Providing Equal Opportunity
Rainier Scholars advances equity in education with a proven model for student success, supporting students most underrepresented on college campuses. Rainier Scholars selects students who demonstrate curiosity, motivation, and strong family support.
Scholars engage in a comprehensive 12-year program that combines academic enrichment, mental health support, college counseling, and leadership and career development. They are committed to increasing college access and graduation rates, developing the next generation of diverse leaders, and building foundations of critical thinking, resilience, and belonging.
Funding from the William E. Wockner Foundation helped support the academic and personal development of our scholars while providing the financial support needed to implement a new phase of institutional growth for Rainier Scholars that will allow us to increase our impact beyond the Greater Seattle area.
Scholars Served in 2022-23 (Grades 5-16)
Class of 2023 High School Graduation Rate
Overall college graduation rate
We also supported alumni in the early phase of their careers and provided parents/guardians opportunities to build community with other Rainier Scholars families and learn how to advocate for, and support, their students’ education. Generous support from our funders has provided the financial stability needed to plan for future growth. In addition to building Rainier Scholars – Tacoma to its full capacity, we are also working to identify additional program sites with the goal of launching a third program and identifying a fourth in the next five years. Site selection will be a considered process, based on the factors that have made our Seattle and Tacoma programs successful.
Provide Personalized acaedmic, mental health, and college counseling that equips underrepresented students of color for success when they apply to selective colleges across the U.S.
Outcome: 100% of the class of 2023 successfully graduated from high school. 49 out of these 51 graduates will be matriculating to 4-year colleges or universities in the fall (96%). Our overall college graduation rate is 83% and the annual graduation rate of eligible scholars is 91%–well above the national graduation rate of 64% for all students and closing in on our goal of 95%. This spring we celebrated 38 new college graduates! Staff therapists received 166 referrals and held parent/family programs and check-ins, and Counselors worked with students to ensure they remained on track for graduation.
Prepare and place students in college prep programs
Outcome: In fall 2022, 74% of Seattle 6th grade students were successfully placed into private schools compared to our goal of 75%. The Rainier Scholars – Tacoma model is structured differently than Seattle’s, serving students within the Tacoma Public School district throughout middle and high school.
Facilitate leadership and career development to increase the diversity of qualified candidates for career professionals and leadership roles.
Outcome: In the summer of 2022, 81% of high school scholars and 87% of college scholars held summer jobs, internships, or participated in other summer learning activities. This summer, 51 high school students and 49 college students are participating in internships across the country. One scholar is taking part in a clinical research trial in Kenya through Duke University.
Launch Rainier Scholars - Tacoma
Outcome: In June 2022 we successfully launched our new Rainier Scholars – Tacoma program. In partnership with Tacoma Public Schools, we adapted our service model to fit the needs of Tacoma students and families. Multi-Generational African American (MGAA) students made up 53% of our first Tacoma cohort—surpassing the 50% goal we set for ourselves. All students now have a Scholar Success Plan in place designed to address specific gaps. We are so excited about this growing program and were thrilled about the number of applications we received for our second cohort of Tacoma students. The 45 students selected for Cohort 2 joined Cohort 1 for classes at Tacoma’s First Creek Middle School this summer.
Outcome: We adopted a new 5-year Strategic Plan. Guiding this work are three strategic initiatives:
• Scholars: We will strengthen the experience of our scholars and families by carefully researching the quantitative and qualitative impact of our program.
• Alumni: Engage our growing alumni community to develop a vibrant alumni network and help them amplify their impact at work and in the community.
• Growth: Support the development of Rainier Scholars – Tacoma as it grows to capacity. In addition to hiring additional staff, we will develop our third year of programming and build out our Scholars + Family Education Hub which will open in the Fall of 2023. In the next 5 years we will also open a third program site and identify a fourth to serve a greater number of students.