We invest in partners who are making a difference for all students, and who are working to reduce inequity and expand opportunity. We do this through five areas of focus:
Children playing at the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Home Center.
High-quality pre-K advances a skilled workforce, an engaged community, and a thriving economy. It takes professional educators, professionally compensated, to connect with children, encourage curiosity, promote critical thinking, and build on children’s natural play with engaging learning activities. Quality pre-K helps children process and understand emotions, resolve conflict, and solve problems on their own. These critical skills set them up for success in kindergarten and beyond.
Learning is a lifelong endeavor, and our investments support children through their entire journey.
Our local work connects to the foundation’s national K-12 Education and Postsecondary Success strategies by focusing on both in-school and out-of-school opportunities that advance a child’s social, emotional, and academic success, from pre-K through college.
Road Map Project
Our investments in the Road Map Region of South Seattle and South King County started in 2010 with a simple idea: No single program, organization, or institution can bring about large-scale social change on its own. To get better results for students, we invest in partners who are coordinating activities across the many organizations that serve children. We engage parents and communities, and use data to encourage continuous improvement, building a better system for all our kids.
A family that found stable housing through the Washington Families Fund, a public-private partnership founded in 2004.
Addressing family homelessness was one of the first challenges we took on. Between 2000 and 2008, our Sound Families Initiative helped build more than 1,450 transitional homes for families with children in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.
Then, in the same three counties, we worked with Building Changes to improve the crisis response system with an approach that recognizes families’ innate strengths, fosters collaboration, streamlines systems, and uses resources more efficiently.
We follow three proven principles to guide our work:
Prevention and diversion, including short-term, flexible assistance tailored to each family’s needs, such as landlord mediation; help with overdue rent and utility bills; and emergency childcare or transportation.
Coordinated entry, which allows families to make just one phone call to access housing and support services.
Rapid re-housing to place families in permanent housing as soon as possible—reducing higher costs of transitional shelter, and leveraging stability to address other issues like employment.
We believe that every community has the ability to lead on solutions to its most pressing challenges. We work together with other local philanthropists and community foundations to actively support our non-profit ecosystem in a way that values leadership, equity, innovation, and the drive to tackle big problems, so that solutions are developed by the community and for the community.