The Catholic Archdiocese of New York announced Tuesday a record $40 million gift to the Inner-City Scholarship Fund from Christine & Stephen A. Schwarzman.
The gift is the largest single donation in the archdiocese's 207-year history, according to a statement from the Inner-City Scholarship Fund.
The Schwarzmans' gift is part of the fund's new endowment campaign, which kicked off Monday.
The "Kids Are Our Capital" effort aims to raise $125 million. The archdiocese also contributed $40 million to the endowment, which provides scholarships to underprivileged children Catholic schools in the New York archdiocese.
The endowment will provide funding in perpetuity rather than rely on fundraising alone to pay for scholarships, according to the fund's statement.
Inner-City provides tuition assistance to nearly 7,000 Catholic school students, 92 percent of which are minorities and 33 percent non-Catholic. Ninety-eight percent of seniors attending Inner-City supported schools graduate, and 96 percent pursue higher education.
Forbes magazine ranks Schwarzman as the 100th wealthiest American with a net worth in excess of $12 billion. He is the CEO and founder of the global asset management firm Blackstone. Schwarzman's wife Christine is trustee of Inner-City Scholarship Fund and a philanthropist.
About 2,900 new scholarships will be awarded annually, which is an increase of 43 percent. Current and new students will be eligible, and they will be awarded beginning in fall 2016.
"I believe this is the single largest gift ever made to Catholic elementary and secondary education not only in our archdiocese, but in the nation," Timothy Cardinal Dolan said in announcing the Schwarzmans' gift.
"That, when combined with the sacrifices our parents make to send their children to our schools and the dedication of our teachers and administrators is a tremendous gift to our city. I am so grateful."
The Schwarzmans' support of the Inner-City Scholarship Fund began in 2001 after they met then-Archbishop of New York Edward Cardinal Egan. They had given more than $8 million to help 350 students a year, according to the fund's statement.
"We've met so many impressive young women and men from various religious backgrounds," said Christine Schwarzman. "They have all benefited greatly from the values provided by a Catholic school education. Providing future generations that same opportunity is very important to us."
"Quality education is the single greatest gift we can provide to young people, and Catholic schools have been providing it to the children of New York for a long time with great results," Stephen A. Schwarzman said.
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