Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
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Say Yes Cleveland Scholarship Fund: Empowering Students & Fueling Community Growth


Granting $1 million, the KeyBank Foundation will aid Say Yes Cleveland in advancing its objective of furnishing tuition scholarships to all qualifying students for the next twenty-five years. This financial support aligns with KeyBank's dedication to investing $40 billion in the communities it serves, including an $11 million commitment to bolster Say Yes initiatives.
Launched in January 2019, Say Yes Cleveland collaborates with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) to enhance the city's economic landscape, neighborhoods, and workforce by tackling postsecondary affordability. It ensures that every eligible CMSD or partnering charter high school graduate has access to a tuition scholarship for attending a public four-year or two-year institution or accredited training program.
Kelly Lamirand, KeyBank Cleveland Market President, emphasized the transformative opportunities Say Yes offers to Cleveland graduates, expressing pride in KeyBank's hometown support. This investment aims to alleviate the financial burden of college or trade school tuition, fostering generational wealth for students and families.
Executive Director Diane Downing conveyed gratitude for the KeyBank Foundation's ongoing commitment, citing their early contributions as catalysts for broader support. The Say Yes Cleveland scholarship fund prioritizes students' financial accessibility to college education, ensuring tuition coverage at participating institutions and committing to sustained support until at least 2044 through local contributions.
Through partnerships with foundations, businesses, and individuals, Say Yes Cleveland champions educational equity, providing equal opportunities to students irrespective of economic backgrounds, inspiring parental hope, and fortifying Cleveland's educational framework.

The Say Yes Cleveland scholarship fund strategically invests in both students and the community's future, fostering equal opportunities and enriching our collective well-being.
  1. Enhanced College Accessibility: Irrespective of their family's financial circumstances, the fund ensures that every CMSD student can afford higher education.
  2. Increased College Enrollment: This initiative significantly boosts college enrollment rates among CMSD students, expanding their future opportunities.
  3. Closing Socioeconomic Disparities: By narrowing the achievement gap among students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, the fund promotes a more equitable educational environment.
  4. Fostering a Highly Skilled Workforce: By facilitating access to higher education, the fund contributes to cultivating a skilled and educated workforce in Cleveland, thereby enhancing the city's economic potential.
  5. Economic Attraction and Retention: The presence of the scholarship fund attracts and retains businesses in Cleveland, showcasing the city's commitment to nurturing a well-educated, skilled workforce, which benefits both students and the wider community.
Since 2019, over 3,000 Cleveland Metropolitan School District graduates have enrolled in college or career training through Say Yes Cleveland. As of December 2023, 298 Say Yes Cleveland scholars have earned their postsecondary degree. The scholarship fund has disbursed nearly $9 million in tuition payments, supported by over $100 million raised locally from the private sector to sustain 25 years of college and career training scholarships for every eligible graduate.
KeyBank, since 2017, has upheld community commitments totaling nearly $2 billion in Northeast Ohio, supporting affordable housing, community development projects, small business and home lending to low-to-moderate income individuals and communities, and transformative philanthropy.