20-Year Partnership Leads to $160,000 Donation

By Desiree Lindsay, Treehouse Marketing & Communications Intern

Sharmila Swenson first became involved with Treehouse more than 20 years ago when she was a student at the University of Washington and the President of the Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority. Starting off a multi-decade long partnership, her sorority adopted Treehouse as a local recipient of their fundraising drives.

Currently, Sharmila is a member of Treehouse’s Board of Directors, chair of the Policy and Advocacy Committee and a former member of the Ambassador Board. Prior to that, she worked for Treehouse as a Relationship Development Officer.

Now, she’s Vice President of Public Affairs at Symetra, where she’s worked to have the financial services and insurance firm adopt Treehouse as a local recipient of their corporate philanthropy efforts.

“It’s been so rewarding to be a voice for youth in our community,” Sharmila said. “Clearly Treehouse’s mission is compelling for anyone who hears about the work we do.”

Thanks in large part to Sharmila’s support for Treehouse, Symetra has awarded the nonprofit a $160,000 Empowerment Grant as part of a multi-year partnership over the next four years.

The grant will support youth statewide as we navigate the pandemic by helping fund Launch Success. The Treehouse program partners with young adults who experienced foster care as they work toward stable housing, a post-high school credential and a living-wage job.

Symetra recently included Treehouse as a recipient in a special 3:1 employee match to celebrate the launch of their new program Symetra Empowers Communities.

Sharmila worries about the lack of resources that will be available for youth in foster care due to Washington state budget shortfalls. She believes that legislative advocacy will be critical as we look for ways to provide support for those who are disproportionally affected by the pandemic.

“Establishing safety nets for those who face higher socioeconomic challenges—such as youth in foster care—is absolutely critical during these difficult times,” Sharmila said. “Symetra and I are both thrilled to be part of that effort.”

Support Treehouse as we partner with youth in foster care to weather the pandemic. Make a gift at treehouseforkids.org/donate.

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About the Author

Desiree Lindsay is the Marketing and Communications Intern at Treehouse, where she elevates the voices and experiences of the youth we serve.

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