The Organization

Founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1993, Friends of the Children uses a bold, proven, and replicable model to accelerate change and break the cycle of generational poverty. Friends of the Children-Seattle (Friends-Seattle) is a chapter of a national network of fifteen sites throughout the United States and England.

A pair of friends who were retiring from Microsoft were impressed by Friends of the Children’s use of data and the profound impact of using professional mentors (called Friends) to support youth facing the highest risks of school dropout, involvement in the juvenile justice system, and early parenthood. In 2000, they founded Friends of the Children’s Seattle chapter, which is leading the movement and is serving as a model for other organizations across the country. Friends-Seattle identifies kindergarten children in Seattle Public Schools who face the greatest challenges and connects them with salaried, full-time, professional mentors for 12½ years. No matter what.

Friends of the Children’s unique model was created by benchmarking successful organizations across the country and constructing a program based on research that combined the best practices from each. Data showed that the single most important factor in building the resilience of a child who is at high risk of school failure is having a healthy, consistent relationship with a caring adult who has high expectations. By partnering with Seattle Public Schools and the foster care system, Friends-Seattle selects children who, by the time they are five or six years old, already struggle with a significant amount of stress, instability, and unpredictability in their lives because of circumstances beyond their control:

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Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree and eight or more years of experience. Also essential to success in this role are quantifiable results leading fundraising or business development efforts in a private or non-profit organization. All candidates should have excellent organization, people and time-management skills; excellent internal and external communication skills; and experience in a senior leadership role. Experience reporting to a high-profile board is highly desirable. Candidates must bring a deep commitment to social justice and equity, and a thorough understanding of how supporting youth facing the toughest challenges can elevate communities.