.
But to continue the program for the next 30 years the organization would have to raise $250 million, and so far it has collected $173 million.
“We think that three generations, mainly between 26-30 years is a long enough period of time to make a significant difference on a large scale, as well as impact the systems that impact kids the most, mainly public schools and neighborhoods,” said Executive Director, Saleem Ghubril.
The 70 percent mark was reached thanks to two $1.5 million grants from the Buhl Foundation and the Eden Hall Foundation, along with varying amount of donations from the Hillman Foundation, the Massey Charitable Trust, Range Resources, Constellation Energy, Huntington Bank and AT&T.
The Pittsburgh Promise will send any high school students to a college or trade school upon graduation if they are able to maintain a 2.5 GPA and have 90 percent attendance.
“Every single dollar counts. We want the grandma down the street who is able to give $15 to give it, and a large company downtown that’s able to give millions of dollars to give it. Every single dollar for us has the same value, and the value is we make higher education accessible to kids,” said Ghubril.
Thus far the Pittsburgh Promise has sent 4700 kids to higher education and 800 of those kids have graduated already. The program is also hoping to reach its $250 million dollar mark by the end of 2015, two years ahead of schedule.