Access to a quality education is a foundational value that addresses numerous community challenges – from poverty and unemployment to kindergarten readiness and healthcare outcomes. Nourishing the education of our region’s residents from infancy to adulthood remains a priority in our initiatives and grantmaking.

Here is a sample of what we accomplish when we combine the generosity of our donors with the hard work of our community partners. With your help, we can do more.

Our Impact


free children’s books distributed through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library


Say Yes Syracuse students enrolled in 2 and 4-year colleges since 2009


in Community Grants supported education programs since 2017


students received scholarship awards totaling $1.7M in 2022-23

What We’re Doing

Kids are in the classroom exercising while doing math!
Children participate in Math & Movement in the classroom.

The inability to read, write and do basic calculations can erode one’s hope for a brighter future. Without functional literacy skills, our neighbors, families and the whole community remain vulnerable and at a disadvantage in today’s global economy. We’ve helped:

  • Provide young children with a steady stream of new books to read with their families
  • Train volunteer literacy tutors to teach adult learners English language skills
  • Instruct teachers to serve as reading coaches in Central New York schools
  • Collectively support community initiatives that improve literacy levels across the lifespan
a child participates in activity in classroom setting.
A child participates in activities at WHOLE ME.


Children who enter kindergarten already behind in their learning may struggle to keep up through the remainder of their schooling. Having access to a strong education between pre-kindergarten and third grade correlates to school success and high graduation rates. We’ve helped:

  • Encourage parents to talk, read and sing with their children to influence brain and language development
  • Launch a music program for nursery school children
  • Connect residents to detailed academic achievement data on CNY Vitals
  • Develop communication and literacy skills of deaf and hard-of-hearing children and their families
Children using cutting paper in classroom setting
Children build rockets at McKinley Brighton Elementary School summer program.

Children living in high-poverty environments are met with few occasions to continue their learning outside of the traditional classroom. Ensuring that all children have access to the best education possible sets them up for continued success. We’ve helped:

  • Prevent summer learning loss by providing wrap-around supports and incentives for Syracuse City School District students to attend summer school
  • Purchase virtual welding software for use by Agriculture Education programs in rural districts
  • Create a children’s area and computer laboratory for visitors to a rural library
  • Provide support for youth to participate in academic and/or career enrichment opportunities
  • Offer a Regents preparatory program to children struggling in school
Student poses for picture in outdoor setting
Samantha Turnquest attended the University of Albany with a Say Yes to Education scholarship.

There is a strong link between hope and grades, achievement scores, retention and future employment. This means that the more hopeful a student feels about his or her future, the more engaged and motivated they may be to stay in school, and ultimately graduate. We’ve helped:

  • Send high-achieving students to college through the administration of our scholarships
  • Provide Syracuse City School District students with a path to college in the form of last-dollar Say Yes to Education scholarships
  • Offer a bridge program for Syracuse City School District students to prepare for community college enrollment
  • Facilitate the creation of student and family support services in the Syracuse City School District, including mental health services for at-risk students

Make a Difference with Us

Your assistance can aid us in making an even greater impact. Here are some ways you can help us do more.

Create a fund

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Support our work

Support our work by donating toward our grantmaking & initiatives

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