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Raikes Foundation 2018 Annual Report

Reflections from Tricia and Jeff Raikes

For the Raikes Foundation, 2018 was a year marked both by meaningful progress, but also significant change. We continued to pursue our core strategies in education, youth homelessness, expanded learning opportunities and impact-driven philanthropy, all while preparing for some big shifts internally and exploring potential new areas of focus for the year ahead.

As always, our grantees and partners pushed the boundaries of their fields and left us feeling more inspired than ever. Some key highlights for our foundation, grantees and partners from this year include:

  • Banding together with Pearl Jam on The Home Shows to focus our community on ending homelessness. We look forward to continuing to work with the band and all of our philanthropic, nonprofit, public and corporate partners as our community rallies around a comprehensive solution to ensure everyone in King County has a safe place to call home.
  • Partnering with Third Way and the American Enterprise Institute to release a series of papers focused on ways to improve college completion rates. These papers shine a light on an important but often overlooked aspect of student retention and college completion – ensuring students experience a sense of belonging on campus, especially for first-generation and under-represented students.
  • Releasing findings from a study of expanded learning programs in Washington state showing that, with the right support, afterschool and summer learning programs can significantly improve program quality and deliver the kind of enriching experiences that help kids thrive academically and socially.
  • Celebrating the one-year anniversary of Giving Compass. We are evolving Giving Compass into a powerful resource to help donors give with impact as just one part of our commitment to advancing impact-driven philanthropy.
  • Launching two key youth homelessness campaigns in our state in A Way Home Washington’s Anchor Communities Initiative and King County’s campaign to end youth homelessness. We’ve never seen such commitment and energy to end youth homelessness, and we couldn’t be more excited to see leaders from across the state ready to take on this challenge.
  • Supporting the creation and release of From a Nation at Risk to a Nation at Hope, the Aspen SEAD Commission’s recommendations on integrating social, emotional and academic development into classrooms across America.
  • Continuing to use our voices and resources to focus philanthropists, policymakers and business leaders on equity and justice for the most marginalized in our society. From spotlighting the challenges that LGBTQ young people face, to calling on the education system to advance racial equity, to urging the private sector to recognize its role in promoting social justice and bringing that same message to Washington D.C., we are working to build bridges and help as many people as we can understand that we all have a role in working toward a more just and equitable world.

In addition to progress we made on our core strategies in 2018, the foundation also navigated some new frontiers. This year, for the first time, we’ve chosen to sunset one of our core strategies. We also learned that our founding executive director, Erin Kahn, would be stepping down from her role at the foundation.

After more than a decade of investment, we decided that the time was right to sunset our investment in our expanded learning opportunities strategy. We’ve helped lay a strong foundation for an expanded learning system in Washington state that will help thousands of young people build lifelong skills and find their passions, and our partners are poised to continue developing and improving the system.

And after more than 11 years, Erin Kahn has decided to move on from her role as executive director of the Raikes Foundation. Our journey as philanthropists would not have been the same without Erin’s ideas and leadership. For more than a decade, she’s helped us identify and shape our focus areas, built a talented staff team and learned alongside us as we strove to improve our work, year over year. We will miss Erin, but she’s positioned us well to welcome new leadership and a fresh perspective on the work we do.

As we look back and look ahead, we are excited about the progress we’ve made, and we’re committed to continuing our work to advance a more just and equitable future in partnership with our grantees, friends in the community and partners across the country.

We hope you enjoy the review of 2018 that follows.

Tricia and Jeff Raikes, Co-Founders, Raikes Foundation

Our Work in 2018

This year the Raikes Foundation set out to answer some key questions about how to make our work more impactful. Namely, we wanted to challenge ourselves to look back at our successes and failures and uncover what factors are present in grantmaking strategies that lead to the most transformative, durable change.

Our hope is that by codifying what we’ve learned over the course of more than a decade of grantmaking, we can both get better at the work we do and offer tools for other philanthropists to achieve their goals.

We’ve honed in on five factors that we believe lead to the biggest impact: equity, collaboration, systems transformation, advocacy and continuous learning. What follows are our reflections on those factors and highlights from our 2018 work that best exemplify them.

