Washington State Education

We believe education is essential to giving young people control over their own lives, today and into the future.

Nearly 90% of Washington’s high schoolers say they want to continue their education after high school. But today, only 50% of Washington’s high school graduates enroll in postsecondary programs.

Together with the local schools, colleges, and organizations that know their communities best, we believe we can help close that gap.

Our Washington State team works with local and regional partners to help students take the next step in their education journeys after high school. We bring together students, educators, funders, and community leaders to set common goals and strategies to support our state’s young people.

Our work is guided by the perspectives and goals of Washington’s students.
Nearly 90% of high schoolers in Washington state say they want to pursue further education or career training after graduation.
Our Washington State education strategy was informed by conversations with more than 200 community members.
Supporting local partnerships

We’re committed to learning from and partnering with local organizations who know their communities best to understand where we can make the biggest impact. We currently do that through two grant programs that support regions across the state of Washington in their efforts to ensure more students access education after high school.

Expanding evidence-based solutions across the state

We ground our work in evidence, funding programs based on real-world challenges and solutions. In Washington state, that means helping launch and grow programs that are proven to help students pursue college and career pathways—like high-quality advising and dual credit.

Bringing education leaders together

Community members have told us they value the Gates Foundation’s ability to convene people and groups. In response to this feedback, we’ve launched a statewide funders network and an education roundtable to bring students, educators, education leaders, and funders together to work toward common goals and priorities that support students.

By 2035, our goal is to help 70% of Washington’s students enroll in a postsecondary program after high school—the first step in preparing local students for the good-paying jobs in our state.

We’re guided by what students want

Our students have big aspirations. They want to continue their education after high school.
Charter Schools

We believe high-quality charter schools—which are free and open to all—are an important part of Washington’s public school system, giving families additional options to help meet the needs of all students.

Community Engagement

In the greater Seattle region, we provide flexible funding to strengthen local nonprofits and help them address emerging community needs—like housing security and homelessness.

Past projects

Explore some of our previous grant programs.