Officials announced in May that Penn was the first Ivy League school to work with KIPP to help it achieve its goal of doubling the number of its low-income students who graduate from college.
Beginning next fall, Penn expects to enroll 12 to 15 KIPP alumni from across the country each year who meet the university's rigorous admission requirements.
The Karsh Family KIPP Fund - which is being provided through the Karsh Family Foundation which the Karshes founded in 1998 - will aid some of those students.
In addition to covering tuition and room and board, Karsh said, money generated by the endowment will be used for books, computers, and travel and summer enrichment programs for KIPP graduates.
Funding such expenses, she said, is especially important for first-generation college students.
Karsh is a lawyer who has worked extensively with nonprofits and run several design and construction projects. Bruce Karsh is president of Oaktree Capital Group L.L.C., a private-equity firm in Los Angeles, and is on the Forbes 400 list of wealthiest people in America.
"Our foundation is a big supporter of education generally," she said.
After being wowed by KIPP's program in Los Angeles a few years ago, Martha Karsh became a member of its advisory board.
She recently joined the national KIPP Foundation board of directors.
The Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) is a successful nonprofit network of 125 charter schools which offer rigorous college-prep instruction. This year 39,000 students are enrolled at KIPP charters in 20 states and Washington, D.C. KIPP Philadelphia operates charters in the North and West neighborhoods in the city.
Two of the Karsh children graduated from Penn, in 2008 and 2010.
She said of Penn's agreement with KIPP on what the gift will support: "It seemed like an ideal marriage."
Contact Martha Woodall at 215-854-2789 or at email@example.com.