GREATER PHILADELPHIA CARES by FFB6Vf

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									                                                                 NEWS: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

             General Electric Chairman Jeff Immelt issues $250,000 grant
                     to boost literacy of Philadelphia’s children
                  GE expands 10-year alliance with Greater Philadelphia Cares

PHILADELPHIA, PA, APRIL 25, 2006 – General Electric and Greater Philadelphia Cares today
extended their 10-year relationship in a new effort to boost literacy among grade school-aged children
in Philadelphia. GE has issued a $250,000 grant to fund the organization’s Reading STARS program,
a proven, volunteer-driven one-on-one tutoring program offered to boost the core classroom
curriculum within the School District of Philadelphia.

“A lifetime of learning begins with strong reading skills,” said GE CEO Jeff Immelt, who joined Greater
Philadelphia Cares CEO Lissa Hilsee at Sheppard Elementary School to announce the grant. “As the
city celebrates the birthday of Ben Franklin, who established the colonies' first circulation library,
we’re pleased to help the next generation of its citizens use their reading skills to discover the world
of possibilities open to them.”

Prior to announcing the grant, Immelt sat with Grade K-4 students in small groups and listened as
they demonstrated their reading ability, using age-appropriate books GE donated about Ben Franklin.
Through a workplace book drive, GE employees also donated nearly 1,600 books to the school.
Sheppard Elementary is one of 11 Reading STARS participating sites, which include schools,
community centers and corporate sites. At present there are 285 students participating in the
program.

“Both GE and Greater Philadelphia Cares are committed to results in what we set out to do, making
us perfect partners for this initiative,” said Hilsee. “Reading STARS delivers real results based on
actual before and after testing using the Dolch Word, Decoding, and WRAT Grade Score.
Furthermore, teachers and parents see an immediate and lasting improvement in children who work
with our volunteers in the program.”

While the School District has experienced rising test scores over the past four years, and invested in
core curriculum and instructional materials, according to the most recent PSSA test, 43.4% of
Philadelphia students in the fifth grade are considered below “basic” in reading skill level.

Greater Philadelphia Cares launched Reading STARS in 2003 to mobilize thousands of volunteers to
address the pressing need for high-quality, individualized supplemental reading instruction for
beginning and remedial readers in the region. A volunteer-powered program, Reading STARS brings
students who are learning to read up to grade level (based on the WRAT Grade Score) in an average
of 20 hours for kindergartners and first-graders, and 40 hours for second- and third-graders.

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GE – GPC – Reading Stars


Even more interesting is how the program can help the tutors, who in some cases are older students
at the same school. For instance, at one site, sixth grade students who tutored first grade students
experienced an increase of two or more grade levels in their own reading skills over the course of the
program, and three of these sixth grade tutors finished the program reading beyond a high school
level.

 “We welcome the additional support that the hundreds of volunteers are able to offer, via one-on-one
tutoring,” said Philadelphia School District CEO Paul Vallas. “Reading STARS underscores the
importance of bringing all sectors of the community – volunteers, corporations, schools – together to
address the needs of Philadelphia’s children.”

Sheppard Elementary was selected to announce the GE grant because it has embraced the Reading
STARS program. Volunteers worked individually with 46 of the school’s students, using the Reading
STARS program, adding a boost to the School District’s new core curriculum and investment in
professional development. As with other Reading STARS sites, tutors at the school come from a
number of sources, including residents, city-based corporate sponsors, college students, and
volunteer organizations such as Experience Corps. The success of this individualized coaching
program has also fueled a growing demand from the community. Interested volunteers are urged to
contact the offices of Greater Philadelphia Cares for more information, or visit their website at
www.gpcares.com.

“This support from General Electric demonstrates their commitment to doing something tangible
about the problem,“ said Hilsee, “thanks to their generosity, more students will soon be able to enjoy
the success that the students of Sheppard Elementary have accomplished,” said Hilsee.


About Greater Philadelphia Cares:
Recently named Non-Profit of the Year by the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, and celebrating over 10 years
of service to the community, Greater Philadelphia Cares supports the creation of vibrant communities by motivating
people to volunteer their time, talents, and resources by inspiring leadership and through the design of innovative
programs. The organization provides a clear path to service for all, enhancing the impact of non-profit agencies
throughout the Greater Philadelphia region. To learn more, log on to www.gpcares.com or call 215-564-4544.

