Dear Partners and Friends,

It’s an honor to share some exciting news! We are thrilled to announce a new and game-changing investment into the larger Tacoma community aimed at deepening and scaling partnerships for student success.

This month, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $2.5 million to be invested over the next two years into increasing the capacity and capability of the Graduate Tacoma community-wide movement!

Your collective support for Tacoma’s future generation of leaders and professionals has become a national model for working together. This investment is recognition of all that we’ve been able to accomplish. Now as we continue to grow more sophisticated and strategic in our efforts, the challenges also grow more complex.

We believe that increasing the capacity and capability of our partners to work together will lead to our vision of a Tacoma where every child succeeds. We also believe that strengthening alignment across sectors is essential to further provide pathways for students to realize their dreams.

Over the next two years, the Foundation for Tacoma Students will direct these new funds into three investment areas:


Community Partner Capacity & Capability

IF we increase our partners’ capacity and capability to collaborate, align, and integrate strategies at scale for student indicator improvements, THEN we will yield more effective interventions and sustain shared community ownership for narrowing disparities that impact student achievement.

Data Capacity & Capability

IF we grow FFTS’ internal data capacity and advance our community’s data literacy, analysis and systems alignment for measuring student outcomes, THEN we will remove barriers, enhance collaboration, avoid duplication and scale systems-wide initiatives.

Postsecondary Access & Completion

IF we strengthen alignment to close equity gaps and increase the overall rate of TPS grads attending and completing a postsecondary degree or certificate (including the trades, apprenticeships, and other non-collegiate pathways), THEN we will differentiate and realign strategies that focus on access and completion – creating a more successful transition into right-fit pathways for all students.


With great opportunity comes great responsibility. By increasing our efforts and strengthening our partnerships to support students, this funding has the potential to set in motion a new phase of movement building. We have a mountain of work to do in the next two years. We invite you to learn more and help shape how these investments unfold. Sign up for a July info session here!

In partnership,

Tafona Ervin, Ed. M
Executive Director
Foundation for Tacoma Students