National Grid & Say Yes Syracuse Honor Marshall A. Nelson Urban Minority Scholarship Fund

Donate to the Marshall Nelson Fund

SYRACUSE, N.Y. – National Grid today announced a transfer of the company’s employee-funded Marshall A. Nelson Urban Minority Scholarship Fund to Say Yes Syracuse’s Say Yes to Education STEM Endowment Fund.

“Marshall Nelson is a wonderful example of the scholarship’s ideals of stewardship and community engagement,” said Melanie Littlejohn, National Grid regional executive of Central New York. “Marshall was a dedicated member of Niagara Mohawk for more than 26 years, a career that started in 1968. That time in American history saw many changes. Marshall courageously led our company through the challenging journey to diversity.”

The Marshall A. Nelson Urban Minority Scholarship Fund was established in May 1998 by the National Grid Minority Employees Advisory Council to honor Nelson’s pioneering efforts and community achievements. A Syracuse-native and early crusader for civil rights, Nelson’s bold and persistent efforts benefited an untold number of women and minorities, helping them to gain access to corporate America. Nelson’s sincere commitment to advancing the development of higher education programs for minority youths in the Syracuse urban community remains a legacy to this day.


Marshall Nelson joins Abdi Warsame, a Marshall Nelson Fund Scholar who is studying accounting at Syracuse University

To date, more than $25,000 has been awarded to 24 Syracuse City School District students to help them achieve post-secondary education.

“The Syracuse City School District is proud to partner with the Marshall Nelson Fund, National Grid and Say Yes to Education to offer scholarships to students interested in pursuing a degree in the STEM field,” said Sharon Contreras, Syracuse City School District superintendent. “The timing could not be better as SCSD has increased advanced course offerings and career pathways in STEM related areas. Through our efforts to provide high quality STEM programming and the generosity of sponsors who are providing post-secondary STEM scholarships, our students can pursue careers in exciting, growth fields.”

Transfer of the scholarship from National Grid to Say Yes Syracuse provides for a selection committee each year to choose one Marshall Nelson scholar. The Central New York Community Foundation will manage the program.

“It is truly an honor for Say Yes Syracuse to be associated with the Marshall Nelson Minority Scholarship Fund,” said Patrick Driscoll, local operations director of Say Yes Syracuse. “Mr. Nelson has been a tireless advocate for minority youth in the city of Syracuse for many years and Say Yes is proud to be associated with his inspiring work. This new relationship also reinforces our strong partnership with National Grid as well as our commitment to providing students in the city of Syracuse with the tools they need to ensure post-secondary success.”

To be considered a Marshall Nelson Scholar, students must plan to attend college to study in a STEM discipline and demonstrate strong community and scholastic achievements. The Marshall Nelson Fund will join a collection of endowed funds, managed and administered by the Central New Community Foundation, to support the Say Yes tuition promise for graduates of the Syracuse City School District. The fund will become part of a perpetual source of last dollar tuition aid for students wishing to pursue degrees in STEM fields with the hope Nelson’s legacy of scholarship and community service will live on and inspire future leaders.

“Since it was established, the Marshall A. Nelson Minority Scholarship Fund has reflected Marshall’s pioneering efforts and community achievements,” said Peter Dunn, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “The fund’s transition to support Say Yes Syracuse will help that legacy continue, providing urban youth with scholarship assistance that will help them succeed.”

Each scholarship provided by Say Yes Syracuse is focused on removing financial barriers to college for urban students, with preference given to those studying within the STEM discipline. National Grid and Say Yes believe every student should be given the same opportunity for post-secondary education success. Inclusion of the Marshall Nelson Fund in the Say Yes to Education STEM Endowment Fund will help to provide the organization with the means necessary to identify eligible students and provide them with financial aid to all SUNY and CUNY institutions, as well as access to more than 50 private colleges and universities.

National Grid supports community involvement and diversity with its corporate mission of valuing people through inclusion, which calls for continuous acknowledgment of diversity in celebration activities about each other and the communities it serves.

About the Central New York Community Foundation

Established in 1927, the Central New York Community Foundation encourages local philanthropy by supporting the growth of a permanent charitable endowment for the betterment of the region. The Community Foundation is the largest charitable foundation in the region with assets of more than $143 million. It awarded $8.3 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations and since its inception has invested more than $120 million in the community. The Community Foundation serves as the steward of charitable legacies for individuals, families and businesses through the administration of more than 600 funds. The organization also serves as a civic leader, convener and sponsor of special initiatives designed to strengthen nonprofits that address the region’s most pressing challenges. For more information, visit

About National Grid

National Grid (LSE: NG; NYSE:NGG) is an electricity and gas company that connects consumers to energy sources through its networks. The company is at the heart of one of the greatest challenges facing our society – to create new, sustainable energy solutions for the future and developing an energy system that underpins economic prosperity in the 21st century. National Grid holds a vital position at the center of the energy system and it ‘joins everything up’.

In the northeast US, we connect more than seven million gas and electric customers to vital energy sources, essential for our modern lifestyles. In Great Britain, we run the gas and electricity systems that our society is built on, delivering gas and electricity across the country.

National Grid delivers electricity to approximately 3.3 million customers in Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island. It is the largest distributor of natural gas in northeastern U.S., serving approximately 3.4 million customers in New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

For more information please visit our website:

About Say Yes Syracuse
Say Yes Syracuse is a chapter of Say Yes to Education, Inc., a non-profit foundation committed to dramatically increasing high school and college graduation rates for urban students. Since 2008, Say Yes Syracuse and a community of caring, committed people have devoted time, money and resources to provide holistic, year-round support to our students throughout their K-12 years and beyond. To date, Say Yes Syracuse has helped more than 2,000 Syracuse high school graduates attend college. Say Yes Syracuse offers access to more than 150 colleges and universities to students who graduate from a high school in the city of Syracuse.


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