In 1988, a group of Washington State Department of Social and Health Services social workers grew tired of seeing the deprivation often faced by children in foster care. They started purchasing the little things needed to help foster children feel loved and capable — things like birthday presents and school supplies — funded by community bake sales and car washes.
Over time, Treehouse grew to become a strong and thriving nonprofit providing valuable programs — all with the goal of supporting successful completion of high school for students in foster care.
But in 2012, the organization faced the harsh reality that — despite its efforts — fewer than 50 percent of youth in foster care were graduating from high school.
BoardSource created the Stand for Your Mission Award in 2018 to recognize nonprofit boards that have established advocacy as an expectation for engaged and effective board leadership — and, by doing so, are helping their organizations realize their missions.
Thank you to everyone who submitted an application for the 2019 award. Winners will be announced this summer.
The winner of the award receives $5,000 to support its work.
We encourage you to read the stories of the 2018 award winner and finalists to learn more about how advocacy accelerated their efforts to achieve their missions.
While advocacy has always been a pillar of its mission, ArtsFund was spurred to action in 2015 when the Washington State Legislature passed a bill allowing cities and counties to levy a tax in support of access to nonprofit arts, science, and heritage organizations. ArtsFund supported the bill’s passage for nearly a decade, and with its long-awaited approval came the opportunity to substantially increase funding for cultural organizations in its county should voters approve it by ballot initiative. To act on this opportunity, however, ArtsFund realized that it needed more focused board leadership and support around advocacy. In response, the board formed a board-led advocacy and policy committee, which enabled the organization to restore advocacy as a mission priority and expand its influence and impact. While the ballot initiative ultimately was defeated by a narrow margin, it energized the board and organization and was followed by a successful Seattle Mayoral Forum on Arts and Funding. Due to these efforts, ArtsFund is now considered a go-to counsel for policy decisions and viewed as a leader in Seattle’s cultural sector.
The housing affordability crisis is very real in Los Angeles County, as the need for affordable housing has outpaced the production of new affordable homes for more than a decade. By 2012, there was a shortfall of almost 500,000 homes available to the county’s very low- and extremely low-income households. That is when Abode Communities, a nonprofit focused on affordable housing, decided it must commit more of its resources to policy and advocacy efforts to increase awareness of and bring much needed resources to the work of producing and preserving housing for low-income Angelinos. With the help of a fully engaged board — and, in particular, a board policy and advocacy plan — and in partnership with other trade and membership organizations, Abode Communities provided support to defeat a local ballot measure that would have halted the production of residential development in the City of Los Angeles; pass a statewide housing legislative packet aimed at the production of affordable housing in 2017, including the placement of a housing bond on the state ballot in 2018; and preserve key housing programs in the recent tax reform bill at the federal level.