BISON Brochure 2018

bisonfund

Brochure for the BISON Children's Scholarship Fund, a 501 (c) 3 serving the 8 counties of WNY giving parents a choice and children a chance.

31,439

NEW BEGINNINGS

Giving parents a choice. Giving children a chance.


We Are Celebrating!

A MESSAGE FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

For 24 years BISON scholarships are symbols of the incredible collective impact that we can

have on a student, a family, a school, and a community. Thousands of children have been given

the opportunity to attend a school that best fits their needs regardless of their zip code. It is the

prime way for thousands of children to have immediate access to a safe, quality, and value-based

education, instead of needing to wait for reform and policy changes.

By giving families the opportunity to choose the right school for

their child and share in the tuition, BISON parents are given a

hand up, not a handout and are empowered to positively impact

their child’s future. They know that a quality education can open

the door to more opportunities and a better tomorrow.

31,439

SCHOLARSHIPS HAVE

BEEN AWARDED.

BISON Scholars continue to succeed beyond 8 th grade. Based on data received from BISON

graduates who submitted follow-up information, the BISON Class of 2014, this year’s graduating

high school Class of 2018, had a 99% on time high school graduation rate and 91% are continuing

on to a 2 or 4-year college! These statistics are proof that our scholarships assist in narrowing

the achievement gap in our region.

Beginning in the 2018-19 academic year, we are offering 49 scholarships for BISON 8 th grade

graduates to continue with a private education in high school. This is a natural expansion for

the BISON Fund and the truest example of school choice.

BISON is investing in the future of our community, one child at a time. We are grateful to everyone

who has been with us these past 24 years allowing us to advance our mission and achieve

such milestones. Our community’s generosity is putting hope within reach, allowing parents to

envision a brighter future for their children.

We look forward to continuing this impactful journey with you as our partner.

Amy E. Popadick

Executive Director


WHY BISON?

Your dollars go further with BISON

Through BISON’s partnership with

the Children’s Scholarship Fund in

New York, donations received can be

matched. Your gift is matched, first by

CSF, then by the scholarship families,

highly leveraging your investment.

SIX YEARS IN A ROW!

4 OUT OF 4 STAR RATING FROM

CHARITY NAVIGATOR

LESS THAN 7% OF U.S. CHARITIES

ACHIEVE THIS RATING

SUCCESS BEYOND 8 TH GRADE

$1,375

elementary investment

per student to achieve

these results

99 % Average BISON

of 2014 BISON

Scholars graduated

on time from high

school in 2018

91 %

of BISON Fund

alumni go on

to college

OUR IMPACT

2018-2019

SCHOOL YEAR

1,850

K-8 STUDENTS

49

HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS

85

K-12 PARTNER SCHOOLS

100 %

OF OUR FAMILIES

ARE CLASSIFIED

AS LOW INCOME

AVERAGE

BISON FAMILY

OF 4 INCOME

$38,971


HOW

WE’VE

GROWN

We have come a long way since 1995. A simple idea of

helping families choose their own path has grown into

opportunity for thousands. Each day we focus on meeting

the demand for our scholarships — leveling the education

playing field for more and more Western New York families.

Cumulative

Scholarships

Awarded by Year

2015

25,930

2016

27,730

2017

29,540

2018

31,439

2014

24,130

2012

20,550

2011

2013

22,280

1997

1,052

18,784 1996

1995 — First Year

2001

622

221

5,081

2010

Scholarships

16,974 awarded

2002

6,481

2009

15,624 2003

2008

14,184 2004

2007

12,674

2006

11,324

1998

1,650

2005

10,175

1999

2,909

2000

3,947

8,983

7,754


2018

BISON expands into

high school tuition

assistance

Milestones

2012

Surpassed 20,000

scholarships awarded

1999

2018

Surpassed 30,000

scholarships awarded

2005

Surpassed 10,000

scholarships awarded

2018-19

marks our

24 th year

Partnership

with Children’s

Scholarship Fund

begins 1997

Surpassed 1,000

scholarships awarded

2001

Surpassed 5,000

scholarships awarded

Program

Expansion

The BISON Fund

is built on a

foundation of

scholarships, but as

we touch a growing

number of lives we

are expanding our

vision and partners.

This creates an

ecosystem of support

for our families,

ensuring college and

career success for

their children.

