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Osher Initiative for California Community College Students

This initiative, launched in 2008, aimed to provide up to $100 million in endowed funds to support scholarship programs dedicated to California's Community College students.

An initial gift of $25 million, along with an additional pledge of $25 million in matching funds, became incorporated as the California Community Colleges Scholarship Endowment. The match on a 2:1 basis supplied an impetus for the Foundation for California Community Colleges (FCCC) to raise $50 million on or before June 30, 2011 to trigger the full $25 million Osher Foundation matching fund.

In the end, individual colleges and the FCCC raised $28,505,190 instead of the $50 million that would have led to the $25 million Osher match. While there was understandable disappointment on the part of both the Osher Foundation and the FCCC that the goal of attaining a $100 million endowed scholarship fund was not realized, the campaign resulted in the California Community College System possessing $67.3 million of fresh endowed scholarship funds that will benefit large numbers of California students in perpetuity.

A non-binding commitment was included in the original Osher Initiative to endow scholarship support for transfer students from California Community Colleges to UC and CSU campuses that did not have other Osher scholarship programs (either “traditional” or reentry scholarships). At the end of the Osher Initiative challenge period, 21 campuses were selected and received scholarship endowments at the level of $500,000. Grant agreements and payments were processed before the end of 2012.

With the conclusion of the two phases of the Osher Initiative for California Community College Students, the Foundation has put into place endowed scholarship programs at every public institution of higher learning in the State -- 112 community colleges, 23 campuses of the California State University system, and ten University of California campuses. The only other state that enjoys Osher endowments at each of its public higher education facilities is Maine – with its seven community colleges and its seven campuses comprising the University of Maine System.

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