Promise Neighborhood

Buffalo Promise Neighborhood is a dynamic, integrated team of engaged professionals — an extension of M&T Bank's longstanding dedication to strengthening our community — focused on revitalization through education. We are driven by the belief that education and opportunity are intrinsically connected. When we talk about promise, we're talking about our commitment to exceptional support that improves education outcomes. But we're also talking about the promise that's realized when opportunities are equal and accessible. 

We recognize that when parents and children have the opportunity to succeed, families and the community around them are able to thrive, as well. Two-generation programs help parents gain new skills while their children receive high-quality education.

The vision began in 1993, when M&T Bank Chairman Robert Wilmers was frustrated with the state of public education in Buffalo. He had a radical idea: what if M&T Bank adopted one struggling school, invested in it, and cultivated an environment of high expectations and hopes? M&T partnered with Buffalo Public School 68, which would eventually become Westminster Community Charter School. In 2018, Westminster celebrates the legacy of Mr. Wilmers and 25 years of partnership with M&T Bank.

Since its founding in 2011, the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood has reached far and deep to serve families and students:

·       Managing Westminster Community Charter School and PS 80 Highgate Heights

·       Opening the first Children's Academy, a $3.5M Early Childhood Learning Center and building a second one at Gerard Place, slated to open in 2018

·       Winning a $5M Annie E. Casey Foundation Grant for a six-year, Two-Generation Parent Achievement Zone (PAZ) program, in collaboration with strong area colleges and Belmont Housing Resources of WNY, designed to help families succeed

·       Developing the Buffalo Promise Scholars Program, which pays full tuition for students attending private high schools

·       Partnering with Belmont Housing to renovate ten 14215 houses

Our efforts are making an impact:

·       100% of our first group of BPN Scholars graduated from Buffalo's top private high schools and are heading to college

·       70% of our 8th graders are accepted into Buffalo's best high schools

·       In 2018, our graduates enrolled in private high schools maintained an overall GPA of 84%

·       Our students have an average attendance rate of 94%, the best in Buffalo Public Schools

·       Learning and growth extend beyond the classroom through hands-on enrichment programs, clubs, extracurriculars, vocational experiences, after school activities, and Saturday Academy programming for families

·       The PAZ program has engaged more than 300 parents and families in financial education, career development, parenting strategy workshops, one-on-one coaching, and community building

·       167 PAZ families participated in coaching, achieving at least one of these goals: gaining full-time employment; completing post-secondary degrees; paying off debt; improving credit; establishing family reading routines; improving child's school attendance

·       100% of PAZ kids are Kindergarten-ready