DEGREES OF CHANGE NAMES NEW READY TO RISE NATIONAL DIRECTOR

Tacoma, Wash. – July 11, 2019  – Degrees of Change announced Dominic Jay ‘DJ’ Leon Guerrero Crisostomo has been named as the new National Director of Ready to Rise, a cohort-based leadership development and college support program for underrepresented students attending 2- and 4- year public colleges.

Crisostomo brings experience in higher ed and college readiness as well as a passion for mentoring and supporting minoritized youth.  In his previous role at University of Washington Tacoma he coordinated pre-college programming, providing leadership and administrative support as well as program and curriculum development with community partners.  Cristostomo has received multiple awards and recognition in his career thus far, including the 2019 Student’s Choice Outstanding Staff Award at UWT and the TRIO Emerging Leader Award while working at Metropolitan Development Council.   Cristostomo has worked in the high school-to-college field for over 20 years and was a co-founder of Tacoma’s cutting-edge nonprofit urban arts organization, Fab-5.

“Degrees of Change is thrilled to welcome DJ into this important leadership position. His years of front-line experience preparing students for college success, deeply rooted community perspective, and robust understanding of public higher education uniquely positions him to lead Ready to Rise forward as we continue to refine the model and build a sustainable program that will serve hundreds of students into the future,” said Tim Herron, CEO at Degrees of Change.

Cristotomo’s hiring comes as Ready to Rise begins its third year of the five-year grant program funded by College Spark Washington. With a goal of serving 1,000 students over five years, Ready to Rise was developed to provide a scalable model of cohort-based leadership development and college support, drawing on the successful Act Six model—a scholarship program serving underrepresented leaders attending private liberal arts colleges that has demonstrated exceptional graduation rates and leadership outcomes for participants.

“To the colleagues I will listen to and learn from, partners I plan to collaborate with, and students I will diligently serve, I thank you in advance.  Simply put, I am honored and eager to get to work with Degrees of Change. The communities I come from and the family I proudly represent equally share my excitement with what is to come,” said Cristostomo.

About Ready to Rise

Ready to Rise works with students from three communities across Washington state (Clark County, Tacoma, and Yakima Valley) and with seven public sector partner colleges.  Through pre-college training, on-campus workshops, near-peer coaching and career pathway guidance, Ready to Rise provides the community, resources and connections that help first-generation college students navigate challenges of college life so they can persist to attain their college degree or certificate.

About Degrees of Change

Degrees of Change (DoC) partners with community organizations, high schools, colleges and employers to provide cohort-based leadership training, college success support, career development and alumni programming to underrepresented students who desire to lead and serve their home communities. As both a national backbone organization and local, direct service provider in Tacoma-Seattle, DoC provides and utilizes research-based programming, cutting-edge evaluation and data tools, and innovative operational systems and technical assistance to support all aspects of our integrated programs.

Learn more about Ready to Rise online at www.readytorise.org.

Learn more about Degrees of Change online at www.degreesofchange.org.

Contacts:

Tim Herron, CEO, Degrees of Change

(253) 444-0011 or [email protected]

 

Degrees of Change Names Michelle Y. Bess as Chair of the Board, Welcomes Nine New Directors

 

Tacoma, Wash., June 14, 2019 – Degrees of Change, a national college success and leadership development organization based in Tacoma, Wash., announced that its board of directorhas appointed Michelle Y. Bess as chair of the board and elected nine new directors. 

Bess is diversity, equity, and inclusion director at Sprout Social, a Chicago-based software company, and has served on the Degrees of Change board of directors for five years. She was the organization’s first program alum elected to the board and now the first to serve as chair. She earned a B.A. in Biology from Whitworth University in 2009 as a member of the third cadre of Act Six, the flagship program of Degrees of ChangeBess assumes the chair position from Bradd Busick, chief information officer at MacDonaldMiller, who is stepping down after seven years on the board.  

It has been an honor to serve Degrees of Change and to partner with our amazing staff and board to provide more opportunities for students, colleges and their respective communities.  I cannot think of a worthier investment of time and resources than this vital mission. As the team continues to expand this body of work across the country, the board is in well-equipped hands via the leadership of Michelle Y. Bess.  Michelle is warm, thoughtful, dependable and firm in her beliefs that every life matters and that the world needs everybody.  Given how her own life was impacted by Act Six, Michelle is incredibly well positioned to articulate the importance of this work,” says Busick. 

