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Delaware North, Jacobs family announce $1 million gift to Say Yes Buffalo endowment fund

Local commitments to $100 million endowment campaign now total more than $2 million to provide postsecondary scholarships to eligible Buffalo students

BUFFALO, N.Y. (May 17, 2019) – Delaware North and the Jacobs family today reaffirmed their support of Say Yes Buffalo with a $1 million gift to its five-year, $100 million endowment campaign, which will ensure scholarship availability for eligible students for years to come. Including this donation and one in 2012, Delaware North has committed more than $2 million to the Say Yes Buffalo Scholarship Fund.   
“Delaware North is proud to renew our commitment to Say Yes, which is making tremendous strides in helping to ensure college access and success for Buffalo’s students,” said Jerry Jacobs Jr., Co-Chief Executive Officer, Delaware North. “This endowment fund will help Say Yes to perpetuate its great work well into our city’s bright future. We look forward to continuing to celebrate the many successes of Western New York’s college-bound students.”
Announced in 2018, the Say Yes Buffalo Endowment Campaign aims to raise $100 million by 2023 to secure the availability of Say Yes postsecondary scholarships and grants forever. To date, $38 million has been raised toward the $100 million goal. 
“We are honored by the continued commitment to the Say Yes vision that the Jacobs family and Delaware North wholeheartedly support,” said Alphonso O’Neil-White, chair of the Say Yes Buffalo Scholarship Board. “From our inception, Delaware North has supported our mission above and beyond fundraising goals. They have a firm understanding that the promise of a tuition-free college education is just the start in getting students from kindergarten to career. They provide support and guidance to our various program areas, most notably our internship program, where the company provides paid opportunities for our scholars to gain on-the-job business experience. Moreover, Jerry commits his time to ensure the success and continued growth of our organization by serving as a Founding Board Member since 2012. We are forever grateful for their unwavering support.”
Since the launch of Say Yes Buffalo in 2012, the Buffalo Public School District has seen promising results in high graduation and college matriculation as a result of the availability of a host of Pre-K through 12th grade supports, college tuition scholarships and supports for students once they enroll in college. Since launch, Buffalo’s public high school graduation rate has increased by 16 percentage points, from 49% in 2012 to 65% in 2018. College matriculation rates have also increased from 57% in 2012 to 67% in 2017.
The Say Yes Buffalo Partnership is an education-based initiative that provides a powerful engine for long-term economic development, which will radically improve the life course of public-school students in the City of Buffalo. Catalyzed by a locally funded scholarship program and bolstered by a successful national model that includes support for district-wide school improvements and alignment of community and public support services, Say Yes Buffalo aims to increase educational attainment of the students in the Buffalo Public Schools. To accomplish this, Say Yes Buffalo partners collectively address financial, academic, health, and social/emotional barriers to educational attainment to ensure all students have the tools to successfully earn a postsecondary degree.
Delaware North is one of the largest privately-held hospitality companies in the world. Founded in 1915 and owned by the Jacobs family for over 100 years, Delaware North has global operations at high-profile places such as sports and entertainment venues, national and state parks, destination resorts and restaurants, airports, and regional casinos. Our 55,000 employee associates are dedicated to creating special experiences one guest at a time in serving more than 500 million guests annually. Delaware North has annual revenue of more than $3 billion in the sports, travel hospitality, restaurants and catering, parks, resorts, gaming, and specialty retail industries. Learn more about Delaware North at
Launched in 2012, the Say Yes Buffalo partnership is a community collaboration dedicated to strengthening the city’s public-school system and increasing high school and postsecondary graduation rates.  Comprised of the Buffalo Public School District, City of Buffalo, Erie County, the Buffalo Teachers Federation, the District Parent Coordinating Council and more than one-hundred other funders and community-based-organizations is made possible by the collaboration and generosity of Western New York individuals, families, businesses and organizations and Say Yes to Education. More information at