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
  • Real Kitchen & Market / Ray and Lisa Wheatley
  • David and Claudia Reich
  • 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, who just started in her role two weeks ago, 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.

###