Published Online: April 8, 1998

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Pop singer Janet Jackson plans to donate a portion of the proceeds from her upcoming concert tour to mentoring programs supported by America's Promise--The Alliance for Youth, a service campaign for children.

The America's Promise campaign was launched last April during the Presidents' Summit for America's Future, held in Philadelphia. Chaired by retired Gen. Colin Powell, the initiative has gained support from a number of prominent public figures. Ms. Jackson is the first from the music industry, said Jeffry Wender, a spokesman for the campaign.

In addition to pledging an undisclosed percentage of the ticket sales of her "Velvet Rope" concert tour to America's Promise, the singer said she will tell concert-goers about the campaign's mission and urge them to become involved in mentoring programs. Ms. Jackson's U.S. tour begins in Washington on July 9.

"This is not about politics," Ms. Jackson said during a recent press conference. "It's about giving at-risk kids what they need right now--caring mentors, safe spaces to play and study after school, health care, marketable skills, and a chance to serve their own communities."

The Dow Jones Newspaper Fund Inc. is starting a $6,000 pilot program to revive high school newspapers in struggling urban schools.

The foundation's board of directors included funding for the project this year among its $692,750 in grants for high school and college journalism programs. Urban high schools often lack the resources necessary to support costly, labor-intensive newspaper programs, said Linda Waller, the deputy director for the Princeton, N.J.-based foundation.

"One of the first extracurriculars to go is the newspaper," Ms. Waller said in an interview last week. "Generally, newspapers don't have the support the football or basketball teams have, and if resources are tight, people just say 'forget it.'"

The pilot program will be modeled on the successful reintroduction of the student paper at Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Newark, N.J. With financial and professional help from the newspaper fund, the paper at the 350-student Roman Catholic school got off the ground last fall after 15 years of dormancy. The foundation provided the newspaper with reconditioned computers, software, and funding for faculty advisers to attend journalism conferences.

Board members plan to launch another urban school newspaper by September.

--JESSICA L.SANDHAM jsandham@epe.org

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