Year-End Update and Opportunity to Support PGSS

Dear Alumni, Parents and Friends of PGSS: 

We have a lot to celebrate this year, with the imminent return of PGSS in 2013! We’d also like you to consider PGSS as you plan your holiday gift-giving. This letter reviews our progress to date, a
nd describes our plans for the future.

Meet David Reiley, Board President (in yellow); Maureen Ryan, Executive Director (next to David); Professor Barry Luokkala, Director of PGSS; Janet Hurwitz, Board Secretary

Over the past three years, we have succeeded in a most important team project: the restoration of PGSS. This
project has included the following milestones: 
  • Organizing PGSS Campaign, Inc. as a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. 
  • Locating 85% of our 2400 alumni, and many of their parents. 
  • Collecting over $150,000 in donations from these individuals. 
  • Arranging successful alumni reunions: Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston, San Francisco. 
  • Meeting with Governor Thomas Corbett and Secretary of Education Ron Tomalis. 
  • Meeting with a number of key legislative leaders in Pennsylvania. 
  • Hiring Maureen Ryan as our Executive Director in Pittsburgh. 
  • Gaining formal recognition as an Education Improvement Organization, making corporate donors eligible for Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. 
  • Receiving our first corporate grants, so far totalling $35,000, with a number of other applications pending with Pennsylvania businesses. 
  • Ultimately, restoring PGSS for 2013!
We’re also pleased to announce that Professor Barry Luokkala will return as Program Director for next summer’s program at Carnegie Mellon University, guaranteeing the high quality we’ve come to expect from this program PGSS website. We’re also hopeful that some of our 2008 alumni, who will be graduating from college this year, will choose to become TA/Counselors for the new students, providing connections with previous years’ programs. One of our goals has always been to preserve the institutional memory of the program, so that we can take advantage of all that we’ve learned over 25 years of PGSS, even as we improve it for the future.
To review our good news, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has awarded Carnegie Mellon University a $150,000 grant to operate PGSS in 2013 and 2014. This will provide half of the required funds for a 56-student program; PGSS Campaign, Inc. will be matching those funds with our fundraising dollars. We’ve secured a $20,000 charitable donation from Teva Pharmaceuticals and another $15,000 grant from PPG Industries Foundation. We’d like to give special thanks to alumni Kevin Bancroft (‘05) and Justin Mercer (‘01) for helping to lobby their employer, PPG, on our behalf! Maureen Ryan, our Executive Director, is working to cultivate additional grants from corporations with a presence in Pennsylvania.
These donations are terrific news, showing that we have successfully managed to communicate the value of PGSS to state government as well as to corporate grantors. One reason we’ve been so successful is that we’ve been able to point to the $150,000 already donated to our campaign by over 400 alumni and friends; this generous support from individuals who’ve benefited from the program is a strong positive signal to others of the value of this program. We need to continue to raise substantial funds through individual gifts as part of our long-run fundraising strategy, both for the direct support of the program budget and for the indirect impact it has on our probability of raising corporate and government funds.
The end of the year is a perfect time to consider making a tax-deductible contribution to PGSS Campaign, Inc. We ask you to remember the benefits you received from the program, and “pay it forward” to future students. One key principle we’re passionate about is that the program should remain free of charge to admitted students, to create a spirit of community and inclusiveness for students whose financial means would otherwise not have allowed them to attend. We are creating a culture of giving among this community, so that alumni and parents with means can express their appreciation for the program by making it possible for future students to attend. We will welcome 56 new students in 2013; we are hoping to increase this number in 2014 and beyond. A gift of $5000 will make it possible for one more student to attend PGSS.
Please give what you are able. I have just written my own check for $10,000 to PGSS Campaign, and I’m pleased to say that my employer (Google) will be matching this with an additional $6000. We don’t expect everyone to produce this kind of donation, of course, but I do want everyone to know that I’m continuing to put my own money where my mouth is. This program has meant a lot to me.
As an additional incentive to give a gift of $100 or more, the first eight donations of this size will receive one of our remaining XL t-shirts proclaiming “A Moment of Science!” (I wore my new PGSS t-shirt proudly to yoga class this week.)
To donate, please go to or send a check to: 
PGSS Campaign, Inc. 
161 West Hills Drive 
Williamsport PA 17701
If your employer is interested in supporting STEM education and might consider making a donation to the program, please contact Maureen Ryan at <>.
On behalf of Maureen and the Board of Directors PGSS Campaign, Inc., we wish you a very joyous holiday season. We’re proud to have you in our community.
David Reiley (PGSS 1986; TA 1989, 1991) 
President, PGSS Campaign
P.S. Special thanks to our Secretary, Janet Hurwitz, for her tireless efforts, week after week, to make sure that PGSS gets back in business. Including making sure that I managed to finish this year-end letter!