2011

Expansion

to all 8

counties of

Western

New York

2007

Expansion

to first-ring

suburbs

1995

City of Buffalo


Over 31,400 Scholarships!

In our 24 year history, and through the continued generosity of

community supporters like you, we have awarded 31,439 scholarships

worth a private investment of $28.9 million.

Ava is hoping

to study at a

veterinary school for

college

Meet Ava

8TH GRADE

A thirst for knowledge and a true compassion for

caring for people are what makes Ava a truly blessed

eighth grader at St. Mark’s School in Buffalo. She is a

motivated self-starter and overachiever. She thrives on

the one-on-one teacher attention and individualized

care found in smaller schools.

Ava loves to read and write. When she isn’t busy with

her studies, Ava plays many sports including softball,

basketball, soccer, cross country, and cheerleading.

When she grows up, Ava aspires to be a veterinarian

and have a big loving family with an abundance of pets!

“The education St. Mark’s provides

for Ava and my five boys, all of which

receive the BISON Fund, has made my

husband and I so proud of the children

they are and the adults they will

become.” - AVA’S MOM

Helping Children with Dreams


Meet Eamon

4TH GRADE

Eamon

dreams of being a

paleontologist or

doctor!

Eamon is a wonderful student, artist, and athlete. He is an avid

baseball, basketball, soccer, and Gaelic football player.

Eamon loves school. He has a natural curiosity to learn about

the world around him and regularly curls up with a good book.

In addition, Eamon really enjoys math. He is always asking

about numbers, manipulating them, and calculating in his mind.

He has been selected as Student of the Month in the past and

received yearly English Language Arts, religion and art awards.

Eamon dreams of being a paleontologist or doctor when he

grows up.

“The BISON Fund means everything to Eamon and our

family. His education at St. Benedict’s would not be

possible without the help of the BISON Fund. It has

shaped Eamon’s character and faith.” — EAMON’S MOM

Adat

dreams of being a

teacher one

day

Meet Adat

4TH GRADE

Adat loves being in school at Catholic

Academy. She has lots of friends and

looks forward to coming to school every

day.

Her favorite subject is math because she loves

solving problems. Her other favorite class is art

because she likes to draw nature or animals. She plans to go

to college to become a math teacher.

“Adat comes from a large family. Many of

our children and relatives received BISON

awards. We are forever grateful to BISON

for the financial support.” — ADAT’S PARENTS

Become Students with Vision


You Are Changing Lives

MESSAGE FROM OUR CHAIRMAN, PAUL D. BAUER

To our Friends of the BISON Fund,

The expression goes - “Time flies when you are having fun.” In our case time

flies when energies are expended towards giving Families a Choice and Children a

Chance. With this our 24 th year, more than 31,400 awards will have been made to economically

disadvantaged children so that they have the life-changing opportunity to attend private elementary

school.

It is you, our donors, who have made it possible for these children to have a chance to break the

cycle of poverty and lead productive lives. We look at the BISON Fund as being a facilitator between

donors, schools, and the families of our BISON children. The real heroes though, are the families who

have to come up with their share of tuition. For most this is a very big sacrifice, but they know that

if the early foundation for learning isn’t made, there is very little chance of their children breaking

out to a successful life.

Last year we announced that the BISON Fund was starting a high school award program that would

be limited to 8 th grade BISON scholars. Our first year goal was to make twenty $3,500 awards. The

demand from the eighth grade class was overwhelming, with approximately 80% applying, or 125

children. Fortunately, other funders and donors stepped forward and we were able to make 49 awards!

If you would like to underwrite awards that would be designated to a particular high school, we can

easily handle such a gift. Please contact Amy Popadick, our Executive Director to work out details.

The success of the BISON Fund is due to committed families and to our loyal donors who make

it possible for these children to blossom. Plus, we are making for a stronger Western New York

community.

Please stay with us in this worthwhile endeavor that is changing lives.

Thank you,

Paul D. Bauer

Board President

YOUR DOLLARS AT WORK

FISCAL YEAR EXPENSES

$2,576,443

K-8 SCHOLARSHIP

$2,351,876 (91.3%)

K-12 PROGRAM ADMIN

$76,159 (3%)

FISCAL YEAR

ENDING JUNE 2018

FUNDRAISING

$148,408 (5.7%)


DONOR SPOTLIGHT

Lisa and Bill Huntress

Giving all of our children an opportunity to learn is one of the most

important goals of our society. It is through education and learning

that we all have choices in life. Choices to prosper and help each other.

