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Philanthropy Column

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The General Electric Foundation has awarded $1 million to the Lowndes County, Ala., public schools to upgrade English, mathematics, and science courses.

"This will be our first public-school project in a rural community, and the largest grant we have ever made for precollege education,'' according to Paul Ostergard, the foundation's president.

The grant, to be allocated over a five-year period, will help create a magnet program for college-bound students.

The funds will also help provide advanced training for teachers, purchase laboratory equipment and classroom materials, underwrite field trips, and make college scholarships available to outstanding students. In addition, the grant will help prepare students who are not going to college for jobs in the community.

The school district had sought the grant, which was announced at a dedication ceremony for a new General Electric plant in Lowndes County.


The Reader's Digest Foundation has awarded $375,000 to four organizations to improve educational opportunities for minority students:

  • The Hispanic Policy Development Project received a $150,000 grant to encourage the involvement of Hispanic parents in their children's education in 21 communities.
  • The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People received $100,000 for a project to stem severe truancy and dropout rates among black inner-city youngsters.
  • The United Negro College Fund received $75,000 to help support a scholarship program for minority students interested in journalism.
  • The National Urban League received $50,000 for the organization's five-year effort to improve the academic achievement of black students in the public schools.

"Education is the key to breaking the vicious cycle of poverty, illiteracy, and joblessness that plagues too many minority youths,'' George V. Grune, president of the Reader's Digest Foundation and chief executive officer of Reader's Digest, said in announcing the grants.


Beginning in September, Baltimore high-school students interested in careers in finance will be able to attend an "Academy of Finance'' program at Lake Clifton/Eastern High School.

The program will offer specially designed courses and summer internships for selected high-school juniors and seniors interested in financial-services careers. It will include courses in accounting, computer science, economics, and finance.

The American Express Philanthropic Program, in association with Shearson Lehman Brothers Inc., a subsidiary of the American Express Company, has provided a $15,000 grant for the program, plus curriculum-development costs and technical assistance. Local businesses are also supporting the academy with paid internships and grants.

Similar academies exist in Buffalo, N.Y.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Minneapolis; New York City; Phoenix; San Francisco; Wilmington, Del.; and Chicago.--L.O.

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