Dear Graduate Tacoma partners & friends,
As a school year full of promise begins for our community’s students, teachers and families, I am inspired by and grateful for the actions of so many people working together to ensure every child in Tacoma succeeds in school, career and life. On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Tacoma Students, the backbone organization for the Graduate Tacoma movement, I would like to share particular thanks for the bold leadership of founding President & CEO Eric Wilson and to announce his leadership transition from the organization.
 
I remember the first day I met Eric at a meeting of funders convened by Brad Cheney almost 10 years ago, and thinking, “this person has a lot of positive energy.” Well, my impression has not changed after all this time. After a decade of tireless effort developing and stewarding the mission and vision of Graduate Tacoma — in partnership with Superintendent Carla Santorno and our outstanding school district leadership, dedicated community organizations, Collaborative Action Networks, community leaders from diverse sectors and experiences, business, government, and local and national philanthropy — Eric Wilson will be resigning his position as of October 1. He will continue to serve the movement and Graduate Tacoma in a consultant role as a strategic advisor.
 
In June 2018, the Foundation shared with the community that Director of Collective Impact Tafona Ervin would step into the position of Executive Director, leading the day-to-day operations and strategy of the organization — a role in which she has conducted with excellence and responsiveness to the community for this past year of exceptional growth and change for the organization. Now the Board of Directors is thrilled to share that Tafona Ervin will lead the organization into 2020 and beyond as Executive Director of the Foundation for Tacoma Students.
 
Her commitment to the progress of the Graduate Tacoma movement is inextricably tied to a sustained focus on equity and building a data-informed support system that ensures all our young community members thrive from cradle to career. The work ahead includes:
  • Engaging community to establish a new 10-year goal that advances educational outcomes for students;
  • Leading and assessing the outputs of the Foundation for Tacoma Students in the following priority areas:
    • Connecting & Convening
    • Public Policy & Advocacy
    • Data Transparency & Analytics
    • Professional Development & Continuous Improvement
    • Aligned Community Funding
  • Working in concert with local community-based organizations, local philanthropy, local businesses, and local governmental organizations to support educational outcomes in early learning, K-12, and higher education. 

Foundation for Tacoma Students Community Impact Report 2016 at Star Center, Tacoma. Eric Wilson, FFTS President. Photo by Alabastro Photography.

 
Reflecting back on almost 10 years, there has been great cause to celebrate graduation rates and closing gaps in access and opportunity, yet there is so much more work to do as a community to truly lift up every child.
 
I think I can speak for past as well as present board members, that I have been honored and humbled to be a part of the Graduate Tacoma movement, and we would like to praise the critical efforts of Eric Wilson in building this movement. Please join us in expressing our heartfelt thanks to Eric Wilson by emailing him directly. We are deeply grateful for his dedication to catalyzing our community in support of Tacoma students!
 

 
 
 
In Partnership,
 
Holly Bamford Hunt
Board Chair
Foundation for Tacoma Students