Say Yes Buffalo recently announced the start of a 5-year, $100 million endowment campaign, to secure funding for its scholarships to Buffalo public and charter school students in perpetuity.
The campaign was seeded by an anonymous $25 million challenge gift from one individual donor. The anonymous gift requires at least $25 million to be matched by local donors and the remaining $50 million to be matched by a combination of local, state and national supporters by 2023.
“Since the announcement of Say Yes Buffalo in December of 2011, the focus of our board has been on the short term, 10-year goal of $29 million to secure scholarships through the high school graduating class of 2022,” said Alphonso O’Neil-White, chair of the Say Yes Buffalo Scholarship. “As we’ve neared meeting that goal, we are excited to announce our endowment campaign that will ensure that eligible Buffalo students can go to college without the financial burden of tuition for generations to come. We are hopeful that with this incredible $25 million gift, coupled with the support of our more than 400 donors, we have the momentum needed to reach this new goal. It is an exciting moment for the future of postsecondary education of Buffalo youth.”
Say Yes Buffalo has awarded more than $7.4 million in scholarships and otherwise supported more than 5,000 Buffalo public and charter school graduates from the classes of 2013 – 2017. Data available through Spring 2015 reveals at least 345 students have earned postsecondary certifications and degrees, and today more than 2,500 students are still enrolled in postsecondary programs.
Through strategic donor cultivation, over the next several years Say Yes Buffalo will work to meet the fundraising goal of $100 million. With the security of a $100 million endowment, the interest earned per year will cover the projected expenses of these scholarships and grants annually.