Educational Institutions

Buffalo Seminary

Independent day and boarding school for college-bound girls

aka SEM

Buffalo, NY


Buffalo Seminary (SEM) educates college-bound young women from diverse backgrounds in a vigorous and participatory environment that emphasizes development of character, intellectual independence, service and leadership. SEM strives to awaken each student to the opportunities available to women. One of the oldest girls' schools in the U.S., SEM has designed a culture of achievement, scholarship, creativity and leadership tailored for girls since 1851. We do not require uniforms and are not bound by religion. Our independent day and boarding school allows girls to challenge themselves, express themselves, and to succeed in college and prepare for adulthood. As a day and boarding school, girls attend SEM from all over the world.

Ruling Year


Head of School

Mrs. Helen Ladds Marlette

Main Address

205 Bidwell Parkway

Buffalo, NY 14222 USA


Girls Education





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Secondary/High School (B25)

Alumni Associations (B84)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

We educate girls to be college ready and engaged, global citizens.

Our programs

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

High School Diploma

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

We prepare young women from Western New York State and the across the globe to be knowledgeable, committed, empathetic citizens.

Our strategies include an accomplished faculty supported by externally sourced professional development as teachers; by the creation of the position Dean of Teaching & Learning for the 2018-19 school year; by the creation of an Assistant Head of School for Academics & Equity for the 2018-19 school year. Since 2008, SEM has had a boarding school - while some of our boarding students are domestic, about 20% of our students are international. This is important growth for domestic and international students, we all learn from each other. We have recently strengthened our endowment with a successful capital campaign which ensures our future is solid.

Our extraordinarily accomplished faculty and staff - over 70% have advanced degrees - are dedicated to girls' education and their specific needs.

We know from what our recent graduates tell us about how well-prepared they are for college compared to their peers, we know from our alumnae who stay connected through decades and help each other in business and support each other as friends. We know by the success of our alumnae in the arts, business, science and medicine, and community service fields. engagement of our students in their studies, their sports and clubs, their community service.

For 167 years SEM has graduated confident, engaged, educated women who believe they are capable of anything.

External Reviews

Awards & Accreditations

National Register of Historic Places - Listed Property

Affiliations & Memberships

National Association of Independent Schools - Full Member

Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE)

The Association of Boarding Schools

The National Coalition of Girls' Schools

The Association of Small Boarding Schools

New York State Association of Independent Schools



Buffalo Seminary

Fiscal year: Jul 01 - Jun 30

Need more info on this nonprofit?

Need more info on this nonprofit?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to view a Sample Report.


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2017, 2016 and 2015
A Pro report is also available for this organization for $125.
Click here to see what's included.

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

In order to support nonprofits and gain valuable insight for the sector, GuideStar worked with D5—a five-year initiative to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy—in creating a questionnaire. This section is a voluntary questionnaire that empowers organizations to share information on the demographics of who works in and leads organizations. To protect the identity of individuals, we do not display sexual orientation or disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff. Any values displayed in this section are percentages of the total number of individuals in each category (e.g. 20% of all Board members for X organization are female).

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.


This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members, Senior Staff, Full-Time Staff and Part-Time Staff.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity
Diversity notes from the nonprofit
Two years ago SEM created a full-time director of expansion and inclusion position. The summer of 2018, the position was renamed and elevated to assistant head of school for academics and equity. This fall (2018) the board ratified a formal gender identity policy created by an ad hoc committee that worked for 6 months to research, hold forums with stakeholders (parents), and create surveys for both students and alumnae to air their opinions.