FRESNO, California (KGPE) – The California Community College Foundation received its largest philanthropic donation ever on Tuesday. The Jay Pritzker foundation pledged to donate $100M to help fund scholarships over the span of the next 20 years.
With the coronavirus pandemic creating hardship for many college students, the Jay Pritzker Foundation wanted to help students achieve their higher education goals.
“That they can more quickly graduate and join the workforce,” said Chancellor for the California Community College System Eloy Oakley.
Oakley said the money will first go towards three regions in California that see a low rate of college graduation rates.
“20% of students in our system said they had been furloughed or laid off during the pandemic and half have reported that their income has been lowered,” said Oakley.
In the first year of this 20-year pledge, 34 community colleges will receive $150,000 each. One of those colleges is Madera Community College.
Fulisha Oscar is finishing her last year at Madera Community College. Oscar said this donation will be life-changing for so many students.
“This generosity is more than a contribution to us students. It’s a contribution to myself, my children, and all the future women I want to help because of your generosity,” said Oscar.
Oscar said she knows firsthand how hard it is to finish school. Oscar shared her story about living in a women shelter’s and being a mother of six all while trying to obtain a degree.
“The scholarships I have received have been more than just a financial contribution. They have helped me improve my family circumstances while helping me obtain my goals with education,” said Oscar.
The money donated will fund scholarships for students who have made significant progress toward completing a certificate, degree, or transfer credits. They will also be available for students going through financial hardship.