An anonymous benefactor has donated $50 million in tuition aid for new students at Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Catholic Education Foundation of Los Angeles (CEF) announced Wednesday. 

The gift will be allocated over five years for new students with financial need who enroll in any of the archdiocese’s 212 elementary and high schools across Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties. 

CEF executive director Douglas Cooper called the donation a “transformative gift” that will go toward “tuition awards for new enrollees to our Catholic Schools and for students who left our schools but now will be able to return.”

“There is no greater gift than a Catholic education which teaches values of faith, family and service,” Cooper said in a statement. “We are beyond grateful to this anonymous donor for their kindness, leadership and generosity, and we look forward to welcoming these students and families into our family of Catholic Schools.”

Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gomez also expressed thanks for the large gift, saying “the kindness and love reflected in this gift are beyond words.”

“This gift will change the lives of countless young men and women, for generations to come, opening up opportunities for the future they could never have dreamed of,” said the archbishop in a statement. 

The announcement came as LA’s Department of Catholic Schools (DCS) prepares to fully resume in-person learning for the new school year starting in August. A majority of Catholic schools in the archdiocese had begun offering optional in-person instruction for students in the last months of the 2020-21 academic year as COVID-19 figures improved. 

In the past 2020-21 academic year, CEF has granted more than $12 million in financial aid to help students in poverty attend LA Catholic schools. The foundation has awarded $225 million in tuition assistance for students in the archdiocese over the last 34 years. 

Families interested in Archdiocese Catholic schools are encouraged to visit or call (213) 637-7070 for more information and access to financial assistance.