$25 million for CUNY's community college efforts

NEW YORK (AP) -- The City University of New York has received a $25 million donation from the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation to support community college initiatives.

CUNY announced the gift Monday. It includes a $15 million endowment for the New Community College, which CUNY said was the largest ever given to a New York state community college. To mark the gift, New Community is being renamed the Stella and Charles Guttman Community College.

"The Guttman Foundation's commitment to CUNY's community colleges shows a deep understanding of the profound changes that community colleges make in the lives of our students and of our city," said Benno Schmidt, chairperson of the CUNY Board of Trustees. "Community college students, who often start needing significant help in English, reading and math, are eager to excel, and many of them do spectacularly. With this gift, CUNY will have greater capacity to help many more of them move into promising careers and baccalaureate programs."

Another $9 million is going to an endowment that gives scholarships to students transferring from the community colleges to the four-year schools in the CUNY system. The foundation is also gifting $1 million toward a program that works toward improving community college retention and graduation rates.

The gift to CUNY represents half of the Guttman Foundation's current assets. It was started in 1959 by the couple, who willed most of their assets to the foundation upon their deaths in 1969. It has given out money in areas including early childhood education, school reform and aging services.