Say Yes Names Noël Harmon SVP, Strategic Partnerships

Press Release

New York, NY, Jan. 21, 2015 — Say Yes to Education Inc., a national nonprofit that organizes and galvanizes communities around the goals of every public school student graduating high school and then being able to afford, attain and complete a postsecondary education, announced today that it had hired Noël Harmon as Senior Vice President, Strategic Partnerships.

Dr. Harmon, who brings more than a decade of administrative and program management experience to Say Yes, including in the area of cross-sector collaboration, has most recently served as Chief Program Officer and National Director of the Talent Dividend. The Talent Dividend, a program of CEOs for Cities/Living Cities in Washington, DC, emphasizes the monetary value to cities and the nation of increasing college attainment rates. Last fall, CEOs for Cities/Living Cities awarded its $1 million Talent Dividend Prize to Akron, OH, for increasing the number of residents receiving college degrees by 20 percent over four years, the largest increase among nearly 60 cities participating in the competition.

At Say Yes, Dr. Harmon will play a central role in the organization’s efforts to forge partnerships and raise start-up capital, including from foundations, to expand the Say Yes citywide strategy to additional communities. Say Yes’ offerings, which include a range of supports and full-tuition scholarships to two-year and four-year colleges and universities, are currently available to nearly 65,000 public school students, beginning before kindergarten. Most reside in the upstate New York cities of Syracuse (a program launched in 2008) and Buffalo (2012). The organization, which has smaller chapters in Harlem and Philadelphia, expects to add at least one community, outside of New York State, before the end of this year.

“Noël has experience and respect across the fields of philanthropy, business, higher education and government,’’ said Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey, the president of Say Yes to Education. “The ability of these sectors to work together, including through Noël’s efforts, is an essential ingredient to our driving programming that minimizes or removes the predictable barriers to achieving the national goal of postsecondary attainment.”

Dr. Harmon said: “The fundamental question at the heart of Say Yes – ‘What if an entire community came together to ensure that each of its children had the opportunity to go to college?’ – is ultimately about equity and collaboration, two issues that have driven much of my own work. I am honored to be joining the team at Say Yes and its many partners, as they seek to create and implement a strategy that will serve as a beacon for communities around the nation.”

Dr. Harmon holds a Ph.D.in Higher Education Administration and Research from the University of Iowa; a Masters in Higher Education Administration from Ball State University, and a Bachelor’s in English from the University of Iowa.  She has previously worked as Senior Research Analyst and Program Manager for the Institute for Higher Education Policy in Washington, DC.

About Say Yes to Education

Say Yes to Education, often referred to simply as Say Yes, was founded in 1987 by money manager George Weiss, who promised more than 100 sixth graders at a Philadelphia public school that he would pay to send them to college if they graduated high school. In the years since, more than 5,000 public school students have gone off to college with support from Say Yes. Mr. Weiss continues to serve Say Yes as its chairman.

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To learn more about Say Yes, go to www.sayyestoeducation.org.


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