An Honor for Many Years

By Janis Avery, Treehouse CEO

It has been my honor to serve the Treehouse community for 24 years. I am so proud of what we have done together to grow this organization, build awareness about foster care and partner around hope and opportunity. All of this makes it possible for me to consider what comes next. I am writing to let you know I will be departing Treehouse in the spring. It is time for someone else to lead this amazing organization. The decision, while difficult to make, fills me with equal parts appreciation for how we arrived in this moment and anticipation of successes yet to come.

The Treehouse Board of Directors took a chance on me as the organization’s first Managing Director in 1995, and the staff embraced my commitment to continuous improvement. Over the years, we have grown and changed together—Treehouse as a social impact organization and contributor to the national conversation on foster care, and me as an advocate, collaborator and leader.

As I look back, our shared progress is both extraordinary and ongoing:

  • We’ve grown from working with hundreds of children annually and a staff of 10—to more than 8,000 youth and a staff 148 strong—with a budget exceeding $15 million.
  • We partner with thousands of volunteers, donors, families and community members each and every year.
  • We work for equity by leading through the lens of race as foundational to leadership, youth and organizational success.
  • We make childhood experiences, clothing and other essentials accessible to those experiencing foster care as they explore interests and identities, find community and simply have fun.
  • We improve high school graduation rates for youth in care and are well on our way to statewide graduation equity in Washington.
  • We build and nurture a staff committed to growing, learning and producing the best possible work.

Most importantly, we’re there to support youth as they explore their dreams and take that next step forward into successful adulthood.

A nationwide search for Treehouse’s next CEO has begun, and I am confident the process will bring forth the leader needed for the organization’s critical next chapter. I leave with confidence, knowing we’re at a high point, poised for future success.

Treehouse is in my heart forever, and I hope it is in yours. Please continue to share your love for everything we do, and encourage others to get involved. Community support is how we became the organization we are today, and it is the cornerstone to how we will continue evolving in the years to come.

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About the Author

Janis Avery has led Treehouse since 1995. As CEO, Janis advocates for racial and educational equity for youth in foster care through alignment of goals within Treehouse, promoting systems change, maximizing community collaboration and resource development. Janis holds a Master of Social Work and Certificate in Human Services Management from the University of Washington. She is a social worker and an adoptive parent of two children from foster care.

Comments (3)

Sue Burrus

October 24, 2019

Thank you Janis for all that you have done to make life better for so many chidren! It was a pleasure working with you all those years ago. Best wishes as you begin the next chapter!


Cathi Hatch

December 11, 2019

Dear Janis~
Your leadership and commitment to Treehouse and changing lives for so many foster children during your 24 year tenure is absolutely remarkable! Thank you for all you have done to make our community one that embraces and supports foster children. You are an amazing human being and I feel privileged to call you a friend. With my warmest regards and very best wishes,


Holly Hill

January 23, 2020

Dear Janis,
We all owe you a debt of gratitude for working so tirelessly on behalf of the most vulnerable among us. Thank you, thank you, Thank you, Holly


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