LaGuardia Community College announced that Goldman Sachs Gives will make a $2 million gift, the largest donation in the College’s history, to help students stay in college. Goldman Sachs Gives is also raising an additional $1 million to provide targeted support to America’s community colleges.
The donation from Goldman Sachs Gives, a donor-advised fund through which Goldman Sachs and its senior employees recommend grants to nonprofit organizations worldwide, will be directed to the LaGuardia Community College Foundation. The funds will be focused on advancing the College’s highest priority of helping students stay in college and graduate, and will enhance LaGuardia’s endowment, enabling the Foundation to help students meet the costs of attending college. This includes emergency financial assistance for students facing urgent crises that threaten their ability to stay in college.
A letter from LaGuardia’s Presidente, Doctor Gail O. Mellow, is a the bottom of this article.
“Goldman Sachs gets it: by helping large numbers of our students graduate and enter the middle class there is an astounding return on investment,” said LaGuardia Community College President Gail O. Mellow. “This groundbreaking gift to LaGuardia and community colleges nationwide will allow us to help our neediest students pay their tuition and buy books and MetroCards, making it possible for them to graduate and get higher-paying and more fulfilling jobs. It’s a smart investment that pays huge dividends for our students, our city and our nation.”
LaGuardia’s partnership with Goldman Sachs began in 2010 through 10,000 Small Businesses, a national program designed to help small businesses in the United States create jobs and economic growth by providing entrepreneurs with a practical business education and support services. To date, nearly 600 businesses have participated in the program in New York City and more than 4,500 businesses have been served nationally. According to a report from Babson College, the program maintains a 99% graduation rate, 64% of participants have increased revenues and 45% have created new jobs.
“Community colleges are the most powerful tools we have in the United States to move people into the middle class,” said Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs. “They provide the opportunity for a higher education to students who otherwise cannot afford it. Through our previous partnership with LaGuardia Community College, we’ve seen up close the impact it has on its community and we know that a dollar invested in community colleges goes a long, long way.”
Goldman Sachs Gives is also raising an additional $1 million to provide further need-based financial aid at America’s community colleges. These grants will be focused on high performing community colleges, and, where applicable, leverage public sector funds to build successful public/private partnerships. Goldman Sachs Gives has had a long-standing commitment to need-based financial aid,having already supported scholarships at more than 200 colleges and universities globally.
Separately, starting in October 2013, 10,000 Small Businesses alumni began donating to LaGuardia Community College’s Foundation to express their gratitude for the program and has received donations from 164 donors to date. Program alumna Suzie Scanlon of BlissLawyers started the fundraising effort and now serves on the LaGuardia Foundation Board.
Garnering increasing attention, community colleges serve almost half of America’s 16 million undergraduates. President Obama has put community colleges at the center of his Administration’s education reform with the America’s College Promise proposal to fund two-years of free community college for students.
“There has never been a time when education matters more to success than it does today, said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “And CUNY opens that door to thousands and thousands of New Yorkers from every walk of life, every community and every means. That’s why we’ve made CUNY and programs linking our high schools, community colleges and growing job sectors such a vital priority in our fight against inequality. This gift from Goldman Sachs is an investment not only in the future of low-income students and their families, but in the future of our entire city as well.”
Goldman Sachs Gives’ support of community colleges echoes the unprecedented recognition they have recently received. Community colleges have historically had difficulty attracting high-profile donors. While they educate a disproportionate number of low-income and minority students – who often require support services to succeed – community colleges rarely see the level of donations that private and prestigious universities receive.
“I am delighted that Goldman Sachs, one of New York’s best known and successful corporate citizens, has chosen to support the success of some of New York’s students who are in a position to benefit most from that investment,” said CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken. “LaGuardia and CUNY’s other community colleges are the engines of mobility and economic opportunity for so many immigrants, first generation and low income New Yorkers. Through its involvement with LaGuardia, Goldman Sachs has developed a strong appreciation for the great work the college does and is making an investment that will pay dividends for years to come.”
Like many community colleges, LaGuardia’s pioneering programs serve the local community, working directly with employers to meet area-specific workforce demands, creating a pipeline for students into better jobs and growing the economy. The College’s student population embodies the community, with over 50,000 students from more than 150 countries enrolling in 50 degree and certificate programs each year to transform their lives and the lives of their families.
Because 70% of LaGuardia students come from households with a family income of less than $25,000, the LaGuardia Community College Foundation was founded in 2003 to address overwhelming student financial need. Since that time, The Foundation has raised over $11 million and has provided thousands of students with scholarships, emergency funds and opportunities for enhanced academic and professional success.
A letter from Dr. Gail O. Mellow:
Unbelievably spectacular! Those are the words that keep ringing in my head when I reflect upon the impact Goldman Sachs’s $2 million gift to LaGuardia will make in the lives of not only our students, but students at community colleges across the country.
Our partnership with Goldman through our 10,000 Small Businesses program provided amazing resources to entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. Now with this gift, and with the recognition of Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein that, “Community colleges are the most powerful tools we have in the United States to move people into the middle class,” we have an extraordinary opportunity to increase support for the vital role of community colleges.
This is such an exciting time for community colleges—thanks to President Obama’s recent free community college proposal—and LaGuardia has been in the vanguard of this momentous shift that is helping to shatter misperceptions about two-year colleges.
Earlier this month, we were delighted to welcome CUNY Chancellor James B. Milliken to our Opening Sessions. Chancellor Milliken inspired the College community as we kicked off the spring semester, sharing a university-wide vision that encompasses placing CUNY at the center of the study of urbanization, global education and technology.
I am also thrilled that Mayor de Blasio stepped in to save LaGuardia’s Fatherhood Academy, a proven program that helps young fathers learn parenting skills, while earning a high school equivalency degree and getting prepared for college. With the Mayor’s funding, we can help these dads get the education they need to transform their lives and the lives of their children.
And in keeping with this incredible momentum, faculty and students shared their brilliance and achievements across a variety of media on a range of topics, from effective enrichment programs that bolster persistence to student philanthropy, to an immigrant perspective on campus diversity.
I hope you are enjoying the emerging balmy weather. Best wishes for a jubilant spring!
Dr. Gail O. Mellow