Update: Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney announced, in her State of the County address Tuesday, Syracuse’s Say Yes to Education Fund would receive a $20 million contribution from the state, to help the struggling scholarship fund reach its goal of $30 million, in an effort to become self-sustaining.
Previously, the organization had until June of 2017 to come up with the money, after the national branch of the organization said it would no longer fund the city’s scholarships beginning next year.
Mayor Stephanie Miner also announced a $400,000 contribution to the fund, on behalf of the city, early Tuesday afternoon.
Mayor Stephanie Miner has announced the Syracuse Local Development Corporation (SLDC) will issue more than $42 million in bonds to support an expansion project at Crouse Hospital, and proceeds from the bond’s issuance fee, totaling about $400,000, will go to the the Say Yes to Education Foundation Endowment.
However, the organization said it would still need to come up with an additional $20 million by June 2017, in order to continue to fund its scholarships for students.
Say Yes to Education is a non-profit based in New York City, which, until recently, provided Syracuse City School District Students with tuition-free scholarships to attend public colleges in New York.
But, the national organization said it won’t continue to fund the scholarships after next year, so Syracuse’s Say Yes program will have to find a way to fund its own endowment.
According to the mayor, following the city’s latest contribution, new contributions have reached $5 million, at which point the research firm SRC Inc. said it would match the donations, and bring the total of the organization’s contributions to $10 million, which is one-third of the way toward the group’s goal of $30 million.
“I am very pleased we are able to use the fee from this project to support the Say Yes to Education Endowment,” Miner stated. “The Say Yes program has already had an incredible impact in our community, sending over 2,000 students to college—many of whom may not have otherwise been able to attain higher education. With this support, we will see the continued impact of Say Yes to Education in our community.”
Peter Dunn, president and CEO of the Central New York Community Foundation, the organization which manages Syracuse’s Say Yes fund, said he believes Say Yes will have no trouble reaching its goal for the endowment.
“We are very pleased that the city is going to use proceeds from the SLDC’s bond issuance to support the Say Yes Scholarship Endowment Fund,” Dunn stated. “These scholarships have already had a transformational effect on the lives of many young people throughout our community, and this generous donation will see that benefit continue even further. The Community Foundation is proud to serve as the steward of this highly-respected program. This gift fulfills the final portion of the remaining community match of SRC Inc.’s $5 million gift to the Say Yes Scholarship Endowment Fund – bringing us that much closer to permanently endowing this scholarship for future generations of young people.”
Syracuse’s Common Council unanimously passed a resolution calling on the SLDC to use fees from its development projects to support Say Yes to Education in August of 2015. This has been the city’s first opportunity to use the funding to support Say Yes.
The SLDC board, which by law consists of the same membership as the Syracuse Industrial Development Agency (SIDA) board, also approved a resolution authorizing the contribution last December.
“This funding commitment from the Syracuse Local Development Corporation, and the city of Syracuse is an investment in the children of this community, and brings us one step closer to fully funding the Say Yes to Education Endowment,” Superintendent Sharon Contreras stated. “The endowment provides the financial support to so many of our families that otherwise would not be able to send their children to college. We are grateful to Mayor Stephanie Miner, and to the SLDC for their generous contribution; it will change the lives of thousands of young people across the city of Syracuse.”
Say Yes to Education has provided scholarships to over 2,500 Syracuse City School District graduates.
Visit http://sayyestoeducation.org/ for additional information regarding the program.