The $50 million gift from Richard and Melanie Lundquist to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s school reform effort could do a lot to jump-start his plans to improve education at two clusters of L.A. schools. Villaraigosa’s plan to take two clusters of failing Los Angeles Unified School District schools will need money. And like many a political effort before this, the donations will come from the men and women of means who care about education. In promising $50 million to the mayor’s school reform effort over 10 years, the Lundquists, who reside on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, have shown themselves to be enormously generous. Richard Lundquist owns Continental Development Corp., which owns more than 4 million square feet of commercial space in California. The Lundquists have also been generous in giving to other causes in the South Bay. Last year, they donated $13 million to Torrance Memorial Medical Center. The $50 million to LAUSD is the largest private donation ever received by the school district. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Of course, there’s no question that creating a support foundation for the mayor’s education campaign will open doors at City Hall. Indeed, Melanie Lundquist, who will head the foundation, will spend a great deal of time at City Hall with the mayor’s education team, figuring out how to best use the funds. Those of us who don’t have $50, let alone $50million, to give wouldn’t even be allowed through the door. That’s just the way of the world. Fortunately, the Lundquists, who are both LAUSD graduates, have little to gain here except the sense of fulfillment that comes from helping to make a difference in the lives of others. Their interest in building an educated citizenry for the region’s economy is certainly welcome. The size of this donation puts the mayor and his team under pressure to achieve major improvements in the schools they will supervise. Only strong leadership can give the children of Los Angeles the quality education they deserve.