Saturday, December 27, 2014

Philadelphia School Partnership: halfway to raising $100m

The Philadelphia School Partnership is halfway to raising $100 million - a lofty goal it set when the nonprofit began two years ago.

Philadelphia School Partnership: halfway to raising $100m

The Philadelphia School Partnership is halfway to raising $100 million - a lofty goal it set when the nonprofit began two years ago.

PSP was established to help high-performing city schools regardless of type: public, charter or private.

PSP executive director Mark Gleason was set to make the announcement on Thursday afternoon, flanked by Mayor Nutter and members of the School Reform Commission.

Earlier, PSP had announced it would receive a $15 million donation from the William Penn Foundation; it has added $5 million from the Maguire Foundation and $31.9 million from a group of 20 investors, including the Ace Charitable Foundation, Ted Aronson, the J. Mahlon Buck Jr. family, Cigna, Janney Montgomery Scott, JP Morgan Chase, Lincoln Financial Foundation, Ned and Marcia Kaplin, Patricia Kind, the Samuel S. Fels Fund, Eustace Wolfington and PSP board members Evie McNiff, John Stine, Mike O'Neill and Janine Yass.

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"This is now a much broader group of funders than we had a year ago," Gleason said in an interview.  "We have some corporate funders, we have some individuals, we have some foundations.  We have funders who historically supported Catholic schools, who have historically supported charter schools, who weren't that active in funding education at all."

The organization has distributed several grants totaling just over $7 million already, including one to String Theory Schools, which will take over running H.R. Edmunds School, a former Philadelphia public school, in September.  Officials made the PSP announcement at Edmunds, which is now known as The Philadelphia Charter School for the Arts and Sciences at H.R. Edmunds.  Other recipients include the Sustainability Workshop, a project-based alternative senior year program, and the Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School, which recently opened in North Philadelphia for low-income students.

"Reaching so quickly the halfway mark in a $100 million fundraising effort is a sign that people in the Philadelphia area are committed to the creation of a system of great schools," Mayor Nutter said in a statement.  "Our administration believes that every Philadelphian should have access to quality education and this brings us one step closer."

In all, $51.9 million has been committed to PSP's Great Schools Fund, which ties in with the Great Schools Compact, a document signed last year by city, state, district, charter and Archdiocesan officials that pledges to eliminate 50,000 seats in low-performing schools and replace them with seats in strong schools, regardless of school type.

PSP has said it wants to directly fund the creation of 35,000 high-performing seats in city schools and "indirectly contribute to the transformation of at least 15,000 additional high-performing seats through changes in policies and practices inspired by the fund's investment and related activities."

About this blog

Inquirer reporter Kristen Graham writes the Philly School Files blog, where she covers education in Philadelphia, both in and out of the classroom.

During the school year, you’ll frequently find her hosting live chats about the district on Philly.com.

Please do pass along the scoop about what’s going on at your Philadelphia public school; Kristen welcomes tips, story ideas and witty banter.


Kristen Graham Inquirer Staff Writer
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