HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point Community Foundation today announced that a local donor has pledged $1 million in support of bringing the Say Yes to Education initiative to Guilford County. The commitment marks the first gift from High Point – thus driving home the point that this undertaking is truly a Guilford County-wide effort.
The pledge, from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, brings the total of pledged support so far to $9 million of an initial $28-million fundraising effort.
All pledges are contingent on Say Yes to Education officially selecting Guilford County as the nation’s next Say Yes community. In January, Say Yes notified Guilford that it is the leading candidate for this designation. To be officially selected, Guilford County must achieve several remaining goals – one being fundraising. Say Yes is aiming to make a decision by this fall.
“We believe in High Point,” stated the anonymous donors. “Say Yes to Education will directly impact one of High Point’s biggest economic challenges, which is the lack of economic and educational opportunities for some of its citizens. We have many young people who come from families with no tradition of higher education and this program will open the door for these students to attend two- and four-year colleges.”
Since early 2014, when area leaders began exploring a potential partnership between Say Yes and Guilford, everyone has stressed that not only would Say Yes serve all corners of the county, but that the effort to secure the opportunity would be a community-wide endeavor, as well.
“The commitment we are announcing today is another sign of the deep support we are seeing in the High Point area for Say Yes,” said Paul Lessard, president of the High Point Community Foundation. “This donor has set the bar high and demonstrated an inspiring example of support that we are confident will only grow over the next few months.”
Bill Bencini, mayor of High Point, agreed.
“I have always known that High Point has a history of being a generous community,” Bencini said. “Say Yes provides an unprecedented opportunity to work with partners across the county to make a dynamic change in educational outcomes for our students. This is critical as we continue to work to revitalize our city and the economy across the region.”
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.
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.
“Young people are our future and education is their passport for a future filled with success and framed with significance. Say Yes is an extraordinary program carefully structured to ensure that Guilford County students can have a bright future.” said Dr. Nido R. Qubein, president of High Point University.
People can follow Guilford’s Say Yes efforts on Facebook at facebook.com/Guilford-says-yes.