The Say Yes Buffalo Partnership, a nationally renowned community collective centered on removing barriers to high school graduation, college access, and completion, is expanding its groundbreaking work to improve outcomes for Buffalo students.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing a $2.9 million, 22-month investment to support the newly established Buffalo College Success Network and other efforts to help students—with special emphasis on those from communities of color and who are from low-income households—make successful transitions from high school to college, and ultimately complete a postsecondary certificate or degree.
The yearlong grant proposal submission process engendered the Buffalo College Success Network, inclusive of Say Yes Buffalo, Buffalo Public Schools, and the five local higher education institutions that admit the largest number of Buffalo students receiving tuition funding from Say Yes Buffalo: Buffalo State College, Medaille College, SUNY Erie, the University at Buffalo, and Villa Maria College. Leaders from the aforementioned institutions worked collectively during the past 12 months to identify specific opportunities for investment that could further remove barriers to postsecondary completion for Buffalo students.
“Buffalo State would like to thank the Gates Foundation for supporting Say Yes and for believing in the future high school and college graduates in our community,” said Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner. “At Buffalo State, Say Yes scholars have thrived thanks to support from faculty members and advisers, and through programming such as our innovative Buffalo State/Say Yes Summer Success Academy. With additional resources from the Gates Foundation to support these wonderful students, the Buffalo College Success Network will collectively lift up even more students to better futures and careers.”
Priority outcomes for the grant:
The achievement of these priority outcomes will come to fruition through a variety of strategic efforts, including modeling best practices from Say Yes Buffalo’s existing preventive services, mental health, and mentoring initiatives:
“Over the past six years, the Say Yes Buffalo Partnership has worked tirelessly to improve outcomes for all Buffalo students, daring to believe in a shared vision for educational equity,” said David Rust, executive director of Say Yes Buffalo. “We are excited about the potential this expanded work has to positively impact young people in Buffalo for years to come.”
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