MAJOR INVESTMENT—Officials from KeyBank, Pittsburgh Public Schools and Pittsburgh Promise pose with Key Bank’s $1 million check to the Promise. (Photo courtesy Pittsburgh Promise)

When KeyBank’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Responsibility Bruce Murphy visited the New Pittsburgh Courier in February, he was dubbed the Six Billion Dollar Man after revealing that the bank would invest that amount and more into mortgages, loans, economic development and philanthropy across its corporate footprint—including Pittsburgh.

On May 17, the first local result of that commitment was realized when Executive Vice President and KeyBank Foundation Chair Margot Copeland presented a $1 million check to the Pittsburgh Promise, during the Promise’s “Senior Signing Day” celebration at Duquesne University.

In an interview with the Courier, Copeland said the choice for the first large local philanthropic investment was practically a no-brainer—especially after having met Promise Executive Director Saleem Ghubril last year.

“We have a long history of investing in education. It’s our sweet spot,” she said. “We are actually looking at starting a similar effort in Cleveland (where KeyBank is headquartered) and I met Saleem, and since then he’s been very helpful.”

Echoing the “can you do what you say you do” investment caveat Murphy mentioned in February, Copeland said follow-through, management and positive results—like the major foundation and corporate support for the Promise—are factors.

“When making an investment of this size, you want to make sure it’s managed well,” she said. “It’s not enough to get students into college, we have to graduate them. The completion aspect is very important to us, and we’re pleased with the results the Promise has shown.”

KeyBank Western Pennsylvania Corporate Responsibility Officer Charles Peterson said the Promise investment goes hand-in-hand with other education initiatives.

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