Tacoma Completes
Degrees Of Change

Our Impact


Our scholars and alumni are the best embodiment of our impact. With their courageous leadership and steadfast commitment, they inspire those around them to come together to transform their communities.

Leading together is core to our model. The people driving change are often networks of effective leaders working together to get things done, however those networks don’t always represent the full breadth of a community. For our communities to flourish, we need diverse networks of homegrown leaders who love their home and are committed to building vibrant communities where everyone thrives.

It is precisely this kind of diverse, committed leadership network that our programs produce—a new fabric of leadership for our communities.


  • 41% Hispanic or Latinx of any race, 21% Black or African American, 12% Multiracial, 11% White, 11% Asian, 2% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, 2% American Indian or Alaska Native
  • 63% female
  • 73% first-generation college students
  • 83% from low-income families


National data show that less than a third of all students from low-income families who start college ever graduate. The data are equally discouraging for students whose parents didn’t attend college and those from most underrepresented ethnic groups. Statistics for Act Six scholars tell a much different story. With nearly two decades of success, the Act Six initiative best illustrates the powerful results of Degrees of Change program models.

Doubling Six-Year Grad Rates

Since 2002, Act Six has selected and trained 946 scholars from seven cities in 141 cadres for 17 partner colleges.

Act Six Outcomes


first generation or low-income, 90% students of color, and speak 70 languages


graduate within 6-years, 20 points higher than rate for all students at their colleges


employed within one year of graduation, compared with 77% nationally


return to their home communities, where 74% volunteer


As a data-driven organization, we initiate rigorous evaluation. The results tell a compelling story: our scholars consistently defy the odds by persisting, graduating and returning to their communities to lead at rates that exceed their peers.

Building on this success, we are extending our model into new areas, adapting our innovative programming, and scaling our tools so that the transformative powers of higher education and leadership are accessible to more communities.

Vi’s Story

Vi Nguyen was born in a Malaysian refugee camp after her parents fled war-ravaged Vietnam. Raised in Australia until she was 15, Vi later immigrated to Tacoma, Washington, where she watched her mother and stepfather toil away in nail salons earning enough to put a…

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Seed Internships Outcomes


complete their internship and report they benefited from their participation


consider themselves to be leaders, compared to 56% before internship


are interested in returning home after graduation, compared to 33% before internship

Megan’s Story

Megan Quiñones is a Palmer Scholar studying political science and sociology at Saint Martin’s University. Growing up a bi-racial woman impacted by economic poverty in Tacoma has inspired her academic studies, interest in non-profit work, and holistic focus on anti-oppression work. During her time with…

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Ready to Rise Outcomes


first generation or low-income, 87% students of color


return to second year of college, significantly higher than a matched comparison group


volunteer on campus or in their communities

Marianne’s Story

Marianne is a freshman at the University of Washington Tacoma who is passionate about empowering the next generation. Her dream is to educate young people with the tools and resources to engage the systemic inequalities that they see in their community as a High School…

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We see the longest-term impact of our programs in our alumni’s work after graduation. They are leading with excellence and inclusion, working to build more equitable systems, serving the most vulnerable, fostering a more diverse and inclusive workforce, and taking on complex and stubborn challenges. Discover what our alumni are accomplishing.

Yusra’s Story

When Yusra Hamidani applied to Act Six, her goal was to empower Muslim students, especially young females, to pursue higher education. Now a successful emerging technology analyst at Boeing and Degrees of Change board director, Yusra lives out her passion by providing mentorship and financial…

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