After falling short of fundraising goals, the Buffalo Urban League needs help with financing this year's annual scholarship program for local high school seniors.
Through sponsors and individual donations, the human services agency has raised enough money to grant 80 scholarships.
But it is looking to raise at least $15,000 for an additional 74, ranging from $250 to $2,000, said Brenda McDuffie, the organization's president.
When staff members start making calls and sending letters today notifying recipients in Erie and Niagara counties, many students will be left out.
"The need is absolutely critical. If we don't get the money, unfortunately we will not be able to provide those  scholarships," McDuffie said. "They have all graduated. They all have been accepted [into colleges]. Now it's getting that money to be able to go to school."
In the past, the Urban League raised money for the scholarships through its annual Scholarship Golf Tournament, which was canceled this year after many corporate participants said they would prefer to donate directly to the scholarship program, McDuffie said.
That way, employees would not have to take a day off from work to play in the daylong event. All the contributions would go directly to fund the scholarships instead of using part of the money to pay for the golf tournament.
Unfortunately, donations dropped off, McDuffie said.
"Some of them did [donate], but we didn't get a significant number to donate what they would have paid to be in a golf tournament," McDuffie said.
All of the contributions from the plea will go directly to the scholarship fund.
Anyone who donates $250 can name the scholarship or be named as a presenter.
To make a donation, call Kate Samborski at 250-2409 or go online to www.buffalourbanleague.org/DonationsOnline.html.