Invest in Youth pairs 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students with volunteer tutors in Seattle Public Schools. Unlike many other tutoring programs, Invest in Youth matches each volunteer tutor with a single student for the entire school year at no cost to the schools or students.
Currently we partner with five schools. The schools and students reflect the richness and diversity of the surrounding communities, and although we customize our program to each site and student, tutoring typically includes helping with homework, building reading confidence and working on math fundamentals. In addition, tutors serve as role models, mentors and friends.
Tutors come from varied backgrounds but all share a common desire to advance our vision to help students become confident, capable learners who engage with and look for solutions to the challenges around them. Students are selected by their teachers and administrators as those most likely to benefit from this one-on-one support.
Tutoring takes place after school, one-on-one in the classroom with other student-tutor pairs. Three of our schools feature small group enrichment prior to tutoring, offering hands-on, interdisciplinary activities to supplement their regular classroom curriculum.
Invest in Youth is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and is funded through individual donors, grants, and proceeds from our annual gala and golf tournament. Our staff consists of a full-time executive director and a part-time program assistant. Our board is comprised of educators, business leaders and community volunteers committed to making a difference in these students’ lives.
We enhance the academic abilities, life prospects and self-confidence of struggling learners in Seattle Public Schools.
Invest in Youth envisions a community where all children are confident, capable learners who engage with and look for solutions to the challenges around them.
Compassion: Our work is driven by care, kindness and consideration.
Collaboration: We partner with each school and adapt our program and each tutoring session to the needs of students.
Determination: Grit, effort and resiliency are paramount to success.
Integrity: We have high standards for trust and consistency.
We began in the fall of 1996 when financial adviser Harriett Morton began tutoring one third-grader at Bailey Gatzert Elementary. She soon realized many other students would benefit from this individualized time with an adult. It didn’t take long for her to realize she had a solution to helping more students through the investment firm she and her husband John founded in 1995.
She initially recruited her professional colleagues (working East-coast trading hours) at Morton, Clarke, Fu & Metcalf to volunteer as after-school tutors. She partnered with teachers and administrators to individually match tutors with 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. The plan would be to have these tutor and student pairs meet one-on-one, one hour each week for the school year.
In January of 1997 Harriett expanded her reach to six other investment firms to recruit additional tutors. By then, the number of tutors at Bailey Gatzert, including herself and her husband John, was nine. By the fall of 1998 Invest in Youth paired 40 tutors from various investment firms to 40 students and expanded to a second school, Thurgood Marshall Elementary.
In the following years students from Daniel Bagley Elementary and Beacon Hill International enrolled in the program and more tutors were recruited. Although the number of tutors increased steadily in these early years, Invest in Youth has historically served approximately 100 students (with approximately 100 volunteer tutors) to ensure an effective program delivery to the students and rewarding experience for tutors.
During the first 15 years, Invest in Youth relied primarily on limited corporate grants and individual donations to fund programming expenses. Anticipating that Harriet would someday step down from day-to-day management of the program and hire paid staff, Invest in Youth (operating as a nonprofit under another umbrella organization) filed for and was granted nonprofit status from the IRS in 2010.
In 2011 Invest in Youth hired its first full-time executive director. To fund the increase in programming and operating costs to serve the growing number of students, Invest in Youth launched its first annual golf tournament that year and in 2015 hosted its first annual tasting event. Managed entirely by board members and two part-time staff members, these two events provide the bulk of Invest in Youth’s revenue.
In 2016 Invest in Youth began offering enrichment programming to offer exposure to topics and material students would not typically have the opportunity to participate in. In addition to hands-on STEAM curriculum from organizations such as Pacific Science Center and the Museum of Flight, enrichment also includes introduction to theater, yoga and farm-to-table nutrition.