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Grantmaking Organization Publishes Paper Telling the Story of Say Yes Buffalo

The Promise: A Case Study of Say Yes to Education in Buffalo

Grantmaking Organization Publishes Paper Telling the Story of Say Yes Buffalo

For release at 12:30 PM ET on Oct. 27, 2016

Grantmakers for Education, a prominent nonprofit that supports a range of education organizations in their philanthropic efforts, today released a paper entitled “The Promise: A Case Study of Say Yes to Education in Buffalo” at its annual conference being held in Denver.

The case study was written by award-winning journalist Robert Frahm, the longtime education correspondent for the Hartford Courant. In it, he describes how Say Yes Buffalo – a grassroots consortium of city, county and school district officials, along with leaders from local philanthropy, the business community, parent groups, higher education, labor and faith-based organizations – came together in 2011 around the goals of all children in the city of Buffalo not only graduating high school, but doing so prepared for college or other postsecondary education, and able to afford it.

A PDF of the case study can be found here: http://edfunders.org/sites/default/files/Case%20Study%2015_%20Buffalo_final_2.pdf

Say Yes Buffalo is the second of three communitywide chapters of the national Say Yes to Education organization, which was founded in 1987 by money manager George Weiss and which has committed to invest $15 million in the efforts of the Say Yes Buffalo partnership. The other Say Yes community chapters are in Syracuse, New York (2008) and Guilford County (Greensboro-High Point), North Carolina (2015).

Since the chapter’s founding, the Say Yes Buffalo partners have raised more than $25 million locally for a fund that is intended to make available, in perpetuity, scholarships to qualifying students to attend in-state public colleges and universities. Over that same period, the Buffalo high school graduation rate has increased by 12 percentage points, to 61 percent, and the college enrollment rate for those students has increased by 10 percentage points, to 67 percent.

At the Grantmakers’ Conference today, the Case Study is being “taught” by James P. Honan, Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

In a foreword to the paper, Grantmakers for Education Executive Director Ana Tilton writes: “For 30 years, Say Yes to Education has focused on forming strong partnerships with civic leaders, funders, institutions of higher education and policymakers to help learners achieve postsecondary access and success. Its network of partners has been critical to its ability to grow its reach from 112 public school students in Philadelphia to nearly 140,000 students in three communities across the country over the past three decades.”

In the paper, Frahm weaves the stories of young people in Buffalo who have benefited from the efforts of Say Yes Buffalo, which not only provides college scholarships, but also academic and non-academic supports, beginning before kindergarten and continuing through graduation, to seize that scholarship opportunity.

Printed copies of the case study can be obtained by emailing Sonja Smash at Say Yes to Education: ssmash@sayyestoeducation.org

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.