College Success Initiative

Empowering New York City Public School Students to Succeed

A high school diploma is no longer sufficient to compete in today’s national economy. A college degree is required, and many young adults obtain an associate degree at a community college, which for some is a stepping stone to a four-year program. The American economy depends on a skilled workforce. Yet, graduation rates from community colleges remain stubbornly low.

In 2013, the Board of Directors of the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation made a major investment to provide low-income New York City public school students with the academic, financial, and personal support they need to attend and graduate from two- and four-year colleges. The Guttman Foundation committed $25 million (representing half its assets) to support three community college initiatives at the City University of New York (CUNY); a milestone for the Foundation.

  • A $15 million endowment was established for The Stella and Charles Guttman Community College, the first new CUNY community college in over 40 years. Income from the endowment will be used for intensive support services for students.
  • A $9 million endowment will fund scholarships to help academically qualified students from all seven CUNY community colleges transfer to five CUNY senior colleges: Brooklyn College, City College, Hunter College, Lehman College and Queens College.
  • A $1 million grant was awarded to help expand the CUNY’s Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) initiative. This nationally acclaimed program helps low-income community college students earn their degrees more quickly and successfully.

The Foundation’s Board chose CUNY as a partner because CUNY supported innovative programs that significantly improved learning, retention and graduation rates for New York City public school students, as well as rethinking community college education and practice.

“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.”

Ernest Rubenstein
Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation