BISON Scholarships change thousands of lives

BISON is a program that is working right now, instead of needing to wait for reform and policy changes. BISON is a prime way for thousands of children to have immediate access to a safe, quality, values-based education.

Private schools in WNY have thousands of empty seats, and with your help we can fill those seats now. BISON is the solution for thousands of low-income families who want a better education for their children but can’t afford it.

Supporting BISON is a great investment – perhaps the best investment we can make in our community. Educated communities are healthier, more productive, and more stable. Buffalo’s future is dependent on our area’s young people. For this reason, we believe BISON’s mission is as important as ever.

Our Challenges

  • Data from the U.S. Census Bureau report, shows that 47.3% of Buffalo’s children live in impoverished households, ranking Buffalo 3rd in the nation.
  • Children who live in poverty and read below grade level by 3rd grade are three times as likely to not graduate from high school as students who have never been poor.
  • High school dropouts are 3 times more likely than college graduates to live below the poverty line, and 8 times more likely to serve time in jail.
  • High school graduation rates hover around 60% for City of Buffalo students in public schools.
    The Buffalo Public Schools is one of the highest spending districts at over $20,000 per student.
  • While Buffalo is on the verge of a great renaissance, the City still remains one of the poorest in the country. The median household income of a BISON family of four is $33,892. This figure drops to approximately $28,000 for families living in the City of Buffalo.
  • WNY Catholic schools continue to close and consolidate. In the past decade, 39 Catholic elementary schools have closed and 12 have merged.

Our Solutions

  • This school year, 1,850 children are in safe, quality schools of choice.
  • BISON puts students in quality schools of choice with an average award of approximately $1,325 per child.
  • On average more than 95% of BISON 8th grade graduates graduate from high school and more than 85% continue on to college.
  • Beginning in fall 2018, BISON is expanding into high school. This expansion will provide even more pathways to successful futures for children and their families who might otherwise not get the opportunity they’ve earned. With the implementation of a High School Scholarship Program, we now can offer a $3,500 award to eligible BISON 8th graders (and their families), which will help bridge the financial gap and allow them to continue their education at a private school of their choice.
  • BISON is the only K-12 scholarship organization in WNY (and Upstate New York), and the K-8 program is the fifth largest program of its kind nationally.
  • BISON scholarships stabilize enrollments at private schools that provide a safe and academically sound environment.
  • 100% of our parents are required to contribute to their children’s education – a key factor in our students’ success. This provides parents a larger stake in their child’s education and keeps education a high priority in the home.
  • BISON supports parental choice and education reform efforts – both private and public – in order to give all children a quality education.