$20 Million NYS Gift Completes Endowment Goal for Local Say Yes to Education College Promise

March 1, 2016 – Coming off an announcement today from Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner that a $400,000 gift from a bond issuance fee finalizes a $5 million challenge match from SRC, Inc., Say Yes Syracuse is receiving another major boost that will permanently endow its scholarship promise for Syracuse City School children. Tonight, County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced in her State of the County address that a $20 million contribution towards the Syracuse College Promise, a component of the winning CNY Rising economic development plan, will be distributed to the Say Yes Scholarship Endowment Fund in its entirety this year.

The scholarship fund is administered by the Central New York Community Foundation. This completes the $30 million goal needed to permanently endow the scholarship, which will guarantee a path to college for generations of Syracuse City School District children, regardless of income.

Last month, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that CNY Rising, the regional economic development plan submitted by the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council, would receive a $500 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative Award. One of the strategic initiatives outlined in the winning plan called the Alliance for Economic Inclusion includes a key element called Syracuse College Promise that ensures the availability of a last-dollar scholarship plan for every graduating student of the Syracuse City School District.

Seven  years ago, the local community partnered with Say Yes to Education, Inc., a national non-profit foundation committed to dramatically increasing high school and college graduation rates for urban students in the Syracuse City School District. During that time, more than 1,000 Syracuse City School District students each year have been supported through Say Yes scholarships. New surround supports for students and their families were also created and expanded to enhance opportunities for student academic achievement – from legal and health services to mental health support and afterschool programs.

“This is a tremendous example of collective impact working to change the community for the better,” said Peter Dunn, Community Foundation President & CEO. “Since its beginning, the Community Foundation has supported the program with $2 million in funding commitment, convening, fiscal management and strategic guidance. We saw this initiative as an opportunity for the community to collaborate towards a common goal – education attainment for our City’s children. It’s a significant moment for our community now that we can that our investments, along with those of so many others, helped to leverage permanent capital that will support thousands of kids for generations to come.”

The Syracuse City School District carries the fourth highest child poverty rate among the 684 districts in New York State. One out of every two children living in the City of Syracuse lives in poverty. This scholarship is designed to ensure higher education attainment and a brighter economic future for students.

A fundraising campaign started in 2009 with the goal of creating an endowment to support the Syracuse College Promise. SRC, Inc. was an early supporter of the endowment by pledging a dollar-for-dollar match of every donation made to the Say Yes to Scholarship Endowment Fund, up to $5 million. More than 1,000 individual and corporate donors contributed to the endowment to help it reach its goal. The match was finalized this Tuesday, bringing the total raised by the local community to $10 million.

Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of permanent charitable endowments for the betterment of the region.  The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of nearly $190 million. It awarded $9.9 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations and since its inception has invested more than $135 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and businesses through the administration of nearly 700 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen local nonprofits and address the region’s most pressing challenges. cnycf.org

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