Treehouse Appoints Dawn Rains as Chief Executive Officer

SEATTLE, WA – The Board of Directors of Treehouse – Washington’s leading organization focused on educational equity for youth experiencing foster care – has named Dawn Rains as its new Chief Executive Officer. 

Ms. Rains, a 14-year veteran leader at Treehouse and the organization’s current President, succeeds CEO Lisa Chin after three years with the organization.

“We are grateful to Lisa for her courageous and visionary leadership,” said Board Chair John Holt. “Lisa was the leader we needed during a very challenging time in our world and especially for children and youth experiencing foster care. We are grateful for all she has done to advance our mission.”

Ms. Rains is a seasoned, proven, and resilient leader with more than 30 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. Over her time at Treehouse, she has led fund development, marketing, programs, and policy and systems change. Ms. Rains’ journey at Treehouse began in 2009 as the Director of Development & Marketing, leading a team that increased contributed revenue by 25% and attracted over 1,000 new donors. Dawn was appointed Chief Operating Officer in 2012, providing strategic direction for program development, implementation, and evaluation. She developed and launched the organization’s renowned Graduation Success program in that role. In 2017, Dawn was promoted to Chief Policy & Strategy Officer and then Executive Vice President in 2020, leading organizational strategy, policy, advocacy, and systems change work. She was appointed Treehouse’s President last September in recognition of her leadership.

Incoming Board Chair Sharmila Swenson shared her enthusiasm about Ms. Rains’ new role as CEO: “Dawn has served in nearly every leadership position in our organization and her care and attention have improved everything she has touched at Treehouse. She has positioned Treehouse as a trusted partner to the child welfare and education systems and an effective advocate in changing them. No one is more prepared to lead Treehouse into the future.”

Ms. Rains has overseen organizational strategy since 2017 and is currently leading a strategic planning effort expected to conclude this fall. In the meantime, Treehouse will continue to focus on improving program impact, expanding its statewide footprint, and advocating to improve the systems that affect youth experiencing foster care. Ms. Rains is also committed to centering the voices of the young people the organization serves and advancing the organization’s racial equity and healing-centered practice work.

“I am humbled and honored to have the opportunity to lead this organization l love so dearly,” said Ms. Rains. “And I am excited about our momentum and path ahead as we continue building on more than three decades of commitment, learning, and experience working with our young people. I look forward to partnering with the Board, our incredible team, and our community to ensure that every young person who experiences foster care in Washington state has every opportunity to thrive and pursue their dreams.”

A lifelong advocate for women and girls, Dawn was appointed by Governor Jay Inslee to serve as an inaugural member of the Washington State Women’s Commission and currently serves on the board of The IF Project. Ms. Rains earned a bachelor’s degree from The Evergreen State College and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Washington’s Daniel J. Evans School of Public Policy & Governance. She is also a former foster parent.

About Treehouse

Treehouse envisions — and strives — to create a world where every child who has experienced foster care has the opportunities and support they need to pursue their dreams and launch successfully into adulthood. Treehouse directly supports and works alongside more than 6,000 youth in foster care in Washington state while advocating for broad systems-level change, informed by their on-the-ground expertise. Through its programs and policy work, Treehouse is uniquely positioned to close the opportunity gap and positively change the outcomes of youth experiencing foster care.

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