In her role at Sprout Social, Bess focuses on efforts to ensure all people feel a sense of belonging and that their voices are heard. She recently completed Georgetown University’s executive certificate in strategic diversity and inclusion management. Prior to Sprout Social, Bess worked in college success at OneGoal and The Posse Foundation. She was recognized as a 2018 AdWeek rising brand star, a 2016 Surge fellow, and is the founder and co-lead of The Brave Space. 

Act Six was life changing for me. I never considered myself a leader before this scholarship. To say Act Six changed my life can hardly capture how I feel. Both my sister and I are Act Six alumna, so Degrees of Change’s programming changed the trajectory of our family and the communities to which we belongThe opportunity to step into the role of board chair, following in the footsteps of leaders like Bradd Busick and [founding board chair] Larry Hughes, to help lead the strategy of an organization that can have such far-reaching impact is one of my greatest honors. I can’t wait to bring our transforming equity work to more communities across the country.” says Bess. 

“Michelle is an exceptional leader and distinguished professional who has lived the mission of Degrees of Change firsthand and exemplifies everything that Degrees of Change strives to develop in the leaders we support. I am thrilled to work alongside her as she leads the board into a new stage of organizational impact,” says Tim Herron, founder and CEO of Degrees of Change. 

In a move that significantly expands the size and professional breadth of the board, the organization also announced the appointment of nine new board directors. The newly elected directors join Bess and four continuing directors, including Arturo Lucatero, senior program manager at Microsoft and fellow Act Six alum, who will support Bess in his role as Vice Chair. The full board consists of the following officers and directors, with new directors indicated with an asterisk:  

  • Michelle Y. Bess (Chair) | Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion DirectorSprout Social (Act Six Alum ’09)
  • Arturo Lucatero (Vice Chair) | Senior Program Manager, Microsoft (Act Six Alum ‘15)
  • Courtney Lucas, J.D. (Secretary) *  | Associate General Counsel, UnitedHealth Group
  • Eli Taylor (Treasurer) | Vice President, Relationship Manager, Key Bank
  • Melinda Anderson, M.Ed. * | Community Engagement Manager, Microsoft
  • Brad Brown, M.Ed. * | Executive Director, Puget Sound Educational Service District
  • Lily Colón, J.D. * | Chief of Employee and Labor Relations, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Michael Cruz * | Vice President, Manager, Banner Bank
  • Yusra Hamidani, M.S. * | Emerging Technology Analyst, Boeing (Act Six Alum ‘16)
  • Larry Hughes, Ed.D. * | Vice President, Operations, 7-Eleven 
  • Erin Jones | Consultant, Erin Jones, LLC
  • Jeff Nichols, M.B.A. * | Consulting Partner, Armanino
  • Joel Pérez, Ph.D. | Higher Education Administrator
  • Danjuma Quarless, Ph.D. * | Senior Scientist, Computational Genomics, AbbVie (Act Six Alum ‘10)
  • Tim Herron, Ed.D. (Chief Executive Officer) | Founder, Degrees of Change and Act Six 

We are deeply grateful for the depth of experience that each of these diverse, accomplished and connected professionals will bring to the board to advance Degrees of Change’s missionIn particular, the leadership that program alumni like Michelle, Arturo, Yusra and Danjuma are demonstrating as they both excel in their professional careers and provide leadership to the organization is a particularly powerful expression of our mission and values in action, adds Herron. 

About Degrees of Change  

Our Mission 

Degrees of Change prepares diverse, homegrown leaders to succeed in college and use their degrees to build more vibrant and equitable communities. 

Our Means 

We partner with community organizations, high schools, colleges and employers to provide cohort-based leadership training, college success support, career development and alumni programming to underrepresented students who desire to lead and serve their home communities. As both a national backbone organization and local, direct service provider in Tacoma-Seattle, we provide and utilize research-based programming, cutting-edge evaluation and data tools, and innovative operational systems and technical assistance to support all aspects of our integrated programs, including Act Six, Ready to Rise, Seed Internships and Tacoma Completes. 

