When great things happen in Pittsburgh
By: Lauren Bachorski
When great things happen in Pittsburgh, we take the time to celebrate those accomplishments. Whether it’s post-season play with one of our sports teams or the National Geographic Traveler announcing we’re “among the best places in the world to experience in 2012,” Pittsburghers take pride in our achievements. This year, The Pittsburgh Promise will be celebrating the region’s latest accomplishment: the college graduation of the first class of Pittsburgh Promise scholars. These men and women are special—not just because they’re graduating, but because they’re a personification of the turnaround The Pittsburgh Promise is seeking in our urban public schools, our young people, and in the region’s economy.
The Pittsburgh Promise program provides up to $40,000 in individual scholarships for Pittsburgh Public School students to pursue higher education. The mission of the scholarship program is to reform urban public schools, prompt economic growth, and prepare students for success. Since launching the program 4 years ago, The Promise has seen some very encouraging results and trends that suggest that we are on the right track. Nearly 3,200 students have received approximately $25 million in scholarships. Of those 3,200, according to the recently released RAND evaluation, between 80% and 90% of Promise scholars persist in college from year to year. According to research conducted by CEO’s For Cities, if 16,500 additional college-educated residents are added to our region’s population, the related annual economic growth will exceed $1.5 billion. The Pittsburgh Promise is on track to do that is the next ten years.
To celebrate the first graduating class of Pittsburgh Promise scholars and the incredible success the program has shared with Pittsburgh so far, On June 14-15, Stage AE and the North Shore will light up for Igniting The Promise Charity Concert and Dance –A-Thon . This event, hosted by Kiya and Mike Tomlin, will take place at Stage AE and feature performances by Ashanti and G. Love and Special Sauce, DJ Bonics, DJ Zimmie, food, drink and all-night entertainment. Guests can choose to attend for as long as the like, including dancing until a sunrise reggae BBQ, and have two options for getting there: purchase a $50 ticket or raise $50 minimum through The Promise’s fundraising website. All proceeds will benefit The Pittsburgh Promise and every $1.50 raised will be matched with $1 from UPMC. This is a special opportunity for the Pittsburgh community to celebrate The Promise and its mission to provide all of Pittsburgh’s kids with the opportunity to pursue their dreams. Whether you buy tickets, or raise money to get there, you are playing a key role in keeping The Pittsburgh Promise strong. Visitignitingthepromise.org for full details, all-night lineup, and to register to attend.