Say Yes to Education is a nonprofit that revitalizes communities by helping them give every public high school graduate access to college or other post-secondary scholarships. Say Yes community partnerships also make available supports and services to develop the gifts and talents of each child.
Say Yes was founded in 1987 by money manager George Weiss, who promised to prepare 112 Philadelphia sixth graders for college, and to pay their college tuition if they graduated high school. Say Yes now helps entire communities make a similar commitment to every public high school student.
Using its scholarships as a catalyst, Say Yes partners with communities to create systems to ensure every child progresses on the pathway to postsecondary success. The Say Yes strategy unites city and county officials; the school district; teachers; parents; unions; higher education; business; philanthropy and faith-based organizations — around outcome metrics that increase educational attainment and drive economic development. The Say Yes strategy is built to last, and after six years of implementation the local partnership takes full ownership.
Over its 28-year history, Say Yes has touched the lives of thousands of students and their families, initially in small cohorts and now across communities. More than 5,000 students have gone to college with the support of Say Yes, most since 2013.
In less than two years, Say Yes Buffalo has raised more than $20 million from the local community to support college scholarships. over that time, the number of city high school graduates enrolling in college increased by 9 percentage points.
For less than what it costs the community to house a teenager for two nights in a Buffalo juvenile detention center – nearly $1,700 – Say Yes can give a student a year of after-school programming (2 hours per day, 5 days per week).
Americans with bachelor’s degrees earn, on average, 63 percent more each year than those with only high school diplomas; those with high school diplomas are unemployed at a rate more than double those with at least a bachelor’s degree.
Say Yes has 100 private colleges and universities that comprise the Say Yes Higher Education Compact, which offer scholarships to qualified applicants. Click on the interactive map below to learn more about Say Yes’ private higher education partners.
The Say Yes management team and staff bring deep and diverse experience to an organization whose work extends across communities. Our leaders have previously held senior positions at the U.S. Department of Education, in school districts and in universities; in city and county government; in the school reform movement; at the Brookings Institution and other research centers, and at The New York Times.
Whether at the local community level or nationally, Say Yes’ partnerships are critical to the success of its strategy. Our partners include city, county and school officials; teachers and parents; unions; businesses; colleges and universities; foundations and other philanthropic organizations, and faith-based organizations.
Are you inspired by the goals and approach of Say Yes? We invite you to reach out to the Say Yes National office or to a Say Yes chapter, to learn more about how you can get involved.
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