CSU, Chico News

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Receives Second $1 Million Grant

Date: 12-15-2014

Joe Wills
Public Affairs
Melissa McGowan
Regional & Continuing Education

The Bernard Osher Foundation has awarded California State University, Chico a second $1 million endowment for its Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).

The announcement was made by CSU, Chico President Paul Zingg Wednesday, Dec. 10, during OLLI’s annual holiday luncheon.

OLLI is an organization of more than 1,100 members, ages 50-94, who participate in educational classes, lectures, special events and study groups in Chico, Oroville, Paradise and Willows.

"We are truly grateful to the Bernard Osher Foundation for this second endowment and for its confidence in and support of our lifelong learning community," said Debra Barger, dean of Regional and Continuing Education.

The Osher Foundation made the gift to CSU, Chico’s OLLI in recognition of the ongoing excellence of the institute's programming and the unstinting commitment of its members. It cited the pioneering efforts and vision of the founders of the program, saying they established a standard of excellence and a model of active member involvement.

There are 119 institutes in the lifelong learning network. OLLI joins an exclusive group of Osher Institutes which have been awarded a second endowment.

Lifelong learning programs at CSU, Chico began in 1988 with the founding of the Prime Timers learning-in-retirement organization. From its modest beginning with 52 students and 10 classes, the organization has grown to sustain over 1,100 members, offering 172 classes last year through the efforts of more than 400 active volunteers, including peer leader/instructors.

In 2004, the Osher Foundation awarded CSU, Chico a $100,000 development grant that established the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. A subsequent $1 million gift from the Osher Foundation in 2007 endowed OLLI, ensuring its long-term viability to further enhance its academic programming and broaden member services.

The second $1 million gift further ensures the organization’s long-term viability while recognizing it as a program of national distinction. The gift also supports further program development, fee assistance programs, classroom enhancements and opportunities for members of the OLLI communities to continue their lifelong learning.

The Bernard Osher Foundation, headquartered in San Francisco, was founded in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a respected businessman and community leader. The Osher Foundation seeks to improve quality of life through support for higher education and the arts.