Our Motivation 

We love our communities and want to see them thrive in all their diversity. As a faith-based organization, our work is motivated by Christian convictions that include a deep commitment to working across differences for equity and justice. We believe that diverse, college-educated, homegrown leaders are in the best position to transform the inequitable systems that persist in our communities. We engage broad coalitions of organizations in the faith community and the public and private sectors to create meaningful impact. 

Our Values 

  1. Educational Equity: We work to identify and eliminate systemic barriers in higher education and career development that perpetuate social and economic disparities. In doing so, we remain attentive to our own individual and institutional contributions to these systems.
  2. Local Voices: We believe communities can be positively transformed to the extent that they are loved and embraced by those that call them home. We look to local people and organizations as the most effective leaders of local change.
  3. Diverse Perspectives: We recognize that our staff, board and students must reflect the communities we serve. We know that we will maximize our impact only when decisions are shaped by diverse voices across the organization.
  4. Service Leadership: We seek to nurture in our students and ourselves leadership that is committed first to serving others. We look for the beauty amid brokenness that compels us to lean into, rather than away from, the most challenging places and problems.
  5. Courageous Culture: We aspire to create among our team, our partners and our students a courageous space where people from different backgrounds and worldviews can bring their whole selves, speak honestly, take risks, make mistakes, extend and receive grace, develop trust, hold each other accountable, and commit together to a common mission.
  6. Committed Collaboration: We bring people and organizations together to create partnerships that emerge from shared values and aligned mission. We believe we can only create systemic change together, and we seek to maintain relationships even when we disagree on important issues.
  7. Continuous Learning: We rigorously assess and continuously reflect on our work, always looking for opportunities to measure, improve and innovate. We take informed risks and learn from our successes and setbacks.
  8. Operational Excellence: We know our students and partners deserve our very best work. We strive to pursue ambitious goals, attract and retain extraordinary people, build effective systems, make data-informed decisions, deliver exceptional service and hold ourselves to the highest standards. 

Learn more about Degrees of Change online at www.degreesofchange.org.   

Contacts: 

Michelle Y. Bess, Board Chair, Degrees of Change
(253) 444-0010 or [email protected]  

Tim HerronCEODegrees of Change
(253) 444-0011 or [email protected]  

 

 

DEGREES OF CHANGE HIRES INAUGURAL TACOMA COMPLETES DIRECTOR

Tacoma, Wash. – Degrees of Change announced Nalani Linder has been named inaugural director of Tacoma Completes, a new collective impact initiative aimed at closing equity gaps and increasing college persistence and completion rates among Tacoma Public Schools graduates who choose to attend college locally.

Linder has been involved in the work leading to Tacoma Completes since the inception of the effort over two years ago. Prior to this role she served as national director for Ready to Rise, a cohort-based leadership development program for underrepresented college students, also led by Degrees of Change. Linder was born and raised in Tacoma, has two college-age children of her own, and previously ran her own organizational change consulting firm specializing in nonprofit, education and cross-sector collaborations.

“Degrees of Change is excited to partner with the Foundation for Tacoma Students to shape a community-wide approach to improving college success, and we believe Nalani brings the right combination of experience, skill and relationships to provide leadership to this important collective effort,” said Tim Herron, CEO at Degrees of Change.

Linder’s hiring comes as BERK Consulting concludes a five-month-long environmental scan of Tacoma area service providers. The scan included data analysis and literature reviews, focus groups and individual interviews, and discussed the many complex factors that influence whether or not a student stays in college. Issues are academic and unfortunately, often non-academic—such as students needing housing, transportation, employment, and food just to stay in school. Those interviewed for the scan were in unanimous agreement that higher ed institutions alone cannot meet all those needs—nor do they need to. Partnerships like those to be developed through Tacoma Completes can reach and support more students than any individual college program or community service.

“The response thus far to the idea of cross-sector collaboration to help more students complete college has been incredibly encouraging,” said Linder. “Institutions have a lot of great strategies and programming on which to build, and the timing seems ripe to strengthen and develop new partnerships. It’s all very promising. I’m excited to see what develops, and the impact on our community’s students.”

About Tacoma Completes

An important new focus in the broader Graduate Tacoma movement, Tacoma Completes represents a collective impact effort to increase the overall proportion of Tacoma Public Schools’ graduates who persist and complete college at local institutions, while eliminating racial and economic disparities in college completion rates.