Equity

We believe that equity must be at the center of any impactful grantmaking strategy because we’ve seen that when systems can capably respond to those most affected by a problem, they are well-equipped to better serve everyone’s needs.

For example, we know that youth who identify as LGBTQ are more likely to experience homelessness than their straight and cisgender peers. Our commitments to impact and equity guide us to first ensure that crisis response systems can effectively respond to the needs of LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ young people often experience homelessness for longer periods of times than their peers and are more vulnerable to abuse, so if our crisis response systems are strong enough to lift LGBTQ youth out of homelessness quickly and keep them safe, they will be strong enough to help young people who are less vulnerable to discrimination and societal stigma.

By helping those who are most affected by a problem, or those least well-served by a system, we can achieve impact faster and begin to build the more equitable, just world we want to see.

2018 Equity Spotlight

Fair School Funding

Any effort to ensure all students receive a rich, supportive and challenging educational experience starts by redesigning the way America’s public schools are funded. As it stands, outdated school finance models perpetuate longstanding funding disparities along racial and socioeconomic lines. Changing these models so that schools and students receive funding based on what they need to be successful is at the heart of designing an education system that serves all students well.

In 2018 we partnered with the Learning Policy Institute, Education Trust, Education Resource Strategies, Education Counsel and others to synthesize the research and best practices that states, districts and advocates can use to ensure schools are equitably funded. By advancing the quality of research, technical assistance and advocacy available to the field, we’ve helped make progress toward fairer school funding systems at the state and local level. We also helped to grow this promising field by bringing together school leaders, educators and policymakers to learn more about how outdated school finance models impact students’ academic outcomes.

When our schools have the resources they need to support the students who need it the most, they can begin to close stubborn opportunity gaps and help all students achieve academic success.

“A targeted universal strategy is inclusive of the needs of both dominant and marginalized groups but pays particular attention to the situation of the marginalized group… Targeted universalism rejects a blanket approach that is likely to be indifferent to the reality that different groups are situated differently relative to the institutions and resources of society.” – john a. powell

Collaboration

We’ve learned over the years that effective collaboration and partnership are crucial components of durable, transformative change.

That’s why we always strive to bring together impacted communities, government, businesses, nonprofits and other philanthropic organizations to solve problems. We join tables where civic conversations are taking place, and if none exist, we work with our partners and communities to build new tables.

As grantmakers, we’re only successful when we listen to people in the community, work to bring together as many stakeholders as possible and help everyone align around a shared set of goals.

2018 Collaboration Spotlight

The Home Shows

We were honored to partner with Pearl Jam on the band’s Home Shows initiative this year. The Home Shows rallied Seattle and King County, uniting leaders in government, the business community, nonprofits and philanthropy around the common goal of ending our region’s ongoing homelessness crisis. By bringing together a diverse constituency, the Home Shows effort was able to inspire thousands of volunteers for homelessness service providers, reach hundreds of thousands of people online with stories of our neighbors experiencing homelessness and raise more than $11 million dollars for innovative solutions to homelessness.

While the Home Shows focused on our region’s overarching homelessness crisis, through close collaboration with the initiative's leaders and key partners we helped to ensure that young people experiencing homelessness had a seat at the table and that solutions for young people were funded as part of the effort. The Home Shows funded the region’s Host Home program for young adults experiencing homelessness, helped launch King County’s campaign to end youth homelessness by 2020, funded thousands of classroom projects to help homeless students through DonorsChoose.org and partnered in the launch of A Way Home Washington’s statewide effort to end youth homelessness by 2022.

“More than ever before in human history, we share a common destiny. We can master it only if we face it together…” – Kofi Annan

Systems Transformation

We believe in long-term, systemic changes over quick fixes and silver bullets. The most critical challenges we face in society, from inequitable education outcomes to chronic homelessness, are the products of complex systems. We believe the best way to generate long-lasting change is to transform those systems so that they create better outcomes for everyone, rather than reproduce historic inequities.

