Multiple, wide-ranging gifts totaling $890,000 pledged to Say Yes Guilford

Press Release

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December 8, 2015     
For immediate use
Multiple, wide-ranging gifts totaling $890,000 pledged to Say Yes Guilford
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Families, corporations and foundations have added nearly $900,000 to Say Yes Guilford coffers through pledges that vary greatly in size. 
The total amount of these pledges is $890,000 – bringing the overall amount raised so far by Say Yes Guilford to approximately $34.4 million, The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and High Point Community Foundation announced today.
A dozen of the 19 commitments are of amounts between $15,000 and $25,000, while others top out at $200,000. According to area fundraisers, this trend ushers in an exciting new phase of donor engagement with the program.
“Now that Say Yes has officially partnered with Guilford County, we are seeing many donors of all levels step forward to commit their support,” said Gordon D. Soenksen, chief development officer at The Community Foundation. “While we continue to pursue multiple seven- or eight-figure pledges, donations at any level and of all amounts – big and small – are encouraged and welcome. Everyone is invited to show their support for Say Yes Guilford.”
One new donor couple, Bethany and Nathan Duggins, sees far-reaching potential for the entire community as a result of Say Yes Guilford. “Our family is thrilled to support Say Yes,” Bethany Duggins said. “We believe this program will enrich the lives of Guilford County students today and make a transformative impact on our community’s future.”
New Say Yes Guilford donors are:
  • AT&T of North Carolina
  • Ed and Vivian Bauman
  • Dr. Julian and Ann Busby
  • Chuck and Nancy Cornelio
  • Hayes and Clem Clement
  • Nathan and Bethany Duggins
  • William and Candace Fenn
  • A.B. and Grace Henley  
  • Ken and Sally Hughes  
  • Ilderton Automotive Group
  • Dusty and Kay Maynard  
  • David and Vicki Miller
  • Skip and Peg Moore  
  • Jim and Ann Morgan  
  • David and Claudia Reich
  • Ray and Lisa Wheatley
  • The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust
  • Martha Yarborough  
  • Anonymous (1)
“Supporting Say Yes Guilford is an ideal match for the objectives of The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust,” said its executive director, Douglas C. Zinn. “In establishing the trust, Mr. Kenan wrote, ‘I have always believed firmly that a good education is the most cherished gift an individual can receive.’ Say Yes promises this gift, by providing a transformative approach to education in Guilford County through last-dollar, post-secondary tuition, as well as in lending invaluable support throughout students’ advancement toward graduation. It is exciting that Say Yes has arrived in North Carolina, and we’re pleased to contribute toward its success.”
Mary Vigue, the executive director of Say Yes Guilford, said excitement among supporters has only grown since the selection of Guilford County as a Say Yes community became official. “Our program is quickly taking shape, and we’ve hit the ground running. People throughout the community can see and feel that. In addition, we’re entering the scholarship application season, and students and families are researching schools. It’s an exciting time – and even more so for many because Say Yes support is now a reality for our public school graduates.”
Founded in 1987, Say Yes is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit that organizes and galvanizes communities around the goal of every student in the public school system graduating high school, and then helps those students access, afford and complete a college or other post-secondary education. A key component of a Say Yes partnership focuses on how a community addresses the social, emotional and financial barriers that prevent students from achieving this goal.
In early 2014, Guilford County Schools and the Guilford Education Alliance – with the support and assistance of The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro and the High Point Community Foundation – launched an exploration of a potential partnership with Say Yes to Education. On Sept. 17, Say Yes to Education announced its official selection of Guilford County as its new community partner. Since then, an executive director and some additional staff have been hired for the local operation. Say Yes Guilford plans to award its first scholarships to area students this coming spring.
The resulting Say Yes Guilford program is a community-wide partnership with Guilford County and its communities, Guilford County Schools system, and a myriad of organizations, including local philanthropic groups, businesses, foundations, parents, community-based programs and more. The program expects to begin awarding scholarships to qualified graduates of the Guilford County Schools system this spring.
For more information on Say Yes Guilford, please visit SayYesGuilford.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
NOTE TO EDITORS: The new, official Say Yes Guilford logo – which replaces the former Guilford Says Yes graphic (please discard) – is attached for your use.
About Say Yes to Education Guilford
Say Yes to Education Guilford was formally announced on Sept. 17, 2015. Guilford County vied with more than two dozen mid-sized cities and counties throughout the United States to become the next community partner of Say Yes to Education, Inc., a national nonprofit based in New York. Say Yes to Education Guilford seeks to help Guilford County Schools system students get the support they need to graduate from high school and be ready for post-secondary success. This support starts with the youngest learners and continues until students graduate from college or post-secondary programs. In addition, the program provides last-dollar tuition scholarships to Guilford County Schools graduates so they can afford to complete college or a postsecondary certificate. For more information, visit www.SayYesGuilford.org
About Say Yes to Education (national)
Say Yes to Education was founded in 1987 by money manager George Weiss, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania who boldly promised 112 sixth graders at a Philadelphia public school that he would pay to send them to college if they graduated high school. In the years since, Say Yes has evolved into a national nonprofit that helps organize and galvanize entire communities around the goals of every public school student graduating high school prepared for a college or other postsecondary education – and with access to scholarships to make that education affordable. The organization works with nearly 140,000 public school students in pre-kindergarten through grade 12. Most are in communitywide chapters in the upstate New York cities of Syracuse (since 2008) and Buffalo (2012). More than 5,000 students have gone off to college with the support of Say Yes, most in the last three years. The organization announced the addition of its newest chapter, in Guilford County, North Carolina, which includes the cities of Greensboro and High Point, on Sept. 17, 2015. The organization, which expects to add its fourth community chapter in 2016, has smaller chapters in Harlem and Philadelphia. http://www.sayyestoeducation.org
About Guilford County Schools
Guilford County Schools, the third largest school district in North Carolina, serves nearly 72,200 K-12 students at 127 schools. With approximately 10,000 employees, the district’s mission is to graduate responsible citizens who are prepared to succeed in higher education or the career of their choice. Guilford County Schools is a national leader in providing specialized schools and instructional programs designed to meet the educational needs of a culturally diverse citizenship. For more information, visit the district’s website at www.gcsnc.com.
About The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro
The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro is a charitable organization dedicated to strengthening the community for present and future generations. The Community Foundation promotes philanthropy, builds and maintains a permanent collection of endowment funds and serves as a trustworthy partner and leader in shaping effective responses to community issues and opportunities. Visit CFGG.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, LinkedIn and Pinterest.
About High Point Community Foundation
High Point Community Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to strengthening the community for both present and future generations. The foundation’s strategic focus includes education, food insecurity, and community cohesiveness. For nearly 18 years the High Point Community Foundation has been committed to serving the unmet needs of the community by serving as a conduit between donors and those with needs. Visit hpcommunityfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Media contacts
Say Yes Guilford
Mary Vigue
Executive Director
The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro
Lynn Wooten
Vice President, Marketing & Communications
High Point Community Foundation
Paul Lessard

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