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California's community colleges just received the largest donation to community colleges in history, according to a news release from the California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office.

The Jay Pritzker Foundation, named after the founder of Hyatt Hotels, has pledged $100 million to the Foundation for California Community Colleges to be spent over the next two decades. The money will go toward scholarships for students who are close to completing a degree or certificate or who are transferring to a university. It will also provide funds for emergency financial aid for students.

"This historic gift changes the landscape for community college philanthropy. It is not only an act of incredible generosity, but also a clear statement that our community colleges are worthy of this level of investment," Geoff Green, president of the Network for California Community Colleges Foundations and chief executive officer of the Santa Barbara City College Foundation, said in a news release. "It will serve as a signal to donors across the country that community colleges are perhaps the best tools we have for increasing social and economic mobility, addressing economic barriers to higher education, and tackling equity issues in our communities."

During the first five years, the foundation will deliver grants to 34 community colleges in three regions of the state. These regions -- the Inland Empire, Central Valley and Far North -- have the lowest percentage of adults with college degrees. The first year of these grants will be $150,000 per college and may be used in full for emergency financial aid due to COVID-19.