Founded in 1995, the BISON Children’s Scholarship Fund is a privately funded tuition assistance program for low-income elementary school children to attend a private elementary school of choice. BISON’s mission is to provide low-income parents with a full range of choices for their children’s education.
The BISON Fund was established after its founders assessed the array of educational opportunities and determined that low-income families lacked quality choices in education. Prior to BISON, families had few choices regarding their children’s education and even though many parents desired a better education for their children (i.e. smaller class sizes, a safer learning environment, and greater involvement in their children’s education), private school tuitions were not economically feasible for these struggling families. By offering partial scholarship assistance, BISON is empowering parents, often for the first time, with the ability to choose a school which best meets their child’s needs.
In our first year, BISON had over 500 City of Buffalo families apply for 200 available scholarships. This school year BISON has 1,800 economically disadvantaged children attending 71 schools throughout the eight counties of Western New York. BISON’s success is only outpaced by critical community need. Over 1,000 eligible children remain on a waiting list for a chance to attend (or stay in) their schools of choice.