Dr. Ellen E. Grant is a Weiss Institute Fellow. The Institute is an initiative of Say Yes to Education that helps expand the capacity of communities to support young people along the developmental pathway from early childhood to adult success. The Institute partners with communities to address inequities and boost economic development, and does so by marshaling the field’s best thinking, best practices and latest research, as well as by drawing on 30 years of Say Yes’ own experience, expertise and lessons learned.
Dr. Grant most recently served as Senior Vice President for Chapter Programming at Say Yes to Education’s National organization. From late 2013 until July 3, 2015, Dr. Grant served as Deputy Mayor of the City of Buffalo, the state’s second largest city. Her responsibilities included overseeing education and health policy, as well as many of the office’s day-to-day operations. In that capacity, she worked closely with other community leaders to develop and implement the Say Yes Buffalo partnership. As a citywide chapter in the Say Yes National organization, Say Yes Buffalo partners with stakeholders throughout the community to help ensure that graduates of the city’s public and charter schools have access to college or other post-secondary scholarships, as well as to academic, social-emotional and other supports and services intended to eliminate barriers to achievement.
Dr. Grant has a Ph.D. in communications and organizational behavior from the University at Buffalo, where she also held faculty teaching positions. Before joining the Buffalo City Government, she served in a number of leadership positions throughout Western New York including as director of Cornerstone Manor, the women and children’s division of the Buffalo City Mission; vice president of community affairs and vice president for behavioral health, wellness and health promotion at BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York, and president and CEO of Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
She served as Commissioner of Mental Health from 1988 to 2000, during Erie County Executive Dennis T. Gorski’s administration, and has been a licensed private therapist for 25 years. She continues to serve as a volunteer, emeritus on the University of Buffalo Foundation Board. She formerly served as National Co-chair of the Black Women’s Health Study at Boston University. In 2018, she was named to the BankOnBuffalo Board of Advisors. She describes herself as “a proud product” of the Buffalo Public Schools.