FAQs en Español
FAQs in Burmese/ဗမာထဲတွင် အမေးအဖြေများ
FAQs in Vietnamese/Câu hỏi thường gặp trong tiếng Việt
FAQs in French/français
FAQs in Arabic/أسئلة وأجوبة باللغة العربية
What is Say Yes to Education?
Say Yes to Education is a nonprofit organization founded in the late 1980s by money manager George Weiss, whose business is headquartered in New York City and Hartford, CT. In 1987, Weiss promised 112 sixth graders at a Philadelphia public school, that when they graduated high school, he would pay for their college education. He also provided the students, and their families, with supports to help them reach that goal. He repeated this promise over the next two decades with other groups of children in Philadelphia, as well as in Cambridge, MA, Hartford, CT, and Harlem in New York City. In the mid-2000s, in response to Weiss’ desire to take the idea of Say Yes to scale, the organization expanded its strategy to apply to entire communities – and to make its services available to all of the children enrolled in a community’s public schools.
Since then, Say Yes has helped galvanize its partner communities around three main goals. First, Say Yes helps communities build local endowments that provide last dollar tuition scholarships so public school graduates can afford and complete a postsecondary education. Second, Say Yes works with the community to build student supports that help students every step of the way. In other Say Yes communities, these include after-school programs, summer programs, tutoring, legal assistance, health services and more. Third, Say Yes works with school leadership to ensure students are on the path to academic success.
What will Say Yes do for Guilford County?
The Say Yes Guilford partnership will provide an unprecedented opportunity for our whole community to work together to ensure that every graduate of the Guilford County Schools system (GCS) can get a college education or postsecondary certificate. Say Yes communities enjoy a significant, positive economic impact. Say Yes creates a more educated labor force, incentives for businesses to start or relocate into a community, a stronger tax base, increased property values and more. Say Yes can help revitalize our community and improve economic outcomes, while also helping students and families achieve their dreams of a college education.
Why did Say Yes choose Guilford County as a partner community?
Following a national competition, the Say Yes Board of Directors and senior management team chose our community for several reasons, including the openness of community partners to work together, the high percentage of our public school students who are from low-income backgrounds, and the steady leadership within GCS. Other reasons include the quality of our local colleges and universities, and the potential for raising the money needed for the college scholarship endowment that will benefit students for years to come.
What does Say Yes to Education know about our community?
The organization has already invested more than $1 million in our community to conduct feasibility studies, to share their vision and to create some basic structure for moving forward. The Say Yes team has met with diverse stakeholders from across our community to explore what it would mean to bring Say Yes here. This includes parents, students, teachers, nonprofits, business leaders, faith leaders, college and university administrators, and local government officials.
Has Say Yes done this work in other communities?
Yes. Say Yes has implemented programs with groups of students ranging in size from 50 to 300 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Hartford, Connecticut; Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Harlem, New York. Its community-wide strategy was piloted in the upstate New York city of Syracuse and has since been implemented in Buffalo, New York’s second largest city. Guilford County becomes the first county implementing Say Yes, and the first location outside of the Northeastern United States.
When will Say Yes tuition scholarships be available to students?
Say Yes scholarships are available to students who graduate from GCS high schools beginning in the Spring of 2016.
When will Say Yes services be available to students?
We anticipate the first phase of services would begin in GCS starting in 2016. Planning teams and working groups of Guilford County community members will identify services students and families need, and which services already exist but are not easy to access. In Syracuse, the services have been phased in over a period of five years. In Buffalo, services are still unfolding in the third year of Say Yes.