The Foundation for Tacoma Students is the backbone organization to the Graduate Tacoma community-wide movement. 

Our mission is to build and strengthen Tacoma’s community-wide movement to help every child achieve success from cradle to college and career by aligning goals, data, resources, and partners.

Our Priorities

We facilitate a sense of belonging and create shared ownership by engaging Tacoma parents, youth and community (indirectly and directly), policymakers, and elected officials across multiple sectors to address equity gaps facing youth — cradle to career.

We provide a trusted source of aggregated, disaggregated, and student-level data for Graduate Tacoma Networks and community partners to best impact, influence, and improve outcomes for youth and families — cradle to career.

We serve as a key intermediary, to help align funding and community resources around strategies that positively impact youth achieving success from cradle to career.

We inform, activate, and elevate the Graduate Tacoma community movement in local, regional, and state policy to affect equitable outcomes and dismantle systems of oppression cradle to career.

We are a resource for community partners to help expand and sustain their capacity and capability to improve measurable outcomes for youth by supporting and facilitating continuous skills sharing.

Our Commitment to Equity

Equity is an approach. Equity recognizes that we do not all start from the same place because advantages and barriers exist. Equity is a process. By acknowledging these varied starting places, the Foundation seeks to correct the imbalance for the most marginalized and minoritized populations.

  • Focusing on populations furthest from meaningful opportunities.

  • Disrupting and dismantling structural and institutional racism and systems that result in oppression.

  • Aligning and directing resources to populations under-resourced.

  • Representing the community in which FFTS serves at all levels.

  • Redress past systemic and institutional practices by partnering and contracting with women-owned businesses and business owned and operated by people of color.

Our Values









Meet Our Team

Dr. Tafona Ervin

Executive Director

Gray Sterling

Deputy Director

Devin Rydel Kelly

Director of Research, Evaluation & Data

Rosie Ayala

Director of Operations

Ben Mitchell

Director of Advocacy & Policy

Shaima Shamdeen

Director of Communications

Rodney Wolfenbarger

Director of Pierce County Pathways

Sarah Detweiler

Associate Director of Pierce County Pathways

Chanel R. Hall

Associate Director of Strategy & Impact

Alan Foote

Data Analyst

Kennadi Bouyer

Operations Manager

Hannah Hibbs

Strategy Manager

Asha Richardson

Strategy Manager

Abby Shade

Strategy Manager

Wendy Holcomb

Strategy Manager

Meet Our Board

Cassandra Mitchell


SVP of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Strategy & Engagement, KeyBank of WA

Stuart Young


Managing Principal, BCRA Design

Tanisha Jumper


Chief Communications Office, Tacoma Public Schools

Ivan Harrell III


President, Tacoma Community College

Josh Knudson


Principal Consultant, Advancement Enterprises

Lois Bernstein

Chief Community Executive, MultiCare Health System

Elizabeth Bonbright

School Board President, Tacoma Public Schools

Katie Condit

President/CEO, Workforce Central

Shon Sylvia

Executive Director, Metro Parks Tacoma

Sara Irish

Pierce County Engagement Specialist, Molina Healthcare

Victoria Woodards

Mayor, City of Tacoma

Melanie Denise Cunningham

Director of Multicultural Outreach & Engagement, Pacific Lutheran University

Carrie Prudente Holden

President & CEO, Boys & Girls Club of South Puget Sound

Andrea Cobb

Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Richard Remmert

Production Engineering Manager, The Boeing Company

Dr. Josh Garcia

Superintendent, Tacoma Public Schools

Patty Rose

Secretary Treasurer, Pierce County Central Labor Council

Brooke Johnson

Managing Attorney, North x Northwest Law Group

Arielle Flesher

Administrative Assistant, City of Tacoma

Holly Bamford Hunt

Executive Director, Bamford Family Foundation