The DSF Charitable Foundation's grants in education have covered a variety of in-school and out-of-school programs. Much of the Foundation's support in this area has focused on broadening the availability of high-quality educational options.
The Foundation has made two major grants totaling $3.5 million to support public education in Pittsburgh. In 2006, the Foundation awarded $1 million for a high-priority initiative to improve early proficiency in reading, a critical component of Superintendent Mark Roosevelt's Excellence for All reform agenda for Pittsburgh Public Schools. In December 2008, the Foundation committed $2.5 million to help launch the Pittsburgh Science & Technology Academy. The grant supports critical elements of school start-up ranging from curriculum development to facilities enhancement. Founded on the belief that any student can succeed in advanced coursework with sufficient time and support, the design of the Academy brings together features of highly successful schools nationwide and introduces important innovations of its own. The school will open in the fall of 2009 with 250 students in sixth through ninth grades. At full capacity, the school will have 550 students in sixth through twelfth grades.
Other grants for in-school education have taken several forms. Imani Christian Academy, Extra Mile Foundation, The Linsly School, and Oakland Catholic have all received scholarship grants for lower-income students. The Foundation has also awarded multiple grants to support the efforts of Propel Schools to establish a non-geographic district of seven charter schools in underserved areas.
Grants for educational enrichment have ranged from summer camps and after-school tutoring for inner-city children to educational-outreach programming and capital support. Organizations receiving support for after-school or summer programming include the Manchester Youth Development Center, Allegheny Youth Development, Schenley Heights Community Development Program, and Urban Impact Foundation. Organizations receiving support for educational outreach include the Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh Children's Museum, and Tickets for Kids. Capital support for the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium has helped to support expansion of the Zoo Education Complex and establishment of the wildly popular Water's Edge complex, which brought polar bears to Pittsburgh.
The Foundation has also provided support to several organizations working to promote the literacy of children and families in Allegheny County. These include Reading is Fundamental Pittsburgh, Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, Allegheny County Library Association, The Heartwood Institute, and Beginning with Books.
Youth-career-development grants have helped students in elementary and high school to learn basic business principles and explore career options through job experience. Organizations that have received grants for youth career development include YouthWorks, Breachmenders, and Junior Achievement of Southwest Pennsylvania.