About General Electric
GE (NYSE: GE) is Imagination at Work -- a diversified technology, media and financial services company dedicated to
creating products that make life better. From aircraft engines and power generation to financial services, medical imaging,
television programming, and plastics, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs more than 300,000 people
worldwide. In the Delaware Valley, GE has 3,600 employees with a payroll of $268 million, along with 7,000 pensioners
and 28,000 individual shareholders. For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.ge.com.

The Reading STARS grant by GE is part of a four-part approach the company has been taking locally over the past
several years to address both education and social needs in the region. The GE businesses in the region have raised
nearly more than a million dollars for United Way the past two years, annually sponsor and supply a 500-person GE
painting team at the annual Philadelphia Cares Day school fix-up day each Fall, host technology and mentoring programs
for high school students, and support housing refurbishment in the region through their GE Builds Hope programs. All
efforts are ongoing, and in some cases, as in Philadelphia Cares Day, have been in place for 10 years.

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GE – GPC – Reading Stars

The Fairfield-Conn.-based GE Foundation funds locally the Algebra Pipeline to Engineering Careers program at the
University of Pennsylvania, which encourages sixth and seventh grade students to pursue mathematics, and has also
provided a $250,000 grant to the National Constitution Center, to fund field trips there over a five year period for more
than 2,000 Philadelphia city school district students. The GE Foundation annually makes grants to several Philadelphia
area colleges totaling an average of $400,000 as part of its Higher Education Matching Grants program with GE
employees and retirees.

About Sheppard Elementary:
The Issac Sheppard Elementary School, located at 120 W. Cambria Street in Philadelphia, serves 360 children from
Kindergarten to fourth grades. James Otto is the Principal.


About Reading STARS
                                                                                                                            th
Reading STARS stands out among literacy programs in two important ways: First, it is scripted, enabling anyone with a 5
grade reading level to coach a student through to full literacy; Second, its step-by-step approach provides all students with
the basics – the tools essential to achieving a 100% success rate.

The only requirement for volunteers to teach the Reading STARS program is that they themselves can read at or above a
fifth-grade level. Tutors sit opposite students with a tented book between them. On the instructor’s side are scripted
prompts, and on the student’s are lessons. Through this process, the student uncovers the information that they missed
along the way that kept them from moving forward.

Before beginning Reading STARS, students complete several assessments of their oral reading, reading comprehension,
and spelling skills. These same assessments are used again at the completion of Reading STARS to measure the
success of the program. Test scores from past project sites show a dramatic rise in students’ reading skills and school
officials report greatly improved reading comprehension scores among the students. The program supplements the
School District’s curriculum and instructional reforms which have raised reading and language arts skills in students
across the District for four consecutive years.


Media Contacts

Greater Philadelphia Cares:
Ken Kilpatrick, 610-547-3713Draft for GE review


GE Corporate and GE Foundation:
Peter O’Toole, 203-373-2547

GE Media Contacts in the Delaware Valley:

        GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies -
        Ellen Mellody
        215-989-3025
        Trevose, PA
        ellen.mellody@ge.com

        GE Equipment Services, Trailer Fleet Services & Modular Space (GE Industrial)
        Patrick Brennan
        610-213-2075
        Wayne, PA
        patrick.brennan@ge.com

        NBC-Universal, WCAU Channel 10
        Jo Anne Wilder
        610-668-5793
        Bala-Cynwyd, PA
        jo-anne.wilder@nbcuni.com
Media Contacts for other GE businesses with offices in the Philadelphia region

       GE Commercial Finance
       Marissa Moretti
       (203) 961-2290
       marissa.moretti@ge.com


       GE Consumer Finance
       Robert Rendine
       (203) 585-2084
       robert.rendine@ge.com


       GE Healthcare
       Lynne Gailey
       +44 1494-49-8287
       lynne.gailey@ge.com


       GE Industrial
       Jeff DeMarrais
       203-761-1935
       jeffrey.demarrais@gesm.ge.com

								
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