BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - For 16 years, a local scholarship fund has been investing in children who might otherwise have no choice in their education.
With the recession and cutbacks, the number of applications are up and donations are down for the popular Bison Scholarship Fund.
Greg and Sue Ely are in a good place, literally and figuratively.
Why? Their children Briana and James are both students at Our Lady of Victory Elementary.
Greg said, "My wife and I both grew up Catholic schools, Catholic high school, colleges, so we wanted to instill values on our kids."
But like many families, financially it was virtually impossible.
Due to chronic illness and cancer, Greg is now 100 percent disabled and the family is living off his social security disability.
"So it has put big financial crunch on family for us to be able to afford most things," said Sue.
Most things, let alone tuition to OLV.
It's thanks to the Bison Scholarship Fund, a tuition assistance program for economically disadvantaged elementary school families in Buffalo and surrounding suburbs, that this dream has come true.
"Bison is all about choices, we're empowering families to make a choice for their children," said Kathleen Christy, Executive Director of the Bison Fund.
Kathleen Christy says in the past 16 years the Bison Fund has helped 16,000 children at a value of $11.5 million. "The families are chosen by lottery, this year they awarded scholarships to 1,325 children, down 100 from a year ago, 200 from two years ago, times are tough."
Due to the economy, donations are down and demand is up, the wait list for the scholarship is nearly 500.
What makes the Bison Fund such a wise investment is that it's partnered with the Children's Scholarship Fund, which matches all local donations. What is most important and unique,100 percent of the money goes to the children.
To make a donation to the Bison Scholarship Fund or to buy tickets to it's annual luncheon next Tuesday, go to Bisonfund.com .
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