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Our Impact

Say Yes began in 1987 with a promise by money manager George Weiss to 112 sixth graders at a Philadelphia public school: if they graduated high school, he told them, he would pay to put them through college and provide them with the support services in middle school and high school to succeed once in college.

Say Yes by the Numbers

Say Yes and its partners now provide access to support services and postsecondary scholarships to more than 130,000 public school students. Over nearly 30 years, the Say Yes strategy has evolved – from its focus on a half dozen cohort chapters (ranging in size from 50 to 300 students) during the organization’s first two decades, to community-wide partnerships in two cities (Buffalo and Syracuse in upstate New York) and one county (Guilford, including the cities of Greensboro and High Point), in North Carolina. In contrast to its early, cohort chapters, Say Yes’ community-wide strategy (piloted in Syracuse beginning in 2008, and expanded in the years since to Buffalo and Guilford) is intended to be sustainable – with support services and postsecondary scholarships made available in its partner communities , by the local partnerships, in perpetuity.

$142 million

Scholarships and grants awarded

Scholarships and grants awarded to Say Yes Scholars in Syracuse and Buffalo

Beginning in 2009 (in Syracuse) and 2013 (Buffalo), and continuing through the end of the 2015-16 academic year, the local Say Yes scholarship funds have awarded Say Yes Scholars $12 million in direct, postsecondary scholarships. That aid has helped leverage $130 million in additional scholarships, including Pell Grants, as well as aid from in-state public colleges and universities, and from the private colleges and universities in the Say Yes Higher Education Compact.

10,000+

Say Yes Scholars that have gone off to college

Say Yes Scholars that have gone off to college or other postsecondary programs

Since its founding, more than 10,000 Say Yes Scholars have gone off to two- and four-year colleges and universities -- most in the last three years, since the founding of Say Yes Buffalo.

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102

Private college and university partners

Private colleges and universities in the Say Yes Higher Education Compact

The 102 private colleges and universities in the Say Yes Higher Education Compact provide "last dollar" tuition scholarships (after Pell grants and state aid) to Say Yes Scholars who are admitted and meet income eligibility. Our partner colleges are located in 21 states and the District of Columbia, and range from large research universities to small liberal arts colleges.

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Percentage point increase in high school graduation

Percentage point increase in high school graduation in Buffalo

Since Say Yes began in Buffalo, the number of students graduating high school has increased by 15 percentage points, from 49 percent in 2012 to 67 percent in 2016. Furthermore, the number of students of color graduating high school in Buffalo has increased by 17 percentage points.

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10

Percentage point increase in college matriculation

Percentage point increase in college matriculation in Buffalo

The number of students going off to college in the fall, following their high school graduation in the spring, increased by 10 percentage points, from 57 percent in 2012 to 67 percent in 2015.

$100 million

Amount of money raised locally by scholarship funds

Amount of money raised locally by Say Yes local scholarship funds

Each Say Yes partner community raises a scholarship fund locally to send every qualifying public high school graduate, in perpetuity, to an in-state public college or university, tuition-free. As of mid-summer 2016, Say Yes Syracuse had raised $30 million for its scholarship fund; Say Yes Buffalo, $28 million, and Say Yes Guilford (Greensboro-High Point), over $42 million -- more than $100 million Say Yes-wide.

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34

School-based mental health clinics opened

Number of School-based mental health clinics in Buffalo

Since the launch of Say Yes Buffalo, 34 school-based mental health clinics have launched, with additional mobile clinics in the works. Services that keep students on the pathway to postsecondary readiness are critical to the Say Yes strategy; in Buffalo, these may be delivered through 4 school-based legal clinics or by the Say Yes Family Support Specialists assigned to all 55 public school buildings in the city.

43

Percent reduction in foster care placements

Percent reduction in foster care placements in Onondaga County (including Syracuse)

Within the first six years of the Say Yes Syracuse local partnership, Onondaga County (which includes the city of Syracuse) reported a 43 percent reduction in foster care placements.

Student Stories

Meet Our Scholar – Jasmine

Say Yes Chapter: Harlem, NY
School: PS-IS 180M

Meet Our Scholar – Diamond Miles

Say Yes Chapter: Buffalo
School: City Honors School Class of 2014
College: Syracuse University, Fall 2014

Meet Our Scholar – Juwan Rainer

Say Yes Chapter: Philadelphia, PA
School: Kipps Dubois Collegiate Academy Class of 2014
College: Villanova University, Fall 2014

Meet Our Scholar – Larisa Pechenyy

Say Yes Chapter: Syracuse, NY
School: Syracuse University Class of 2014