Thousands of fans are expected to buy the new Seahawks license plates when the state puts them on sale January 1. But many likely have no idea the money will go to help thousands of kids succeed in school.
All of the proceeds from the new plates will go to InvestEd, a Seattle-based non-profit that provides small, immediate grants to secondary students in need across the state.
“It is so important because studies have shown that students who are engaged in school and stay in school will be much more successful long term,” says InvestEd’s executive director Deborah Cushing.
The idea is simple. InvestEd partners with 660 schools across the state. When a teacher, principal or coordinator identifies a kid in need, they apply for help and InvestEd provides funding. The money is often used for things like school supplies, musical instruments, student activity cards, and test fees.
“So it might be a coach, it might be a counselor, it might be a teacher that says ‘I notice Joe never gets to school on time.’ Then they figure out Joe doesn’t have a steady place to live and he needs an alarm clock. Something that small can get a kid to school and make a huge difference,” Cushing says.
Unlike many other programs, InvestEd operates with little overhead or bureaucracy to make funds available quickly and easily.
Cushing says a perfect example is a recent case where a high school junior who excelled at soccer didn’t try out for the team. Her coach pulled her aside and found out her family was struggling and couldn’t afford the activity fee. InvestEd quickly got them the money so she could play.
“She became a leader in her school. She became captain of the soccer team. And she’s in college now partially funded by a scholarship. That wouldn’t have happened if she didn’t have the money for tryouts.”
Last year, InvestEd provided funding for 18,213 students in 661 Washington schools, Cushing says. It’s a far cry from the organization’s humble beginnings 50 years ago when Seattle journalist, broadcast pioneer, and philanthropist Saul Haas started InvestEd.
Haas learned from his daughter, Deesa, many of her fellow Garfield High School students were low income and couldn’t afford basic needs, ranging from eyeglasses to athletic shoes. So he wrote a check for $500 and gave it to the school principal to do with as he saw fit. Since then, Haas’ foundation has donated over $12 million to Washington state schools, Cushing says.
“We know something as seemingly simple as a $30 activity card can change the trajectory of a student’s life,” she says.
The stations of Bonneville Seattle, the Seattle Seahawks, Les Schwab Tire Centers, and Carter Subaru are proud to honor InvestED as our Charity of the Month.
Learn more about InvestED, the Seattle Seahawks license plates and and how you can help here.