The generosity of the individuals and businesses committed to improving this community is remarkable.
On the heels of recent major donations toward the building of the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus comes news of the $1 million gift from the Delaware North Cos. and the Jacobs family to the Say Yes to Education effort. That is the 10th seven-figure donation to the national nonprofit to help pay the full cost of college tuition for graduates of Buffalo high schools.
The organization, which has a reputation for improving graduation rates, first came here in late 2011 and pledged that unprecedented opportunity for the city’s students. Fulfilling that dream requires the efforts of individuals and organizations all working together toward the same goal.
The contributors to Say Yes understand that goal and are putting up the funds that will produce tangible results: More high school graduates seeking the prize of a paid-for college education.
In addition to Delaware North, Say Yes revealed the other donors of at least $1 million: the Amgis Foundation, whose directors include Roger L. Hungerford, founder of Sigma International of Medina, maker of medical infusion pumps; the Balbach Family Foundation and Charles Balbach, a founder of Science Kit and other companies; BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York; the Louis P. Ciminelli Family Foundation; the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo; the First Niagara Bank Foundation; the Patrick P. Lee Foundation, and the John R. Oishei Foundation. The Statler Foundation had previously revealed its 10-year, $1 million gift.
An impressive 60 corporations, foundations and members of the public have donated a total of $17.5 million to the Say Yes Buffalo scholarship fund.
Those involved with the Say Yes Buffalo effort are understandably thrilled with the level of cooperation they’ve received, which has the organization on track to meet its goal of raising $30 million to support the first decade of scholarships. The previously announced goal of raising $100 million to cover the first 20 years of scholarships was laudable, but an enormous lift. Raising the first $30 million is both laudable and realistic.
Families will still be responsible for fees, books and other college-related costs. But Say Yes is also providing another important ingredient: support services to help families navigate the maze of higher education requirements and assistance. Say Yes realizes that money alone is not the complete answer, and will provide a helping hand to students in the complicated process of applying for and enrolling in college.
These million-dollar donors are used to seeing results from their investments. Their investment in the city’s children should pay big dividends for years to come. The community has shown once again how much it cares.