JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) Foundation last night announced a $2.5 million gift to Turnaround for Children, a New York-based nonprofit that works to transform low-performing schools.

The grant over a three-year period will help pay for full- time social workers and teacher-training dealing with the disruptiveness of poverty. The cost of the Turnaround model at each school is $250,000 a year.

“Turnaround is committed to closing the gap, and so are we,” Kim Jasmin of the foundation said in the ballroom of the Plaza Hotel.

More gifts followed on the occasion of Turnaround’s annual benefit.

Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan’s chairman and chief executive, pledged $25,000. D.E. Shaw Managing Director Trey Beck, Turnaround’s chairman gave $32,000. Both men were absent; Turnaround vice chairman Simone Levinson read their messages aloud, from her Blackberry.

Recording artist John Legend, industrialist David Koch and Blackstone Group Vice Chairman Byron Wien also sent promises of pledges in e-mails. (Wien is the godfather of the eldest child of the founding chairwoman of Turnaround, Dr. Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber; her husband, David Gerstenhaber, is president of Argonaut Capital Management.)

Mark Gallogly, co-founder of Centerbridge Partners, was among the guests at the event who made a donation. He and Jeffrey C. Walker, former chairman of CCMP Capital, sat with Goldie Hawn as she ate a whole-wheat roll and filet mignon.

When Hawn took the stage as honoree — introduced by a fifth grader named Erick DeLaCruz, who aspires to be a New York Yankee — she spoke about MindUp, the program she started to teach social and emotional skills.

“We want to nurture confidence, optimism and empathy,” the actress said.

Honoree Russ Carson said he became a Turnaround donor after meeting its founder, Dr. Pamela Cantor, at a dinner party.

“I made the mistake of asking her what she does,” Carson said.

Other guests who have made the same mistake: Larry Rogers, David Tepper’s deputy at Appaloosa Management; David Wasserman, a Clayton Dubilier & Rice LLC partner; and Atlantic Media Co. chairman David Bradley and his wife, Katherine Bradley, whose CityBridge Foundation is funding the Turnaround model in Washington D.C.

For more on grants and grant writing, visit Grant Pros.


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