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Detroit, Boston Get Annenberg Grants

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The Annenberg Foundation has announced major grants to the public schools in Detroit and Boston, bringing to seven the number of urban districts participating in the foundation's 3-year-old reform effort.

In Detroit, the $20 million Annenberg Challenge grant, combined with matching contributions from state and local governments and from the private sector, is intended to pump $60 million into a broad effort to reshape the city's schools.

And Boston will receive a $10 million grant--with a $20 million matching requirement--to continue ongoing reform in the district. The grants will be awarded over five years.

The donations announced last week by the St. Davids, Pa.-based foundation are part of the $500 million gift to the nation's public schools announced in December 1993 by philanthropist and retired publisher Walter H. Annenberg.

Earlier grants have gone to Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York City, and the San Francisco Bay area. ("Annenberg Considers Expanding Reform Grants to Smaller Cities," Oct. 18, 1995.)

Matching Efforts

In Detroit, a newly formed nonprofit organization, the Schools of the 21st Century Corp., will administer the grant, and officials have already begun looking for the matching funds.

"We are approaching several foundations," said Sharon Lewis, an assistant superintendent in the 172,000-student Detroit school district. "We're in a reviewing process, which should conclude in January or February of '97."

In a statement last week, Detroit Superintendent David Snead welcomed the Annenberg grant. "We are a full partner in this process and are committed to lend our full support to the reform efforts of this initiative."

In Boston, the $10 million grant, along with $20 million in matching funds, will help schools in the 63,000-student district meet proposed new academic standards that will be phased in over the next four years, said Jane Feinberg, a district spokeswoman.

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