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.
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
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
LESS THAN 7% OF U.S. CHARITIES
ACHIEVE THIS RATING
SUCCESS BEYOND 8 TH GRADE
per student to achieve
99 % Average BISON
of 2014 BISON
on time from high
school in 2018
of BISON Fund
alumni go on
HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS
K-12 PARTNER SCHOOLS
OF OUR FAMILIES
AS LOW INCOME
OF 4 INCOME
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.
Awarded by Year
1995 — First Year
BISON expands into
high school tuition
24 th year
The BISON Fund
is built on a
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
to all 8
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
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
dreams of being a
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
“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
dreams of being a
Adat loves being in school at Catholic
Academy. She has lots of friends and
looks forward to coming to school every
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
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
Please stay with us in this worthwhile endeavor that is changing lives.
Paul D. Bauer
YOUR DOLLARS AT WORK
FISCAL YEAR EXPENSES
K-12 PROGRAM ADMIN
ENDING JUNE 2018
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.
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.
dreams of being a
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
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
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
Amy E. Popadick
Cynthia L. McDonald
284 Delaware Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14202
PHOTOGRAPHS © Katie Schneider Photography