2018 Community Partnership Award


Governors’ Scholarship for Foster Youth

Nationwide, half a million children live in foster care. Most have the same dreams, ambitions and potential to succeed as other children, including the hope of continuing their education after high school. While 70% of foster youth plan to go to college, just 2.5% end up finishing their program – the lowest success rate of any student population, according to a recent study.

College Success Foundation (CSF) was created in 2000 to encourage and inspire youth who are disadvantaged to graduate high school and earn their college degree. The organization serves students in Washington State; Washington, D.C.; and colleges in every state in the nation. Working directly in the schools, CSF staff delivers academic advising, college planning and readiness support, and financial aid and scholarship assistance that begins early in middle school and continues through college. Recognizing that students from foster care often face unique challenges to funding college, in 2001 CSF created the Governors’ Scholarship for Foster Youth program.

CSF administers the program, which it created with then Washington Governor Gary Locke, to provide scholarships and support for college-bound students from foster care. CSF staff provides continuous support to Governors’ Scholars throughout college. Working with colleges and universities across the state, CSF also hosts an annual three-day immersive event so that high‐school‐age youth from foster care can directly experience college life. Finally, CSF partners with colleges and community organizations to deliver wrap-around support that provides students from foster care with housing assistance, transportation, clothing and other basic needs, along with academic support and case management to help ensure success.

“As of 2017, close to 500 students have been awarded a Governors’ Scholarship and approximately half have earned their college degrees – 15 times the national rate,” said James Dorsey, President and Chief Executive Officer. “As proud as we are of that achievement, we know more is needed. Through the advocacy efforts of CSF and our partners, we’re working to bring more attention to the need for greater funding to help youth in foster care to achieve their dream of a brighter future.”


College Success Foundation


Governors’ Scholarship for Foster Youth


Casey Family Foundation Numerous colleges and universities The Mockingbird Society Treehouse YMCA