Yesterday I cited one of Pittsburgh’s most innovative and exciting programs, The Pittsburgh Promise. A primary focus on the program is to provide college scholarships for Pittsburgh Public Schools’ graduating seniors. New Executive Director Saleem Ghubril has been appointed to lead this most ambitious initiative.
One of Ghubril’s first actions was to move the program out of the upscale offices of The Pittsburgh Foundation downtown into the city’s struggling Hill District. “It’s a place where families live and kids go to school,” Ghubril said, in moving to where the needs are most evident. He envisions a lean, focused agency which is driven by its core mission.
A Presbyterian minister, Ghubril has established a strong working relationship with Pittsburgh Public Schools Superintendent Mark Roosevelt. He is focusing his fundraising on the area’s business community, partnering with the United Way of Allegheny County, and enlisting area foundations. His argument is simple: Invest in the region’s youth and you invest in your companies, your nonprofits, and the region as a whole.
This is not the most opportune time to approach funding sources, given the precarious nature of the national and regional economy. Yet, if any one can build a foundation for strengthening the educational prospects of our region’s young people, I’m betting on Saleem Ghubril and The Pittsburgh Promise.