Foundations' Promise Grants Exceed $13 Million

Article excerpt

The Pittsburgh and Buhl foundations will set grant-making records by giving a combined $13 million over several years to provide scholarships for graduates of Pittsburgh Public Schools.

"There is a sense that good things are possible here in a way that hasn't been imagined in a couple decades," said Grant Oliphant, president and CEO of The Pittsburgh Foundation, at a news conference Tuesday at its Downtown offices. "If the city is going to grow again, then high-functioning schools are a part of that."

The Pittsburgh Foundation has awarded $3 million, its largest gift ever, to The Pittsburgh Promise, a scholarship program that it oversees. Subject to its board's approval, it will give the program $2 million more over the next four years, Oliphant said. He said the board plans to give another $5 million after 2012.

The Buhl Foundation, the city's oldest philanthropy, is giving $3 million over 10 years. That equals the largest grant that foundation has ever given.

"First, we believe The Pittsburgh Promise is beautifully conceived and well implemented," said Frederick Thieman, president and CEO of Buhl.

"We understand it's a scholarship program, but we see it as much more," he continued. "We believe the plan-and-prepare piece is the most critical piece of the Promise."

Thieman was referring to the city school district's commitment to upgrade its academic programs and guidance counseling to ensure that students qualify for the scholarships. …