History & Philosophy

We advance equity in education with a proven model for student success.

Our History

Inspired by A Hope in the Unseen and modeled after the Prep for Prep program in New York City, Rainier Scholars was founded by Bob Hurlbut in 2000 on the belief that all students deserve an equal opportunity to excel academically and become thriving community and workplace leaders.

Who We Serve

We support students most underrepresented on college campuses: Multi-Generational African American, African immigrant, Hispanic/Latinx, first-generation Asian, Pacific Islander and Native American students who have the greatest number of barriers to achieving a college degree.

Approximately 90% of our program participants are from families who qualify as low-income.

90% of our program participants are from households without a four-year college degree.

Our Philosophy

We select students who demonstrate curiosity, motivation and strong family support.

We cultivate a growth-mindset.

We celebrate achievement.

We reinforce cultural identity, empower resilience and encourage personal development.

Our Strategic Vision

With heightened awareness of racial inequity and a pledge to build on current initiatives and expand and strengthen partnerships, we are developing a new strategic plan which builds on Vision 2020, our 2015-2020 strategic plan.

Building on our current strategic plan’s Multi-Generational African American (MGAA) initiative and growth initiative, we have launched a partnership with Tacoma Public Schools, enabling us to serve more MGAA students and make our program more widely accessible. Read the news release.

“The trajectory of my mom’s and my life changed the day that I ran home with a big letter from Rainier Scholars.”

“I’ve had opportunities that I had never thought possible or even imagined.”

Winson, Cohort 3
Middlebury College ’16
Sister Pie, Detroit


Get Involved

Help us open up a world of possibilities for our scholars.


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Every gift helps fund our scholars on a life-changing journey from 5th grade through college graduation.