Philanthropists can play a unique role in helping to transform systems. Government often can’t act quickly to generate innnovative solutions, and the private sector lacks an incentive to engage until there is a clear path to profit. As grantmakers, we can provide the funding to fill missing gaps in data and pilot new approaches, making the path toward collaboration with government, the private sector and community clearer and less risky for all.

2018 Systems Transformation Spotlight

The Anchor Community Initiative

In 2018 our partners at A Way Home Washington launched their Anchor Community Initiative, an effort that aims to end youth and young adult homelessness in four Washington state communities by 2022 by transforming the systems that impact young people. Starting in Pierce, Spokane, Walla Walla and Yakima counties, the Anchor Community Initiative will collect and analyze data on homeless youth, rapidly implement and test solutions and lay the foundation for a system to prevent and end youth homelessness.

A Way Home Washington is working with our state’s Office of Homeless Youth Prevention and Protection to ensure that the lessons learned from this work translate to systemic change across Washington state. We’re honored to be partnering with Ballmer Group and Campion Advocacy Fund to support this campaign.

“Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.” – Donald Berwick

Influence and Advocacy

We’ve learned that generating systemic change requires much more than grants—we must build coalitions, use our voice to advocate for change and lift the voices of others. For us, that starts with creating a bridge to stakeholders in our communities to listen, learn and work together across our differences.

2018 Spotlight on Influence and Advocacy

Speaking out on equity

This year we engaged people in positions of power on difficult issues of racism and systemic inequality in America. Some highlights include Jeff Raikes’ feature in the Chronicle of Philanthropy on why corporate America needs to lean in on issues of social justice, as well as his appearance at the Atlantic Festival, where the conversation was extended to include Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, Michele Norris, founder of the Race Card Project and Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks. Our Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Lindsay Hill, also delivered a powerful TEDx talk on systemic inequity in schools this year.

We strive to elevate and engage in conversations about equity because no matter what issue you work on, transformative change can only be achieved by addressing issues of system inequality.

“Bridging calls on us to engage in healthy dialogue and requires us to listen deeply. Bridging does not mean abandoning your identity. Bridging means acknowledging our shared humanity, rejecting that there is a ‘them,’ and moving towards a future where there is instead a new ‘us.’” -john a. powell

Continuous Learning

Our society faces significant challenges today, both new and enduring. Impactful grantmaking requires us to always be learning and adapting our approach to these challenges.

We strive to routinely reflect on the changing dynamics surrounding our work and evolve our strategies to best meet new challenges. Philanthropy must continuously integrate new research and insights from communities to ensure the work we do together reflects current realities in our society. We devote time and resources to both individual and team-based professional development to ensure our staff is centering equity and a systems-based approach in everything we do.

We also believe in supporting our grantees to learn and grow. We invest in our grantees and partners so that they can improve their own capacity to lead and adapt as new challenges emerge in their work.

2018 Continuous Learning Spotlight

The Building Equitable Learning Environments Network (BELE Network)

The BELE Network represents a new way of grantmaking for us. We started by inviting 10 nonprofit organizations that work directly with schools and students to come together and identify which students they were serving least well. We wanted them to be candid and learn together about the shared challenges they faced and work together to rapidly prototype ideas to serve those young people better. It required a different mindset and a special attention to reducing the unequal power dynamics inherently present in grantee relationships, but we believe it represents the future for us, and will lead to better solutions for the young people we hope to serve.

As we build on our learning in the first three years of the BELE Network, we’re carrying forward valuable lessons about how to facilitate the best environment and opportunities for our grantees to learn and strengthen their impact.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Wrapping up a decade-long investment in Expanded Learning Opportunities

After more than 10 years of investment in the expanded learning field, the Raikes Foundation will be formally sunsetting the strategy in 2019. We’ve had the privilege of working alongside many dedicated partners in Washington state to transform the opportunities that young people have outside of the formal school day and ensure providers are equipped to offer the best programming possible. Afterschool and summer learning are an essential part of a young person’s educational experience, allowing them space and opportunities to develop lifelong skills, connect with mentors and discover their passions, and we’re proud to have contributed to building a robust expanded learning opportunities (ELO) system in Washington state.

