Pacific Palisades Estate Keeps on Giving: Santa Monica College Gifted $807,500

The Peggy Bergmann donation is the fourth largest gift received by the college foundation to date, officials say.

More than $805,000 to fund annual scholarships was gifted to the Santa Monica College Foundation, officials announced Wednesday, by the estate of a Pacific Palisades woman who has already donated more than $5 million to local schools and organizations.

The $807,500 donation from Peggy Bergmann will establish the Lenore and John Elmer Bergmann Scholarship Fund in memory of her parents. It is the fourth largest gift received by the college foundation, according to Executive Director Vanessa Butler.

"At a time when colleges are struggling with limited funding and course offerings, this generous gift from Ms. Bergmann provides great assistance as our students pursue their dreams,” said college President Dr. Chui L. Tsang.                                

In announcing recently the restoration of this year's winter session, officials said they were looking to private donors to step up to cover the $1.5-million cost of the classes.

The college foundation's Executive Director Vanessa Butler said Bergmann's funds will most likely be distributed in more than 40 annual scholarships of $1,000 each from the interest earned on the fund.

Bergmann died Dec. 10, 2011. Her $15 million estate has included a $1.6 million donation to Santa Monica's Pico Youth & Family Center and $4.8 million to the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

The donation to Santa Monica College was arranged by local attorneys Sonya and Bruce Sultan, who recommended to Bergmann that the college foundation be included in her estate.

"When we learned that she wanted to make gifts to local organizations—particularly for education, youth and music—Bruce immediately thought of" Santa Monica College, said Sonya Sultan.

Sultan has served on the college's Citizens Bond Oversight Committee since 2009.

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