A three-year long fundraising campaign has netted a permanent scholarship fund of over $67.7 million for California higher education. The funds have been responsible for providing thousands of California Community College students, including those in the Bay Area, with financial support every year for their education.
In May 2008, The Bernard Osher Foundation made an incredible lead gift of $25 million to the Foundation for California Community Colleges. This bundle was the largest single gift to a community college ever given in the this country’s history. The financial gift came with the committment of giving up to another $25 million in matching funds as an incentive for the colleges to acquire even more philanthropic support for education.
The colleges did raise quite a bit of money over the course of three years, in fact they raised $28.5 million for their fund. This amount in turn generated $14.2 million in promised matching funds from the Osher Foundation. The total $67.7 million endowment can now fund scholarships for eternity at each of the 112 community colleges in the state.
The Osher Foundation’s generosity has been significant, and on more levels than the dollar amount itself. Not only has it raised the level of philanthropy among the colleges, the funds have made a life-enhancing impact on many individual lives. These results are even more dramatic in light of the overwhelming struggles students and families must endure as they feel the impact of the state’s fiscal problems, with increased tuition and fewer resources for learning.
Since its beginning in May 2008, an impressive $2.7 million in scholarship funds have been awarded to students, with $2.1 million more to be handed out during the 2011-2012 acadenic year. The future will see approximately 3,380 students annually receive similar scholarships awarded to them from the endowment.
The Financial Need is Real
The Bernard Osher Foundation has focused on providing an increasingly diverse student population scholarships for higher education, ever since its beginning in 1977. The Osher vision is twofold: that California’s community colleges be recognized as a state asset, and that present and future generations of California Community College students continue to get the philanthropic funds in even greater amounts. The financial need is very real, as over half of California Community College students simply do not have the ability to pay for their education.
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