Treehouse Continues Progress Toward Statewide Expansion with Infrastructure Investment from Amazon

At Treehouse, we believe that young people experiencing foster care should have the same access to education and opportunity as their peers. Yet, outcomes nationwide show that youth in foster care fall behind academically and face disproportionate levels of unemployment and homelessness. As we work to change these outcomes, an important step is expanding our programs statewide. Within the next year, Treehouse aims to serve every school-aged child, youth and young adult experiencing foster care in Washington State, so they can rely on us no matter where in the state their foster care placements take them. We’re particularly focused on communities and populations that Treehouse is not currently reaching, including Tribes, unaccompanied refugee minors and youth experiencing both foster care and incarceration.

Expanding our programs statewide means we need to increase staffing to reach youth in all corners of the state. It means rethinking how we deliver our services, particularly during a global pandemic. And it also means that we need to make sure all our infrastructure — the things that people don’t see — is also evolving with our growth.

We are happy to share that Amazon recently contributed a fully flexible $100,000 to Treehouse to help us advance closer toward our ambitious goal. These funds were immediately put to use to provide 70+ new laptops to our teams as well as purchase IT program licenses that will improve security. A number of local nonprofits have been victims of scams and frauds, and the lack of capital support for them to shore up their IT to prevent these incidents from happening is a reality. Treehouse is proactively focusing on our IT infrastructure to ensure we are ahead of this curve.

This investment also made possible the implementation of a safe and secure channel for communicating with our youth participants. Many of the young people we work with prefer messaging apps over email and even texting, so this allows us to reach our participants with a youth-centered approach that matches their preferences and behavior while ensuring security.

“The truth is, while the infrastructure investment and development often doesn’t get the same public love and attention that direct program services receives, it is an absolutely integral part of ensuring that Treehouse delivers on our promise to the young people we work with,” says Jess Lewis, Chief Program Officer at Treehouse. “Data security and privacy protection is a huge concern and part of our obligation in working with youth in foster care and vulnerable student populations.”

We truly appreciate Amazon’s investment in these critical IT upgrades — not many partners are willing to invest in the infrastructure that nonprofits need to operate securely and efficiently. It’s not flashy or even something that people will see, but building stronger internal structures to accommodate our future growth is important and foundational to achieving our long-term vision. Thank you to Amazon for supporting us where our need is — it will truly make an impact in communities across Washington State, and we look forward to our continued partnership.

You can learn more about our statewide expansion goals here.

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