Tacoma Completes envisions a comprehensive, coordinated, community-wide system of supports helping all Tacoma Public Schools’ college-goers at local 2- and 4- year institutions to persist through college to graduation.

Tacoma has garnered national recognition for its collective impact effort that raised the high school completion rate by 31 points in eight years, from 55% in 2010 to 86% in 2017.

Over the same period, however, college enrollment, persistence and graduation rates have remained flat. Annually, on average only 55% of Tacoma Public Schools’ graduates enrolled in college within one year of graduating high school; 83% of those persisted to their second year of college; and 54% of those completed their college degree within six years.

Despite individual work by local colleges and community organizations there has been no coordinated effort to align activities across the community to offer any meaningful system of supports to students once they leave high school.

In partnership with Foundation for Tacoma Students and the Tacoma College Support Network, Degrees of Change leads the collective impact effort focused on college completion. Tacoma Completes will initially focus on supporting two institutions—Tacoma Community College and University of Washington Tacoma. It is intended that the initial outcomes and learnings will inform future planning and expansion of partnerships—eventually leading to a community-wide system of support for all Tacoma Public Schools graduates to complete at any local 2- or 4-year institution.

Learn more about Tacoma Completes online at www.graduatetacoma.org/update-tacoma-completes.

Learn more about Degrees of Change online at www.degreesofchange.org.

Contacts

Nalani Linder, Tacoma Completes Director, Degrees of Change
(253) 444-0014 or [email protected]

Tim Herron, CEO, Degrees of Change
(253) 444-0011 or [email protected]

 

 

DEGREES OF CHANGE WELCOMES SAINT MARTIN’S UNIVERSITY TO TACOMA-SEATTLE ACT SIX NETWORK, ADDING SEVEN NEW FULL SCHOLARSHIPS FOR REGION’S EMERGING URBAN LEADERS.

Tacoma, Wash. – Degrees of Change is proud to announce Saint Martin’s University as the newest college partner in Act Six, a leadership development and scholarship initiative that identifies, trains and supports the region’s most promising urban students as transformative campus and community leaders. As an Act Six partner, Saint Martin’s will provide full-tuition, full-need scholarships for a cohort of seven diverse urban leaders from across the Puget Sound each year.

An independent, four-year, Benedictine university located in Lacey, Washington, Saint Martin’s University joins Gonzaga University, Northwest University, Pacific Lutheran University and Whitworth University to become the fifth college partner in the Tacoma-Seattle Act Six network, increasing to 29 the number of Act Six scholars selected annually across the region.

“We are excited to join the Act Six network. With a longstanding commitment to diversity and equity, centered on our Benedictine values of community and respect for others, Saint Martin’s recognizes the talent and leadership of the diverse students in our region’s urban communities. We are eager to leverage the university’s educational resources as an investment in the next generation of leadership for our surrounding cities,” says Saint Martin’s President Roy Heynderickx, Ph.D.

Degrees of Change President Tim Herron, Ed.D., adds, “Saint Martin’s is an exceptional local university with a strong track record of serving underrepresented students and we are thrilled to welcome them to the Act Six network. Saint Martin’s will offer a unique and powerful educational experience for Act Six scholars. Given the close alignment of the university’s mission with the mission of Degrees of Change, we look forward to joining forces to invest even more deeply in transformative leaders for our urban communities.”

Students interested in Act Six at Saint Martin’s can apply online at www.actsix.org by November 6, 2018. The first cohort of Saint Martin’s Act Six scholars will be announced in March and enroll in fall 2019.

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About Act Six

Act Six is a cohort-based, leadership development and scholarship program develops urban leaders to be agents of transformation on campus and in their home communities. Since the program’s inception in 2002, more than 800 ethnically diverse and mostly first-generation, low-income Act Six scholarship recipients from Tacoma, Seattle, Yakima and Spokane, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; Minneapolis-St Paul, Minn.; Chicago, Il.; and Indianapolis, Ind. have enrolled at thirteen private colleges and universities.

Act Six develops leaders through a simple, but powerful, four-step strategy:

  1. Recruit and select diverse, multicultural cadres of the most promising urban and community student leaders.
  2. Train and prepare these groups of students in the year prior to college, equipping them to support each other, succeed academically and grow as service-minded leaders and agents of transformation.
  3. Send and fund the cadres together to select faith- and social justice-based colleges on full-tuition, full-need scholarships.
  4. Support and inspire by providing strong campus support, ongoing leadership development and vocational connections to inspire scholars to serve their home communities.

