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Letter: BISON scholarships give children a chance

BISON scholarships give children a chance

New figures, as reported by The News, show that more than half of all children in the City of Buffalo are living in poverty, ranking it the third worst in the country. The BISON Children’s Scholarship Fund addresses this statistic every day considering that all of our families are poverty level.

For low-income families, education is the means to break a cycle of poverty as it lays the foundation for future success. BISON, a privately funded tuition assistance program for elementary school, is a prime way for children to have immediate access to a safe, quality and values-based education, instead of needing to wait for reform and policy changes. BISON believes that all children, whether rich or poor, should have access to the widest array of educational opportunities.

Founded in 1995, BISON is the only K-8 scholarship program in Western New York, and the fifth largest nationally. In our 22-year history, BISON has awarded over 27,700 scholarships with a private investment of $23.7 million, impacting over 18,500 families in our community. This school year, BISON is funding 1,800 children in 71 different schools and over 1,000 eligible children remain on a waiting list for a chance to attend (or stay in) their schools of choice.

BISON is successful because it provides a hand-up, and not a hand-out. Graduates continue to succeed beyond eighth grade, with more than 95 percent graduating from high school and more than 80 percent continuing on to college.

Our region is on the verge of a great renaissance, however, our continued success is contingent upon our next generation. Child by child, BISON is investing in future leaders and entrepreneurs – giving parents a choice and children a chance.

Amy E. Popadick

Executive Director

BISON Children’s Scholarship Fund

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