Senior Vice President, Chapter Programming

Ellen E. Grant

Ellen E. Grant

Senior Vice President, Chapter Programming

As Senior Vice President for Chapter Programming at Say Yes to Education’s National organization, Dr. Grant provides programming support to its community-wide chapters in the upstate New York cities of Buffalo and Syracuse – as well as to a smaller cohort chapter in Harlem in New York City. Say Yes expects to establish a third community-wide chapter, outside New York and the Northeast, as soon as fall 2015, where Dr. Grant is also expected to support programming activities.

From late 2013 until July 3, 2015, Dr. Grant served as Deputy Mayor of the City of Buffalo, the state’s second largest city. Her responsibilities included overseeing education and health policy, as well as many of the office’s day-to-day operations. In that capacity, she worked closely with other community leaders to develop and implement the Say Yes Buffalo partnership. As a citywide chapter in the Say Yes National organization, Say Yes Buffalo partners with stakeholders throughout the community to help ensure that graduates of the city’s public and charter schools have access to college or other post-secondary scholarships, as well as to academic, social-emotional and other supports and services intended to eliminate barriers to achievement.

Dr. Grant has a Ph.D. in communications and organizational behavior from the University at Buffalo, where she also held faculty teaching positions. Before joining the Buffalo City Government, she served in a number of leadership positions throughout Western New York including as director of Cornerstone Manor, the women and children’s division of the Buffalo City Mission; vice president of community affairs at BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, and president and CEO of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.

She served as Commissioner of Mental Health from 1988 to 2000, during Erie County Executive Dennis T. Gorski’s administration, and has been a licensed private therapist for 25 years. She continues to serve as a volunteer, emeritus on the University of Buffalo Foundation Board. Her other volunteer work includes National Co-chair of the Black Women’s Health Study at Boston University. She describes herself as “a proud product” of the Buffalo Public Schools.


Michelle Cooper is the Strategic Partnerships and Development Specialist at Say Yes to Education.

Sonja is the Higher Education and Communications Specialist at Say Yes to Education National.

Noël Harmon is Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, for Say Yes To Education. In this capacity, she plays a central role in the organization’s efforts to forge partnerships and to raise start-up capital.

Koray Gurz is the Controller of Say Yes to Education, Inc. Prior to coming to Say Yes to Education, Koray worked as a senior auditor at Blum Shapiro in West Hartford, CT for over 7 years.

Contact Us

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.