"Say Yes Buffalo" is being used as a model that other education stakeholders across the nation can use to improve college attainment rates. Mayor Byron Brown traveled to Los Angeles to address a national conference on how "Say Yes" is working to increase the number of Buffalo students heading to college.
"Say Yes Buffalo" provides tuition scholarships for city high school graduates to attend two- and four-year colleges. And it's working. From 2012 to 2013, there was a nine percentage point increase in graduates heading to college. The figure now stands at 66 percent.
But Mayor Brown says the program does so much more. For instance, there are Summer Bridge programs for incoming freshmen to Medaille College, ECC and Buffalo State to help smooth their transition to college work and expectations.
Brown says it's all part of a vast partnership.
"Of course, you have the educational sector. But you have the business and philanthropic communities, parents groups and teachers union, city and county government and the faith community all working together on this transformational initiative."
Brown says there were a number of charitable foundations at the Los Angeles conference that he approached about becoming involved in Say Yes Buffalo.
Joining Brown in Los Angeles are Clotilde Dedecker, president of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo and Say Yes to Education, Inc. President Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey.