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Say Yes to Education Syracuse

Chris Gilkes grew up in Syracuse’s Southside neighborhood. His single mother provided for him the best that she could, but without assistance high tuition costs would have made college unattainable. Chris did his part - maintaining a high GPA, participating in various varsity sports and volunteering for local community organizations.

His hard work was rewarded with a merit scholarship and funding from Say Yes to Education Syracuse. He now attends SUNY Oswego and plans to study zoology, a pursuit in line with his love for animals.

Syracuse University and the Syracuse City School District partnered with Say Yes to Education, Inc. to commit college scholarships for every eligible student graduating from the Syracuse City School District. Many private institutions also offered tuition assistance. The Community Foundation stepped in to provide a key missing element in the program – tuition scholarships for attendance at New York State colleges and universities. The Community Foundation established the Say Yes to Education Fund and committed to match private gifts to the fund up to $1,000,000 until 2013.

Chris’ mother is very proud of her son, the first in their family to strive for a Bachelor’s Degree. The Community Foundation’s contribution to Say Yes to Education effort is helping students like Chris attend the SUNY/CUNY schools of their choice, making it Where the Smart Money Gives Back.