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Cleveland Institute of Art joins Say Yes Cleveland scholarship program

Say Yes Cleveland

September 29, 2022

Say Yes Cleveland (SYC) is excited to announce that the Cleveland Institute of Art (CIA) has agreed to join the coalition of private colleges and universities that participate in the Say Yes scholarship program.

Diane Downing, Executive Director of Say Yes Cleveland, said: “The Cleveland Institute of Art is one the premier art schools in the country, and we are thrilled that our scholars now have this exceptional local option available to them through our scholarship program.”

“Say Yes Cleveland and CIA share the goal of empowering young people through education and resulting careers,” said CIA President + CEO Grafton Nunes. “We are proud to partner with Say Yes in providing CMSD students with the platform and the process to make their visual dreams a reality for the benefit of themselves and their community.”

CIA signed an agreement in March to join the Say Yes to Education Chapter Alliance Higher Education Compact. The Compact is a group of more than 120 private colleges and universities across the country that have committed to raising the high school and college graduation rates of low-income and underrepresented students through participation in the Say Yes scholarship program. Other local institutions that participate in the Compact include Case Western Reserve University, John Carroll University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and Baldwin Wallace University.

“CIA is deeply committed to co-creating the future of the City of Cleveland, and this partnership plays a key role in furthering our mission of cultivating creative leaders, inspiring people, strengthening our communities, and contributing to a thriving and sustainable economy through an innovative education in art and design,” said Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs + Chief Operating Officer Kathryn Heidemann, who will become CIA’s President + CEO on July 1, following Nunes’ retirement. “This is a win-win opportunity for these students, for CIA, and for the City of Cleveland.”

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As part of this agreement, the Cleveland Institute of Art has agreed to offer a minimum of two, but up to five new Say Yes Scholarships each year to eligible applicants who gain admission to CIA from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. For accepted applicants whose annual family household income is at or below $75,000, the Cleveland Institute of Art provide a grant that is equivalent, at minimum, to the cost of full tuition and mandatory fees. For accepted applicants whose annual family household income is more than $75,000, Say Yes Cleveland will provide a Choice Grant of up to $5,000 per year that can be applied to tuition and mandatory fees.

Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation commits $500,000 to Say Yes Cleveland support services

Say Yes Cleveland

Say Yes Cleveland is thrilled to announce that the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation has contributed $500,000 towards Say Yes Cleveland support services.

“We are extremely grateful to the Mandel Foundation for their generous support of Say Yes Cleveland’s support services,” said Diane Downing, executive director of Say Yes Cleveland. “While Say Yes Cleveland’s postsecondary scholarships often get the most attention, support services are the cornerstone of our long-term work. By helping students overcome the barriers that poverty often puts before them, they can stay on track to success and be prepared to take the full advantage of the Say Yes scholarship waiting for them after high school graduation.”

The Mandel Foundation’s grant will help fund the school-based support services Say Yes Cleveland provides for students in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District (CMSD) and partnering charter schools. Services include a Family Support Specialist in each school; the Say Yes Postsecondary Planning System, which helps identify student needs and enables the Family Support Specialist to connect them with services and support; and access to services such as after-school and summer programing, mental health services, and free legal assistance for students and their families.

Mandel Foundation President and CEO Jehuda Reinharz said, “Say Yes Cleveland is doing work that helps students and families today and will also help to improve Cleveland’s economy, neighborhoods, and workforce over the coming decades. It’s a strategy perfectly aligned with the Mandel Foundation’s commitment to urban engagement.”

“This contribution to Say Yes Cleveland support services is really an investment in a more dynamic, thriving future for our community,” said Stephen H. Hoffman, Mandel Foundation Board Chair. “These services help students overcome the significant challenges associated with multi-generational poverty, challenges that leave no room for setbacks and often hinder postsecondary pursuit or performance.”

During the two years of Say Yes Cleveland, the organization has sent more than 1,000 CMSD graduates to postsecondary education with the Say Yes Cleveland scholarship program, in addition to developing and launching support services programming.

Say Yes Cleveland support services are intended to be responsive to the evolving needs of students, so as more is learned about those needs, Say Yes Cleveland works to develop corresponding new programs and services. The first year of support services identified a large unmet need for mental health services for students; in response, Say Yes is expanding mental health counseling using State of Ohio grant funding.

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