Philadelphia philanthropist H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest has done it again - this time opening his wallet to help the city get smarter.

Lenfest donated $750,000 this week to give a major boost to Mayor Nutter's goal to increase the number of college graduates living in the city.

It is the largest gift this year from the Lenfest Foundation. Lenfest and his wife, Marguerite, have long been generous benefactors in the region, including giving a half million dollars to support parades and festivals.

The latest donation should give some needed momentum to the cornerstone of Nutter's education agenda, which has been slow gaining traction.

The city will get $200,000 a year for three years to support a Nutter initiative that provides resources through a central website - - to help students find mentors and finance their educations.

Another $150,000 will be spent to determine how best to track students to identify pitfalls to keep them from flunking out.

Those are positive steps to help break down barriers that have kept too many aspiring city students from completing their degrees.

Philadelphia has a long way to go to reach Nutter's goal of doubling the college attainment rate from 18 percent to 36 percent by 2017. Though the rate has increased to 21 percent.

Lenfest also expressed interest in other types of secondary education, such as trade schools. That support will go a long way to give viable alternatives to students who may not want to attend traditional colleges.

Lenfest called the donation "an investment in Philadelphia's future." It's an investment that should generate lasting returns for students and the city.