CUNY Receives $25 Million from the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation

April 29, 2013 | The University

The City University of New York has received a $25 million gift from the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation to support The New Community College at CUNY and two other community college initiatives to boost student retention and graduation rates. In honor of the gift, the foundation’s largest and the largest ever given to a New York State community college, the CUNY Board of Trustees passed a resolution to rename The New Community College The Stella and Charles Guttman Community College.

The Trustees on April 29 approved the naming of the college and of the Guttman Student Success and Engagement Fund, which will promote further development of the college’s innovative programs. The Board of the Guttman Foundation is committing half of its current assets to CUNY. The Guttman Board approved the gift on April 11, 2013.

The $25 million includes a $15 million endowment for the New Community College, a $9 million endowment for scholarships to help academically qualified students from all seven CUNY community colleges transfer to CUNY senior colleges, and $1 million to expand the University’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) initiative, which has won national acclaim for its success in improving community college retention and graduation rates.

The Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation focuses much of its grantmaking on educational programs and social services to support low-income New York City children, youth and families. The son of immigrants, Charles Guttman was raised on the Lower East Side and attended public school until age 13, when he began working odd jobs to help support his family. In adulthood he built a successful business, The Paddington Corp. In 1959, he and his wife, Stella Rappaport Guttman, established the Guttman Foundation for the “improvement and benefit of mankind, and the alleviation of human suffering.” Upon their deaths in 1969, without leaving descendants, the Guttmans bequeathed substantially all of their assets to the Foundation.

“CUNY is deeply grateful for the Guttman Foundation’s generosity,” said Chancellor Matthew Goldstein. “This gift, similar to the mission of The New Community College, will help us meet our goals of improving students’ graduation rates, maintaining academic integrity and quality, and successfully launching these students into the next phases of their lives.”

“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.”

The Foundation’s President Ernest Rubenstein said, “The CUNY grant is the result of several years of research into how the Foundation could best advance the cause of making a college education available to the largest possible number of highly motivated, low-income public school graduates. The Foundation’s Board and staff are convinced that achieving that goal is critical to the future of our city, state and nation—-and best honors the aspirations, values and memory of Charles and Stella Guttman.”

The Guttman Foundation has a long history of support for non-profit organizations in New York City. Since 1990 it has supported programs with funding of $40 million for early childhood education, youth development, school reform, and aging services. The Foundation also has contributed in Israel and was an early funder of efforts promoting coexistence between Arabs and Jews as well as social and educational programs for Arab-Israelis. With the $25 million CUNY gift, the foundation is directing half of its current assets to the single goal of improving the college success of New York City public school graduates.

“The Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation endowment for the college will be transformational for our students in providing support for internships, peer mentoring and active engagement with the City of New York while helping us maintain our extraordinary 92% retention rate,” said New Community College President Scott Evenbeck. “Chancellor Goldstein and Mayor Bloomberg, who created the college, have high expectations for the achievement of our students, and this generous gift is both strong affirmation of that vision and a solid foundation for our achieving that aspiration.”

The $25 million gift will be directed as follows:

· The New Community College will receive a $15 million endowment to establish the Guttman Student Success and Engagement Fund. Income generated by the fund will foster further development of NCC’s innovative approach to community college education, which seeks to improve the historically low success and graduation rates of community colleges. Paid internships, scholarships and student emergency funds will be among the items funded by the gift.
· The University will receive a $9 million endowment to establish the new Guttman Transfer Scholarship Fund to increase the number of academically qualified, low-income CUNY community college students who continue their education at CUNY senior colleges. Recipients, drawn from all seven community colleges including NCC, will receive grants of $2,000 a year for two years to complete their bachelor’s degrees. Within five years, the $9 million endowment is expected to provide more than 200 scholarships annually.
· CUNY will also receive $1 million for ASAP (Accelerated Study in Associate Programs), the University’s nationally acclaimed program to help motivated community college students earn their degrees as quickly and successfully as possible. The program, which includes block-scheduled courses, required full-time study and intensive advisement, will expand from 2,209 students to more than 4,050 students in 2014. ASAP has produced three-year graduation rates of 55% compared to 23% for similar community college students.

The New Community College at CUNY, the University’s first new community college in more than 40 years, was inspired by Chancellor Goldstein’s goal of improving graduation rates for CUNY’s diverse students. The college officially opened in midtown Manhattan overlooking Bryant Park on Aug. 20, 2012, after four years of planning in consultation with experts from around the country and hundreds of faculty and staff across the University. It enrolled its inaugural class of 300 students in Fall 2012. Enrollment will grow to approximately 5,000 when the college moves to its permanent home at 59th Street and Tenth Avenue.

The philosophy and structure of The New Community College is based on the University’s ASAP program, which is designed to help motivated community college students earn their degrees as quickly as possible, with a goal of graduating at least 50% of students within three years. Key ASAP features include a consolidated block schedule, cohorts by major, small class size, required full-time study and comprehensive advisement and career development services. Financial incentives include tuition waivers for financial aid-eligible students and free use of textbooks and monthly MetroCards for all students.

About The City University of New York:
The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University is comprised of 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College. The University serves more than 269,000 degree credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students.College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate degrees through the School of Professional Studies and an individualized baccalaureate through the CUNY Baccalaureate Degree. Nearly 3 million unique visitors and 10 million page views are served each month via www.cuny.edu, the University’s website.