When we first embarked on this strategy in 2009, we never imagined that it would grow into the foundation for a new statewide system for school-age youth. We knew we wanted to help afterschool and summer learning programs deliver great programs for young people, but there were very few resources for understanding how to evaluate quality or for helping practitioners improve their programs by strengthening their knowledge and skills about best practices in youth development.

Our work initially focused on spreading adoption of an assessment and improvement process called the “Youth Program Quality Intervention,” designed by the David P. Weikart Center. Youth-serving programs were trained to use a self-assessment instrument to measure their program’s quality, evaluate gaps and draw on professional coaching and training to strengthen program quality. We partnered with School’s Out Washington to train and support dozens of nonprofit organizations in King County, Washington to undergo this process of evaluation and improvement.

Later, we spread the geographic reach through partnerships with Spokane County United Way, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and 21st Century Community Learning Centers through the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. Our early focus on spreading the Youth Program Quality Intervention led to its adoption among hundreds of sites across the state and helped youth-serving organizations focus in on the importance of program quality.

In 2015, the passage of the Early Start Act in Washington State included a provision that called for a pilot to develop and test a quality expanded learning system for school-age youth. Coupled with enthusiasm from practitioners to sustain a focus on quality, the moment was ripe to shift our strategy from one that aimed to improve program quality organization by organization to one that aimed to build a publicly-financed, high-quality expanded learning system to complement the state’s existing early learning system, Early Achievers.

We began partnering with the state’s Department of Early Learning, School's Out Washington and Cultivate Learning at the University of Washington to develop a two-year pilot that would help us understand the general level of program quality around the state and test different ways to raise program quality.

Through the pilot we learned some essential lessons. For example:

  • We learned that the best way to strengthen programs was to ensure that youth development professionals had access to coaches trained in an evidence-based framework for raising program quality. It was clear that coaching was an essential, not optional, ingredient for improving program quality. We also learned that coaching didn’t necessarily have to happen in person and that online coaching offered an effective and less costly way to scale support for youth development professionals.
  • We learned that close integration with the early learning system is essential. Many organizations serve early learners as well as school-aged youth. These organizations want a seamless system for monitoring and strengthening quality across all of their programs and sites, regardless of the age of the children served.

Armed with rich quantitative and qualitative data, along with feedback from practitioners, we supported the development of a robust set of research-tested tools and resources that will serve youth development professionals in Washington state and across the country for years to come. Through the pilot, thousands of hours of video were collected and analyzed, and the best examples pulled out for the creation of Two Minute Tips. This series of short videos were designed to respond to feedback from practitioners who sought more “quick and easily accessible” ways to spotlight specific quality practices and see real life examples of those practices in action. The videos and interactions were also validated by young people who participate in expanded learning programs.

Washington has become the first state in the country to have a system for high-quality afterschool and summer programming for children and youth ages 0-12.

Another crucial element of the strategy was to invest in enhanced training for program coaches, not just program practitioners. Coaches helped practitioners to bridge theory with practice of what quality programming and interactions look like every day in ELO programs. By using Cultivate Learning’s online platform, Coaching Companion, practitioners could upload video clips of their programs and receive targeted feedback from their coaches that was aligned to the quality standards. We also invested in development of the Quality Seal, which is a reliable way for practitioners to measure the quality of their programs and identify those that have met a high standard for quality. With all of these tools in place, infrastructure to support quality improvement at the state level and a growing number of practitioners benefitting from them, Washington has become the first state in the country to have a system for high-quality afterschool and summer programming for children and youth ages 0-12.

Over the years we have learned a tremendous amount about how young people learn and grow, and how hardworking, dedicated practitioners can create life-changing experiences for youth. We’re thrilled to have contributed to the foundation of a robust expanded learning system in our state that will ensure more young people have access to high-quality expanded learning programs that help them learn, grow and thrive. We’re immensely proud to have been a part of this field and community, and we look forward to seeing the field grow and thousands of young people reap the benefits of high-quality expanded learning opportunities.

