Philadelphia schools awarded scholarship money

Bridge Educational Foundation presented $240,500 to many Philadelphia schools.

Investing in education: The Bridge Educational Foundation presented $240,500 in scholarship money to Philadelphia schools. Recipients included Archbishop Ryan, Father Judge, Nazareth Academy, Resurrection and St. Anselm, among others.

The Bridge Educational Foundation last week presented $240,500 in scholarship money to Philadelphia schools at a ceremony at St. Matthew.

The donors were Braskem, Enterprise Fleet Management, Enterprise Holdings, Malady & Wooten, Penn Jersey Paper, PJP Marketplace, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan and Waste Management.

Guests included Bobby Keyes, an Enterprise executive who graduated from St. Matthew in 1977 and later from Father Judge; Judy Archibald, of Waste Management; Marian DePaula, of Braskem; and Corey Coleman, of UnitedHealthcare.

Elected officials in attendance were state Sen. John Sabatina Jr. and state Reps. Martina White, Mike Driscoll, John Taylor and Jared Solomon.

Jennifer Wermuth-Dovidio spoke of how the program has helped her keep her kids in Catholic school. She has a son at Roman Catholic High School and a daughter who is a sixth-grader at St. Matthew.

The schools receiving the money are Archbishop Ryan, Bishop McDevitt, Blessed Trinity, Calvary Christian, Cedar Grove Christian Academy, Father Judge, Girard College, Greene Street Friends, Holmesburg Christian Academy, Holy Innocents, Hunting Park Christian Academy, Kencrest Services Preschool, Little Flower, Mercy Career & Technical, Nazareth Academy Grade School, Nazareth Academy High School, Our Lady of Port Richmond, Our Mother of Sorrows/St. Ignatius, Resurrection, St. Anselm, St. Cecilia, St. Christopher, St. Frances Cabrini, St. Hubert, St. Martin of Tours, St. Raymond of Penafort, Timothy Academy and Penn Charter.

All in attendance stood for the Pledge of Allegiance and national anthem, and the St. Matt fifth- and sixth-graders performed a song and issued a blessing.

The nonprofit, Harrisburg-based Bridge Educational Foundation is a scholarship organization established under the state Educational Improvement Tax Credit program. The foundation partners families and schools with Pennsylvania businesses to provide scholarship opportunities.

Businesses receive tax credits with their donations to Bridge, using the state EITC and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit programs.

In 12 years, Bridge has raised more than $28 million to help 16,000 families in 700 schools in 61 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

Bridge executive director Natalie Nutt calls the EITC “one of the best programs in all of government.”

Taylor thanked the businesses that donated the money — referring to Keyes as one of the “patriarchs” of the program — and credited former Rep. John Perzel with creating the EITC after vouchers failed by a vote. ••