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Osher Lifelong Learning Institute receives $1 million endowment from the Bernard Osher Foundation

Endowment gift caps three successful years of program growth

University of Hawaiʻi
Posted: Nov 17, 2005

HONOLULU - The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences at the University of Hawai'i at Manoa has received a $1 million endowment gift from The Bernard Osher Foundation of San Francisco to support and sustain educational programming for older residents of Honolulu.

The Osher Foundation's endowment award caps three consecutive $100,000 grants given to UH Manoa's OLLI since initial funding began in February 2003. To date, only a few lifelong learning programs in the OLLI network have received such an endowment. Awards are based on demonstrated program success and evidence of sustainability.

"We deeply appreciate the generous financial assistance provided by The Bernard Osher Foundation and look forward to expanding our course and workshop offerings for older persons," said Rebecca Goodman, director of OLLI at UH Manoa.

In announcing the award, Dr. Mary Bitterman, President of the Osher Foundation, described the UH Manoa OLLI as an "outstanding model" and said, "the Foundation congratulates the UH Manoa OLLI on its efforts to provide educational services to seasoned adults in the Honolulu community."

The award-winning OLLI program at UH Manoa now has more than 1,000 members and provides an array of courses, life review workshops, writers' and poetry groups, film series, performing arts events, museum tours, service projects and more. In 2004, the MetLife Foundation and the American Society on Aging named the UH Manoa OLLI program as the national recipient of the MindAlert Award in the category of Innovative Older Adult Learning Program.

Goodman described the program as "an educational membership venture for people 50+ who want to learn for the joy of it, connect with peers, enhance health and well-being, and give back to the community."

The Bernard Osher Foundation is a charitable foundation established in 1977 by Bernard Osher, a businessman and community leader in San Francisco. His philanthropy has benefited a wide range of educational, cultural, and other nonprofit organizations. Since 2002, the Foundation has been offering $100.000 annual grants in three-year grant cycles to lifelong learning programs across the U.S. At present, the Foundation is supporting 73 university-based lifelong learning sites in 30 states and the District of Columbia. In the years ahead, the Foundation hopes to establish100 sites with at least one OLLI in each state. Hawaii currently has two OLLI programs located at UH Manoa and UH Hilo.

For more information about the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute program at UH Manoa, call 956-8224 or visit

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