Seattle Foundation Blog

2018 Youth Celebration

Event recognizes Seattle Foundation scholarship recipients and the Youth Grantmaking Board

June 11, 2018

By Cassie Mires, Associate Philanthropic Advisor

A player goes for a layup at the SeaTac Community Center.

Keynote speaker Mozart Guerrier, executive director of 21 Progress

Tony and scholarship recipient

President & CEO Tony Mestres with Nora Stone Smith Scholarship recipient Hamse Igge

Students and families at the Youth Celebration

Students, families and partners connecting at the Youth Celebration

For the first time in Seattle Foundation’s history a joint youth celebration was held to recognize the philanthropic work of our youth-led Youth Grantmaking Board (YGB) and the academic accomplishments of over 230 scholarship awardees, many of whom were in attendance to be recognized by family, friends and community.

In this 11th year of the YGB, the 17-member group focused its philanthropic energies on areas that deeply affect our community. The students decided to support advocacy and organizing for immigrant and refugees in King County, with a goal to reach organizations with an annual operating budget at or below $500,000, in order to make a big impact in their work. Through an RFP process, which included site visits and interviews with staff, the Board awarded $20,000 in funding to Colectiva legal del Pueblo and the West African Community Council.

YGB spoke about how their experiences on the board have shaped their beliefs around philanthropy and the importance of giving back to the community.

Keynote speaker Mozart Guerrier, Executive Director of 21 Progress, brought an infectious energy to his message encouraging youth to be inclusive and bridge gaps. He shared simple reminders to thank those who have helped us in our journeys and to continue to rejoice in the moments of achievements as they come.

Following Guerrier’s talk, students lined up to receive their awards from Seattle Foundation President and CEO Tony Mestres, who congratulated the scholars and emphasized the importance of philanthropy in investing in student leaders.

More than 140 students from around the state were awarded scholarships in varying amounts, for a total investment of $1.3 million by Seattle Foundation philanthropists. Talented students are headed near and far to Washington state universities and colleges, and out-of-state schools including Cornell, Columbia, and Howard University. We saw an increase in scholarship applications, with a total of more than 1,900 submissions for the 37 scholarship funds Seattle Foundation administers. More than 40 philanthropists and community volunteers served on scholarship committees this year to select the recipients.

A multi-generational crowd of students, families, philanthropists and scholarship committee members traveled from all over Washington to enjoy the celebration featuring catering by That Brown Girl Cooks and photography by Youth in Focus. Live music was performed by a jazz quartet from the Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz Band, one of two bands in the state selected to perform at the prestigious Essential Ellington competition in New York City this year.

Philanthropic Services Associate Advisors Saúl Valdez and Cassie Mires, who respectively manage the YGB and scholarship programs for Seattle Foundation, coordinated and emceed the event. They are working to engage more youth in these successful programs to become the leaders we hope to see in the world.

We congratulate these 2018 scholarship recipients and wish them every success in higher education and beyond.

To learn more about Seattle Foundation’s YGB program, contact Saúl Valdez at For more information about our scholarship program please contact Cassie Mires at



For Philanthropists


Children and youtheducationFamily philanthropyphilanthropistsscholarships

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