HIGH POINT, N.C. – A generous local benefactor has committed $1 million to support Say Yes to Education Guilford, the new education initiative that launched locally in September, the High Point Community Foundation announced today.

This new pledge illustrates the continuing, widespread support for this program in High Point, the Foundation’s president, Paul Lessard, said.

“We are pleased to announce that another High Point family, that has been longtime SYTEGuilford2philanthropists in the High Point community, has stepped up to make a $1-million commitment to Say Yes,” Lessard said. “This family has done so many wonderful things in our community over the years, and they could see that this was an opportunity to not only make an investment in young people, but also to the community, as well. Say Yes will send so many of our children to college and tech schools in the future, but equally as important it also will educate our workforce and positively change the economic tenor of our community forever.”

“We are so pleased that the support for Say Yes continues to be strong,” said David Miller, local leader and longtime education advocate. “We are now over halfway to raising the $70 million endowment we need, and more than ever we are looking for people who believe in education and want to see our community become all it can be.”

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.

“I am so grateful to the High Point community for their leadership and generosity,” said Mo Green, superintendent of Guilford County Schools system. “As the next Say Yes community, we will have a remarkable impact on the lives of our young people who may not be able to afford college otherwise. Every dollar pledged to this initiative is one step closer to eliminating that barrier and giving students and their families a new sense of hope.”

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.

The national Say Yes organization officially selected Guilford Country as its third Say Yes community in September during a countywide event that took place at Ragsdale High School in Jamestown.  George Weiss, the founder of Say Yes, attended the event and announced the partnership with the classic refrain, “Nothing could be finer than to Say Yes to Guilford County, North Carolina!”

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.

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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 High Point Community Foundation

The High Point Community Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to strengthening the community for both present and future generations. For more information visit www.hpcommunityfoundation.org