The Lumina Foundation, the prestigious private foundation committed to dramatically increasing the proportion of Americans with college degrees and other credentials by 2025, announced today that two Say Yes cities – Buffalo and Syracuse – were among 20 communities to be designated as the first partners in a community mobilization initiative led by the foundation.
The collaborative effort is designed to help communities and regions raise the number of local residents with postsecondary credentials, in part by connecting participating cities with significant technical and planning assistance, data tools, flexible funding and special access to a powerful network of national thought leaders.
Among the members of that network is Say Yes to Education, the national nonprofit group that organizes and galvanizes entire cities around making a college education accessible and affordable. Say Yes – which has worked with local partners to make available an array of supports to all public school families in Syracuse (since 2008) and Buffalo (since 2012) – has also received a $750,000 grant from Lumina to help expand its program, including to other cities.
"Say Yes wishes to thank Lumina for its leadership in seeking to move the entire nation toward the goal of all citizens completing a post-secondary education,,'' Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey, the president of Say Yes to Education, said. "Through its generosity, Lumina will enhance the efforts already underway by Say Yes and its local partners in Syracuse and Buffalo, and help smooth our journey to additional cities."
Lumina said it had selected Buffalo to join in its mobilization effort because of the work being done to improve postsecondary attainment rates by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Say Yes Buffalo and Medaille College. Through this effort, Buffalo will develop an action plan to increase the percentage of local residents with high quality associate and bachelor’s degrees. In choosing Syracuse, Lumina cited similar work by the Syracuse City School District, Syracuse University, Say Yes to Education, the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County.
A full press release from Lumina can be found here.