Say Yes Buffalo is one step further towards realizing a monumental fundraising goal that will ultimately secure college tuition scholarships for all eligible Buffalo students, forever. For the first time, these students have an opportunity that was never afforded to them. It’s new beacon of hope that is encouraging young people to hunker down and study, because they know that postsecondary education opportunities await. The dream of going to college is no longer just a dream, it’s a reality.
Today, Say Yes Buffalo announce that it has officially embarked upon a 5-year, $100 million endowment campaign towards that end. The campaign was initiated by an anonymous $25 million challenge gift from one individual donor, who required that matching funds in that same amount be raised by local donors. From there, another $50 million would have to come from a combination of local, state and national supporters by 2023. At that time, Buffalo public and charter school students would have access to scholarships in perpetuity, thanks to the interest earned (per year) from the $100 million endowment, which will cover the projected expenses of these scholarships and grants annually, according to Say Yes Buffalo.
Say Yes Buffalo provides scholarships to eligible graduates of Buffalo public and charter schools to all SUNY/CUNY schools and more than 90 private colleges and universities.
“Since the announcement of Say Yes Buffalo in December of 2011, the focus of our board has been on the short term, 10-year goal of $29 million to secure scholarships through the high school graduating class of 2022,” said Alphonso O’Neil-White, chair of the Say Yes Buffalo Scholarship. “As we’ve neared meeting that goal, we are excited to announce our endowment campaign that will ensure that eligible Buffalo students can go to college without the financial burden of tuition for generations to come. We are hopeful that with this incredible $25 million gift, coupled with the support of our more than 400 donors, we have the momentum needed to reach this new goal. It is an exciting moment for the future of postsecondary education of Buffalo youth.”
To date, Say Yes Buffalo has already awarded more than $7.4 million in scholarships. The efforts have affected over 5,000 Buffalo public and charter school graduates from the classes of 2013 – 2017. Preliminary data shows that at least 345 students have earned postsecondary certifications and degrees (data available through Spring 2015). Adding to the momentum, more than 2,500 students are still enrolled in postsecondary programs at this juncture of time.
Photo: Say Yes Buffalo