While 87% of Act Six scholars come from low-income families or are the first generation in their family to attend college, 82% percent earn their bachelor’s degrees within six years, more than doubling the rate for low-income, first-generation students nationwide. Nearly two-thirds of the program’s graduates are working or serving back in their home communities and among alumni who have been out of college for three or more years, 31% have earned a post-graduate degree or credential. Learn more about Act Six at www.actsix.org.

About Degrees of Change

Degrees of Change is a not-for-profit organization based in Tacoma, Washington, that prepares diverse, homegrown leaders to succeed in college and use their degrees to build more vibrant and equitable communities. Degrees of Change partners with community organizations, high schools, colleges and employers to provide cohort-based leadership training, college success support, career development and alumni programming to underrepresented students who desire to lead and serve their home communities. As both a national backbone organization and local, direct service provider in Tacoma-Seattle, Degrees of Change provides and utilizes research-based programming, cutting-edge evaluation and data tools, and innovative operational systems and technical assistance to support all aspects of its integrated programs. Learn more at www.degreesofchange.org.

About Saint Martin’s University

Saint Martin’s University is an independent, four-year, coeducational university located on a wooded campus of more than 300 acres in Lacey, Washing­ton. Established in 1895 by the Catholic Order of Saint Benedict, the University is one of 14 Benedic­tine colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and the only one west of the Rocky Mountains. Saint Martin’s University prepares students for successful lives through its 25 majors and seven graduate programs spanning the liberal arts, business, education, nursing and engineering. Saint Martin’s welcomes more than 1,300 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students from many ethnic and religious backgrounds to its Lacey campus, and more students to its extended campus located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Learn more at www.stmartin.edu.

Contacts

Tim Herron, Ed.D., Act Six Founder and President, Degrees of Change
(253) 444-0010, [email protected]

Kevin Hyde, Media Relations Manager, Saint Martin’s University
(360) 412-6126, [email protected]

Degrees of Change Founder Tim Herron Receives Executive Leadership Award of Excellence at 2017 NCAN Convention

TACOMA, WA – On Monday, September 11, Degrees of Change founder and president Tim Herron was bestowed the Executive Leadership Award of Excellence at the 2017 National College Access Network (NCAN) national conference in San Diego, Calif. The award, given annually, honors a leader from a college access program who has shown significant dedication and hard work towards their organization, the community they serve, and the field of college access. The recipient receives a $1,000 award in support of a new, one-time scholarship made in the winner’s honor.

The Executive Leadership Award of Excellence celebrates the impact that Herron has had on the lives of hundreds of students, their families, and multiple communities since he created the Act Six program in 2002 and founded Degrees of Change in 2011. Over the last 15 years, Act Six has graduated more than 80% of its scholars within a six-year completion period, more than twice the national average for underrepresented students, and a full 15% higher than overall graduation rates at colleges and universities Act Six scholars attend.

“From the beginning, Tim Herron has been living and leading this vision of college access, community engagement, and quantifiable outcomes for our students,” said Bradd Busick, Degrees of Change board chair. “This award is a nod toward that effort and excites our entire team given that we are only just beginning to measure the genuine impact in the lives of our students and their communities.”

“This award is a testament to the staff and networks of Degrees of Change and the amazing commitment we collectively have for this important work,” said Tim Herron, Degrees of Change founder and president. “There is no greater honor than the privilege of walking alongside our students and families, as not only our scholars become college graduates but as they become the incredible, diverse leaders our communities desperately need.”

In addition to the successful Act Six program, Degrees of Change developed FOYOST (Follow Your Student), an easy-to-use student visualizer web application. FOYOST enables organizations and school districts to input student detail files from the National College Clearing House and receive actionable student enrollment, persistence, and completion data within minutes.

Most recently, Tim and the Degrees of Change team have unveiled Ready to Rise, the second student-facing program from the organization. Ready to Rise leverages the Act Six model of sending cohorts of students to college together, along with leadership development efforts and partnerships with community nonprofits, to help a wider array of students complete their degrees at two- and four-year public schools. Ready to Rise is expected to create significant scale on an already successful cohort model, and is in the first year of a five-year launch term, made possible by a $3.4 million investment by College Spark Washington.

