A message from Sarah Smith, Executive Director

Needless to say, 2020 has not unfolded the way we expected, and it has been a strange time to contemplate celebration.

However, as I reflect on ways that our community has pulled together over the past few months, I think we have truly represented and honored the core values that Rainier Scholars was founded on 20 years ago. This was always our goal in commemorating this milestone, and so like so many others in the world, we have adjusted to meet the realities of the day.

Thanks to your generosity and the efforts of our dedicated and creative staff, during this time of economic vulnerability and social distancing, we have been able to provide holistic support to our scholars and families. In addition to shifting our core academic, leadership, college and career programming online over the course of a few weeks, we have also provided a financial safety net for the critical basic needs of our families, enabled internet access in places it was lacking and ensured that college scholars stranded around the country could travel safely home when campuses closed seemingly overnight. Additionally, we have shared our academic and support resources out with the larger community, in hopes of supporting anyone looking for learning enrichment and support resources during this unprecedented time.

Each spring, we have good news to share on the college acceptance front and this year is no exception. Our Cohort 12 scholars have received offers of admission from colleges and universities around the country and are looking forward to embarking on their higher education journeys, even if the path initially looks different than expected.

Our 20th anniversary year will indeed be unforgettable, not because of the conditions that constrained us, but because of the myriad ways we rose to the challenges. This is truly worth celebrating.

Over 800 scholars continue on their journey towards a college degree, professional career and lives of leadership and service, and we are committed to ensuring that this remains the case during these uniquely challenging times.

20 Years of Scholars, 20 Years of Stories

Your support makes these success stories possible.

At Amazon, we believe all children and young adults, regardless of background, should have the resources to build their best future. Rainier Scholars is doing just that and we’re proud to support their mission providing children, young adults and their families with the support needed for college and successful careers of the future.


20th Anniversary Sponsor

Rainier Scholars has not only helped me gain academic and professional opportunities, but also a sense of empowerment in determining the course of my life and the impact I want to make on the world.

Miles Welsh, Cohort 4

Marist College 2016, Amazon Web Services

Our interest is helping kids and families that have the “get up and go” but haven’t had a fair chance. Rainier Scholars does a great job of finding those kids and families and then guiding their hard work to allow them the opportunities they deserve.

Matt Griffin & Evelyne Rozner

20th Anniversary Sponsors

It felt wonderful to know that there were multiple middle school options for my son that would keep him on a college trajectory and give him access to an amazing educational experience. Without Rainier Scholars, the opportunity for these schools would not have been on my radar.

Jami Bess

Cohort 17 parent