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TMCNet:  Speeded-up donation helps 3,000 students: The Leon Levine Foundation is writing a $300,000 check to CPCC ahead of time.

[July 30, 2009]

Speeded-up donation helps 3,000 students: The Leon Levine Foundation is writing a $300,000 check to CPCC ahead of time.

Jul 30, 2009 (The Charlotte Observer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Central Piedmont Community College, hit hard by rising enrollment and slashed budgets, is receiving a gift that will allow thousands of students to attend classes this fall.

After hearing of the school's plight, Charlotte's Leon Levine Foundation is advancing CPCC $300,000 of a $2million gift that it was scheduled to begin paying in 2010. With that cash, CPCC says it will be able to provide 150 more classes and serve an estimated 3,000 students who would otherwise have been turned away this fall.

Leon Levine Foundation vice president Tom Lawrence said the foundation consulted school president Tony Zeiss after reading about the school's budget troubles in the Observer.

"When Dr. Zeiss told us moving up the gift could allow 3,000 students to attend, the decision was easy," Lawrence said. The rest of the gift will be paid over coming years.

He added that the foundation won't have to delay any other charitable outlays to begin the payments ahead of schedule.

The Levine Foundation, which supports numerous local charitable ventures, previously gave CPCC a $5million gift in 1998, the largest in the school's history.

CPCC, the largest community college in the state, has seen enrollment skyrocket in the midst of the economic downturn. Students have flocked to the school, both to save money on the cost of attending a four-year institution and to get training for new careers after losing their jobs.

Enrollment at the 31,000-student school shot up 22 percent over the last 18 months and is projected to rise another 12 percent this fall. At the same time, its financial support from Mecklenburg County has been cut by 10 percent. The school is planning for its state money to be cut by another 10 percent whenever legislators finalize the state budget.

"One reason this gift is so important to us is it's helping us meet students' needs," said CPCC spokeswoman Jessica Graham. "It's also a demonstration of the way in which individuals and businesses can make a difference." To see more of The Charlotte Observer, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.charlotteobserver.com. Copyright (c) 2009, The Charlotte Observer, N.C. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email tmsreprints@permissionsgroup.com, call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

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