Horizons Special Edition Newsletter: Meet our Horizons regional partnerships

Two women smiling
Students from across Washington state tour the Discovery Center during a convening at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle

Director’s note

We are thrilled to announce our four Horizons regional partnerships today!

As someone who has dedicated the last few decades to education in Washington state, I’ve come to understand a few things:

  • Local regions know their students better than anyone—and regions across Washington are already doing great work to help students design their futures.
  • Philanthropy cannot do everything, but we can do our best to resource change. That means helping programs and partnerships grow to support even more students.
  • None of this work is successful without engaging and listening to students and families. I also say this as a mom of a senior who is chatting with a lot of parents about the FAFSA right now!

Through Horizons, we are working to help local partnerships unlock solutions that they know will work best in their communities. We’re giving them the flexibility—along with some expert support—to identify these solutions. I’m so excited to support their efforts and can’t wait to see what they’re able to do for students in their regions.

Angela Jones
Director, Washington State & U.S. Charters


Meet the four Horizons partnerships

Graphic of Horizons Regional Partnership 

Our four Horizons regional partnerships are spread across Washington state—with one on the Kitsap and Olympic peninsulas, another in South King County, a third supporting rural school districts in Southwest Washington, and one covering the Palouse region.

  • Each Horizons region features a “backbone” organization that coordinates the local partnership.
  • Other partners include K-12 school districts, higher education institutions, and workforce, government, and community-based organizations.
  • In addition to grant funding, each Horizons partnership will receive technical assistance to learn more about programs that are proven to help students take the next step after graduation.

Learn more: Meet the four regional partnerships helping students explore postsecondary pathways in Washington state


A focus on effective advising

A graphic image of The State of College and Career Advising in WA 

Horizons regional partnerships will prioritize efforts to expand and improve college and career advising programs. Recent analysis confirmed that advising is not done consistently across our state, and many school districts lack the capacity to provide support beyond their counselors—who are already stretched too thin.

Learn more: New findings on college and career advising provide insights for Washington

Bringing solutions that students want

Female student and teacher looking at a piece of paper

We want to help Horizons regions bring advising solutions directly to students, rather than relying on students to seek out an adult who can help. As new foundation-funded research confirms, students want this kind of support. More than 43% of high school students said that expanding access to experts to help them navigate the college experience, finance their education, and explore career pathways would be “extremely helpful.”

Learn more: What new research tells us about students' views on college

Supporting local partnerships

Horizons is one of two Gates Foundation programs that focuses on supporting locally led solutions to help more students continue their education after high school and achieve their goals. We also provided funding to launch the Limitless Learning Network, which is bringing 26 local partnerships together—in person and virtually—over the next four school years.

Learn more: Supporting local partnerships that are empowering local students