Treehouse, a Seattle-based nonprofit organization that gives kids in foster care a childhood and a future, will support the ongoing statewide expansion of their Graduation Success program with a $500,000 general operating grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, they announced on Thursday, December 19.
“Treehouse has been a leader in partnering with children and youth in foster care for a long time, and the results speak for themselves,” said David Bley, Director, Pacific Northwest at the Gates Foundation. “Successfully navigating the educational system is key to a stable and opportunity-laden future, and we’re proud to back Treehouse in that effort and in everything they do for kids.”
Nationwide, only about 50 percent of youth in care graduate from high school. For those engaged in Treehouse’s Graduation Success program, 69 percent graduate on-time and 77 percent graduate within five years. The program started in King County in 2012 and now serves youth in nine counties. More expansion is planned annually. Treehouse’s goal is that by 2022, youth in foster care statewide will graduate from high school at the same rate as their peers, with support and a plan to launch successfully into adulthood.
“The Gates Foundation has been an unbelievable ally through a variety of projects, and this is an unexpected and transformative gift,” said Janis Avery, CEO at Treehouse. “We could not do this work without community support from the foundation and thousands of others. There is much more to do, and Treehouse looks forward to the day when youth in foster care experience graduation equity.”
In addition to this award, the Gates Foundation has selected Treehouse as a “Foundation Cares” community partner, a program that makes it easier for the foundation’s 1,200 Seattle employees to connect with local nonprofits. Their employees have organized multiple volunteer events, back-to-school drives and holiday drives for Treehouse, and every donation of volunteer time or money is matched by the foundation. Treehouse also was chosen to receive a $40,000 grant from the foundation through a collaboration with Challenge Seattle and the Road Map Project, which brings in high school students from South King County and teaches them about philanthropy and the grantmaking process.
Founded in 1988 by social workers, Treehouse is Washington’s leading nonprofit organization addressing the academic and other essential support needs of more than 8,000 youth in foster care. We’re committed to youth in care statewide achieving a degree or other career credential, living wage job and stable housing at the same rate as their peers. With fierce optimism, we fight the structural inequities that impact all of us. Learn more at www.treehouseforkids.org.
Courtesy of Treehouse