Promise Plus Initiative Receives $150,000 from Heinz Endowments

Posted on 6/7/2010 1:04:15 PM

The Heinz Endowments of Pittsburgh has awarded Indiana University of Pennsylvania a $150,000 grant for continued support of IUP’s Promise Plus initiative.

With this recent grant, IUP has received $310,000 from the Heinz Endowments for this program.

IUP’s Promise Plus program—now entering its second year—aims to expand the impact of the Pittsburgh Promise. The Pittsburgh Promise is designed to help all students in Pittsburgh Public Schools plan, prepare, and pay for education beyond high school at an accredited post-secondary institution within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

“IUP is proud of its affiliation with the Heinz Endowments and is honored to have been selected, for a second consecutive year, to continue leadership for this very important initiative,” Dr. Tony Atwater, IUP president, said. “IUP has a strong existing partnership with the Pittsburgh Public Schools, including the establishment of two professional development schools and membership on the executive board of the School District University Collaborative. We also have a long and successful history of university partnerships which enhance student success at the pre-college level, and we continue to be committed to advancing educational attainment in the Pittsburgh region.”

Among those partnerships are two Federal TRIO programs—Upward Bound Math-Science and the McNair Scholars program—designed to support students from disadvantaged backgrounds, the R. Benjamin Wiley Partnership Program for Urban High School Students, dual enrollment agreements with regional school districts, and the Punxsutawney Summer Opportunity Program.

The Pittsburgh Promise was created by the Pittsburgh Foundation and is supported by Pittsburgh Public Schools and community agencies.

IUP’s Promise Plus initiative includes the following components:

  • Early contact with students through IUP student and faculty involvement in classrooms and support in the early grades. Creation of mentorship pairs in sixth and seventh grades to provide students and parents with contacts in higher education.
  • A specific pre-college program that facilitates academic learning skills, adjustment to college, and the application process for both students and parents that would occur at IUP’s main or regional campuses.
  • IUP’s program also complements Pathways to the Promise, a Pittsburgh Public Schools initiative that aims to ensure all students are “Promise ready” and on course to graduate and take advantage of a Pittsburgh Promise scholarship.

During the first year of the Promise Plus project, IUP created a model for the program and hosted students from both the Lincoln and Fulton elementary schools. The project has also been formally approved by the Pittsburgh Public Schools Board of Directors with a memorandum of understanding.

Mentors for the participating students have been selected and trained, with summer programming for students entering ninth and tenth grade planned for this summer at IUP.

The Heinz Endowments supports efforts to make southwestern Pennsylvania a premier place to live and work, a center for learning and educational excellence, and a region that embraces diversity and inclusion.