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Degrees of Change is a national not-for-profit organization founded and based in Tacoma, Washington that helps communities and colleges develop networks of diverse, well-educated, mission-minded leaders by sending students to college together in cohorts while empowering them to grow as leaders, complete their degrees, and connect their talents and efforts to make their home communities more vibrant and equitable. In doing so, DoC increases success in higher education among students who have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education, particularly low-income students, students of color, and first-generation college students. Learn more at degreesofchange.org.

Act Six Aims to Provide New Faces in Leadership – NCAN

We are excited to share with you all that Act Six was featured in the latest National College Access Network newsletter, announcing the in-depth program case study that NCAN just published. Act Six was one of four programs selected nationally for these profiles as part of NCAN’s Benchmarking Project, based on the exceptional graduation rates of our participants.

In the report, Bill DeBaun, NCAN Director of Data and Evaluation, points out that Act Six achieves six-year graduation rates of over 80 percent and almost two-thirds of Act Six’s graduates return to their home communities to advance positive changes. Ann Coles, senior fellow at uAspire and the author of the case studies, noted that, “Act Six’s success is attributable in large measure to the organization’s fidelity to its defining elements: cohorts as a core structure, the importance of cultural integrity, intensive leadership training, and fostering a strong sense of purpose.”

The report is a testimony to the extraordinary work that we collectively undertake to inspire and support our amazing Act Six leaders. To learn more about the program and its results, you can download the full report here.

Degrees of Change awarded five-year, $3.4 million grant from College Spark Washington to help 1,000 low-income students successfully transition to college, earn degrees and give back to their communities

TACOMA, WA – Degrees of Change announced it was awarded a five-year, $3.4 million grant from College Spark Washington to help more low-income students stay on track and graduate from college while inspiring them to use their degrees to give back to their communities. The Together through College project aims to serve 1,000 students from four Washington communities as they attend public two- and four-year colleges across the state.

Many low-income and first-generation students begin college without a support network of friends or family members familiar with college life. This reality can create a sense of isolation when students encounter the inherent challenges of a new college environment and it contributes to substantially lower degree completion rates for students from these groups.

Together through College will utilize a cohort-based model in which students graduating from the same community and heading off to the same college are grouped together to receive a range of services including peer and adult mentoring, college readiness and academic supports, help in navigating college-based services, and leadership training. The model calls on a collaborative effort between community-based organizations and colleges to improve the success of local college students.

“A key feature of cohort-based programs it that participating students develop a close network of peers who provide mutual support and accountability,” said Tim Herron, president of Degrees of Change. “This program helps students develop a sense of purpose that incorporates the goals of earning a college degree and giving back to their communities.”

Together to College extends the proven success of Act Six, the flagship initiative of Degrees of Change. For the past 13 years, local community organizations across the country have utilized the Act Six model to support cohorts of underrepresented students at private colleges as they earn their degrees and return home as leaders in their communities. The new project extends this success to greater numbers of students at a wider range of colleges and universities.

“We support organizations and ideas that are making progress on postsecondary persistence and completion rates for low-income students,” said Christine McCabe, executive director at College Spark Washington. “Degrees of Change and its community partners have shown evidence of effectiveness and a track record of success with innovative and bold strategies.”

Recruitment for the first cohorts of Together through College scholars begins in the fall of 2016.

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Degrees of Change is a national not-for-profit organization founded and based in Tacoma, Washington that helps communities and colleges develop networks of diverse, well-educated, mission-minded leaders by sending students to college together in cohorts while empowering them to grow as leaders, complete their degrees, and connect their talents and efforts to make their home communities more vibrant and equitable. In doing so, DoC increases success in higher education among students who have traditionally been underrepresented in higher education, particularly low-income students, students of color, and first-generation college students. Learn more at degreesofchange.org.

College Spark Washington funds programs across Washington state that help low-income students become college-ready and earn their degrees. Grantees include community-based organizations, K-12 schools and districts, community and technical colleges, four-year colleges and universities, educational nonprofits, and public agencies. College Spark began supporting access to higher education in 1978 and, since 2005, has awarded more than $45 million to college readiness and degree completion programs throughout the state. Learn more at collegespark.org.