Lisa and I believe that there is nothing we can do that is more important for the

long term benefit of our community than helping young kids receive a sound education. The

BISON Fund accomplishes this in a highly efficient and effective way and we feel fortunate

to have the resources to help BISON fulfill its important mission to educate our children.

Throughout our lives, Lisa, I, and our family have had the help and support of friends, family,

business partners and the community which has allowed us to prosper. We feel blessed every

day and believe that our children and the children of our community are all our futures.

Through the help of the BISON Fund, children have the opportunity to gain holistic strength

through education. The strength to be whoever they want to be.

Thank you BISON Fund. We commend your efforts in helping families in WNY improve their

children’s lives through school choice.

BISON GOES HIGHER

With the introduction of our High School Scholarship Program, we’re taking our investment

in our families to the next level because we know they can and do succeed beyond 8 th grade.

Expanding our program will provide even more pathways to successful futures for children and

their families who might otherwise not get the opportunity they’ve earned.

BISON is the only K-12 scholarship program in WNY, and the 5 th largest K-8 program nationally.

Your ongoing support will allow BISON to continue offering a hand up – not a handout – to

families who want to provide their children with the best education of their choosing.

An annual $3,500 scholarship is awarded to eligible 8 th grade BISON Scholars. The $3,500

scholarship follows them through high school, continuing for all four years.

Our community’s response to our new high school program has already been significant. We

originally planned for 20 scholarships in 2018-19, but because of our community’s investment,

we are offering 49 scholarships to high school students that includes two named scholarships:

Judy Carr Beecher ’58 Memorial Scholarship. In memory of one of our BISON co-founders

who passed away in late 2017, whose passion was to make school choice a reality for every

child in Western New York. This scholarship is awarded annually to an incoming BISON

freshman at Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart, Judy’s alma mater.

Thomas J. Comer, Jr. ’81 Memorial Scholarship. In memory of a tireless champion of BISON,

its work and children in general, who passed away suddenly in the fall of 2017. Tom was a

BISON board member for 10 years and Chair of the Development Committee for BISON.

Tom’s goal was to expand to follow our BISON scholars into high school to help families

continue with private education. This scholarship is awarded to an incoming BISON freshman

at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute, Tom’s alma mater.


OUR MISSION

Founded in 1995, the BISON Children’s

Scholarship Fund is a privately funded 501(c)(3)

organization whose mission is to broaden the

educational opportunities for Western New York

children by helping low-income families afford

the cost of private K-12 schools.

Robian

dreams of being a

lawyer

Meet Robian

10TH GRADE

Robian received one of the first BISON high school scholarships.

A graduate of SS. Peter & Paul School in Williamsville, Robian plays

both soccer and baseball at Canisius High School. Robian says that

he felt well-prepared for high school thanks to the great teachers in

elementary school.

Robian’s BISON high school scholarship gave him the good fortune

to take advantage of the education offered by Canisius and he is very

grateful for the opportunity. Robian hopes to attend Georgetown

University and become an attorney.

“We are grateful for all that BISON has provided for

Robian and our family. Thank you for providing us this

opportunity!” – ROBIAN’S PARENTS

BOARD MEMBERS

JONATHAN AMOIA

PAUL D. BAUER

THOMAS R. BEECHER, JR.

PATRICIA A. FARRELL

ANDREW L. FORS

SEN. CHRISTOPHER L. JACOBS

BRENDAN J. KELLY

TOD D. MARTIN

MICHAEL L. McCABE

HON. NANCY A. NAPLES

JAMES J. NASH

REV. JOSEPH S. ROGLIANO

PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL DESIGNEES

PAUL P. SEMINARA

CHRISTINE L. STANDISH

ELIZABETH C. SULLIVAN

DENNIS J. SZYMKOWIAK

KELLIE M. ULRICH

HEATHER A. WILLIAMS

STAFF

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Amy E. Popadick

PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Cynthia L. McDonald

CONTACT INFO

284 Delaware Avenue

Buffalo, NY 14202

716.854.0869

www.bisonfund.com

CREDITS

PHOTOGRAPHS © Katie Schneider Photography