Part 2: A definite Yes
Syracuse is first to fully commit to Yes. Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey, President of Say Yes to Education, Inc says that in its first 20 years, Say Yes has assisted some 1000 students to achieve a college education.
"So far Say Yes has donated or committed over 100 million dollars to education and we don't want to wait 20 years to serve another thousand," she said.
The Say Yes to Education, Inc. was founded in 1987 by legendary hedge-fund trader George Weiss with the intention of providing educational opportunities to a broad spectrum of disadvantaged youth. Focusing on removing the stumbling blocks that frequently face inner city students, Say Yes concentrates on creating an environment that not only encourages students to prepare for college, it removes many of the stumbling blocks that inhibit education and also provides the financial means for those who qualify to attend college.
According to Say Yes, the genesis of the program was a fraternity sponsored Christmas party for inner city children when Mr. Weiss was a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania. Weiss was taken by the life stories of the 12 children attending the party. He kept in contact with the then 12-year-olds, and during a visit for homecoming seven years, reconnected with them.
One of the group, all of whom had graduated from high school, told Weiss that it was his inspiration that had pushed them to succeed, "We could not have dropped out and looked you straight in the eye."
This revelation was the inspiration for Weiss to dedicate himself to providing the means for inner city youth to succeed.
Under the direction of Schmitt-Carey, Say Yes has partnered with elements of school districts in Philadelphia, Hartford, CT, Cambridge MA and Harlem to carry out its mission.