Nichols School Establishes Chispa Scholarship Program

BUFFALO, N.Y. – Nichols School is pleased to announce today a $14 million dollar gift from The Chispa Foundation to fund the establishment of the Chispa Scholarship Program, a scholarship fund that embodies Nichols’ commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and increases access to a Nichols education. The scholarship will be awarded annually to two eligible African American rising fifth graders who reside in the City of Buffalo. It will fund fully their Nichols education through senior year. Named for the word of Spanish origin for “spark,” the Chispa Scholarship Program seeks to “spark” endless opportunities for generations of Buffalo students.
“This is a gift to the City of Buffalo. Nichols School is a 129-year-old institution that serves as a tremendous educational asset to the community. The Chispa scholarships intend to help make this asset accessible to low-income families in the Buffalo community and help make Nichols more representative of the community it serves,” said Sheila Cullen, President of The Chispa Foundation.
The Chispa Scholarship Program at Nichols started as a pilot program at the beginning of the 2020-21 academic year with two fifth grade recipients. After early success, the program expanded, adding six additional Chispa scholars for the 2021-22 academic year. Going forward, this transformational gift will enable Nichols to provide this opportunity to two fifth graders each year for the next estimated half-century.
“This transformational gift aligns perfectly with the pillars of our strategic plan and the goals of All iN: The Campaign for Nichols School. Nichols has made a true commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and this unique opportunity expands our ability to extend access to education on our campus and throughout our community,” said Chris Burner, Head of Nichols School.
In addition to covering the full cost of tuition from fifth grade through graduation from Nichols School, the Chispa Scholarship Program includes funding for books, fees, technology, transportation and extracurricular expenses. Committed to promoting an equitable educational experience, it also established student mentoring and academic support programs to provide each new scholar enhanced academic and social support.
“In sparking possibilities for all, generations of Chispa Scholars will go on to make Nichols School, our community and world a better place. The profound impact of this generous investment will be felt for years to come,” said Board of Trustees Chair, Kate Roach ’83.
Applications for the Chispa Scholarship Program for the 2022-23 academic year will open this fall. For information, please call 716.332.6325 or email
Nichols School is an independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school serving grades 5 through 12. Located on 30 acres in the heart of Buffalo, N.Y., Nichols is non-denominational, with 572 students from across Western New York, as well as several international students. Nichols provides access to challenging academic programs and extensive athletics, arts and extracurricular opportunities. Students are empowered to think critically, creatively and go beyond the test. Founded in 1892, Nichols is accredited by the New York State Association of Independent Schools.

About Us

Nichols School is a nationally recognized college preparatory coed independent school with a 130-year history.
© 2022 Nichols School - All rights reserved