We also want to say thank you to our many partners over the last decade, both in the early phases of our work and more recently. This includes School's Out Washington, Cultivate Learning at the University of Washington, the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, Spokane County United Way, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, League of Education Voters Foundation, Council for a Strong America, Youth Development Executives of King County, The Forum for Youth Investment, the David P. Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, Washington State Department of Children, Youth and Family (formerly Department of Early Learning), United Way of King County, City of Seattle Parks and Recreation, YMCA of Greater Seattle, Boys and Girls Clubs and dozens of youth-serving nonprofits across Washington. We are also grateful to all of the organizations, practitioners, coaches, evaluators, researchers, agency leaders, public sector and private philanthropic partners who have helped make this system a reality. Likewise, we appreciate all the young people who participated in programs and gave their candid feedback about what matters most to them. Their stories about the impact of high-quality youth programs inspired us to invest in this work.

Finally, we want to recognize the individuals who led our ELO strategy: Juliet Taylor and Jody Rosentswieg. We are deeply appreciative of their vision, tenacity and commitment to young people.

2018 By The Numbers

Raikes Foundation Total Expenditures

*Giving Compass is a project of the foundation's Impact-Driven Philanthropy strategy. All expenses are considered direct charitable expenditures, but the investment is sizable enough that we have chosen to show it separately.

Grants by Strategy

Donor Advised Funds

The Raikes Foundation maintains two donor advised funds, one at Stanford University and another at the Seattle Foundation, to supplement grants paid directly by the Raikes Foundation. In 2018, we recommended awarding charitable grants totaling $3,044,262 from those two funds, leaving a remaining combined balance of $2,647,287 as of Dec. 31, 2018.

Raikes Foundation Statement of Financial Position

As of Dec. 31, 2018 (unaudited)

Reflections on 11 years at the Raikes Foundation

Erin Kahn

When I first stepped into my role as executive director of the Raikes Foundation in 2007, the direction and potential of the foundation were still evolving. The foundation had been around for a few years and had made several meaningful grants, but the investments had yet to coalesce around a clearly defined set of goals and social problems to solve. Tricia, Jeff and I knew we had an incredible opportunity, as well as an important responsibility.

In the years since, we’ve embraced a vision for a more just and inclusive society and a mission to achieve it. We’ve honed and refined our core strategies as we’ve learned more deeply from research, community leaders and our grantees and partners.

For example, our early focus on adolescent development and the formative middle school years has grown into two programs: A national education strategy aimed at creating equitable learning environments for all students and an expanded learning strategy aimed at ensuring young people in Washington state have access to enriching afterschool and summer learning programs. Our initial curiosity about how our hometown could respond to a growing number of young people living on the streets has evolved into a national strategy that’s making big strides in ensuring youth homelessness is rare, brief and one-time. And our efforts to more deeply understand the motivations and needs of donors has led us to a national effort to help more donors to do more good.

The foundation’s growth reflects a commitment to continuous learning that we’ve developed over the years, as well as our staff’s incredible passion, expertise and sincere desire to contribute to building a just world where everyone belongs. For us, this annual report was an opportunity to reflect on our work in 2018, but it was also a moment for all of us to step back and take stock of all that we’ve learned over the years together.

As the foundation gets ready to welcome a new executive director, I’m both excited for what’s on the horizon and proud of everything we’ve done to build a solid foundation for the future. In 2019, we’ll embark on a new strategy development process to identify how we can further address the systemic inequities young people face. We will continue to sharpen our focus on equity so that we can live our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and bring an equity lens to all of our existing programmatic work. We’ll expand our investments in the tools and resources that donors need to generate more equitable outcomes in society. We’ll also explore new programmatic opportunities as the foundation’s budget continues to grow.

Jeff and Tricia have often described the foundation’s evolution as a journey, and I couldn’t be prouder to have helped chart our course for the last 11 years. It’s been an immense honor to work closely with two people who so authentically embrace the famous adage that “to whom much is given, much is required.”

Onward!

Erin Kahn, Executive Director, Raikes Foundation

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