2022 Virtual Champions Event: Connecting Across Communities

Hosted by KXLY News Anchor and Treehouse board member Robyn Nance from the Teen & Kid Closet in Spokane, Treehouse held its 2022 virtual Champions event on March 24. The Champions Luncheon started more than 20 years ago to bring the community together to collectively support youth in foster care and has become one of Treehouse’s most important fundraising events.

With nearly 900 registered attendees, the virtual format of the event brought guests from throughout Washington state and as far away as Hawaii, New York and Georgia. To date, almost $1 million in donations have come in through the Champions event to provide essential support and resources for young people experiencing foster care.

If you missed the live Champions event, the recording is available to watch via Treehouse’s YouTube channel 

The event program featured Niklett — a phenomenal student, young mother and refugee from the Congo who relocated to Spokane five years ago. Niklett is currently working as a nurse assistant, and her goal is to one day be a midwife. “If I wasn’t connected with Treehouse, it’s gonna be very hard. Because from Treehouse, I learned a lot… They saved my life a lot. 

Another key highlight of the event was guest speaker Karlos Dillard, a former foster youth and transracial adoptee. Karlos spent most of his childhood in foster care, bounced between 30 foster homes and group home placements. He has written about his experiences in a book, Ward of the State: A Memoir of Foster Care and is currently working on his second book. Karlos openly shared about the impact of foster care on his life and why he supports Treehouse:

“We need everyone to support Treehouse because they provide hope. They provide education and support for foster youth. And most importantly they provide a safety net for foster youth all the way to the age of 26. I wish I’d had access to Treehouse, but I am proud to support an organization that prevents foster youth from going through what I went through.”

Your Dollar Goes Even Further 

Thanks to the generous donors who contributed to the Challenge Pool, you have an opportunity to make an even greater impact with your Champions gift. Any gift of $300 or more is doubled, and any gift of $1,000 or more is tripled through a Challenge Pool. This also includes monthly gifts: monthly gifts of $30 or more are doubled, and monthly gifts of $100 or more are tripled. 

While we still have matching funds in our Challenge Pool, your gift will be matched. Donate today. 

Special Thanks to Our Challenge Pool Donors

Eve & Chap Alvord
Brettler Family Foundation
Zan Brookshire & Bert Green
Lynn & Bruce Gibson
Michael & Mary Kay Hallman
Matt & Barb LePage
Dave & Brenda Wilner
David & Linda Wilson

Ambitious Goals Ahead

CEO Lisa Chin and several Treehouse staff shared about Treehouse’s ambitious goal to expand statewide in order to reach every youth in foster care at the high school level — particularly in communities and populations that Treehouse is not currently reaching, including the Tribes, unaccompanied minors and dual system youth experiencing both foster care and incarceration. 

MonRá Muse, Area Director of High School Programs, spoke about the importance of the expansion:  

“Every youth who has experienced foster care deserves as many resources and supportive opportunities as possible. We know that Graduation Success works. When high school youth in care are paired with our Treehouse Education Specialist plus having access to tangible resources, it helps to remove barriers and allows the youth to achieve their goals. Expansion statewide will allow us to create a larger safety net or community around kids in transition.”

Additionally, Treehouse is developing a Youth-Adult Partnership where young people in foster care will be involved in decision-making of its program and organizational strategy we know we have the most to learn from them directly.

Community Awards

  • Corporate Partner Award: Puget Sound Energy
    Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has been supporting Treehouse for more than 25 years through workplace giving, donation drives and sponsorship. Over the years, employees from PSE have volunteered on our Board of Directors, including Kassie Markos who currently serves on the Treehouse Ambassador Board.
  • Community Partner Award: Muckleshoot Indian Tribe
    Over the past several years, Treehouse has been able to work with many facets of the Tribe, Muckleshoot Children & Family Services, the Tribal School, the Cultural Department, the Charitable Giving & Grants team, Behavioral Health, Sacred House as well as the young people we both care about. We recently honored this relationship with a blanket wrapping ceremony recognizing the collective work of the Tribe.
  • Wendy Walters Truitt Volunteer Award: Cindy Brettler
    For more than 20 years, Cindy was a part of the Treehouse family, giving generously of her time and resources to make sure kids experiencing foster care had fun, positive experiences and access to education. She was an incredibly humble, loving spirit who will truly be missed by all who were lucky to know her.

Special Thanks to Our Event Sponsors

List of 2022 Champions sponsors

Behind the Scenes 
A few behind-the-scene photos as our staff and speakers got ready for Champions in the Teen & Kid Closet in Spokane: 

Photo of Robyn Nance, MonRa Muse and Maya Hemachandra before the event

And our staff and volunteers gathered in the Treehouse store for a watch party to cheer them on from Seattle:  

Treehouse staff watch 2022 Champions from store

Watch the recording of the 2022 Champions event:

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