Helping Students in King County Graduate

Education is a gateway out of poverty, but odds are often stacked against low-income students from the start. United Way is working to break down these barriers in order to give young people in the Seattle area a fighting chance.

Donate to help students graduate in King County

Words heard by age 5 (in millions)

High Income
Middle Income
Low Income

By the time low-income children are 5 years old, they will have heard 30 million fewer words than their wealthy peers.

Nearly two out of three low-income kids in King County start school behind their more affluent peers.

That’s not fair. And what happens if you start school behind? Are you ever able to catch up?

For 14,000 youth in Seattle and King County, the answer has been no. Instead, these disconnected youth have dropped out of school, have no plans to attend college, and don’t have viable job prospects.

Solutions That Speak for Themselves

United Way uses proven solutions to coach parents, help pre-K kids prepare for the classroom, and support high school students to get back on track after major struggles or dropping out.


The ParentChild+ program supports families during the crucial early years of child development. Trained coaches bring educational books and toys to parents to help them become their child’s first and best teacher.

Impact to date


Families participating in the program


Completion rate of participants


Percentage points more likely to graduate

Reconnecting Youth

United Way provides alternative methods and support for youth to complete their education and work towards a high school dimploma, a college degree, and a stable career.

Impact to date


Youth earned a high school credential


Participants in the program


Raised to help reconnect youth

Bridge to Finish

It’s widely acknowledged that education is the best way to break the cycle of poverty. Yet, living in poverty makes being in college tough. At community college—where more than half of students are low-income—it can be especially challenging

Your support helps connect students to services so they can stay in school and complete their education. Our teams are on-site at 9 community colleges around the county. We know that one-time emergency grants can be the difference between dropping out and persisting. We also provide financial coaching, help applying for financial aid and free tax preparation.

Impact to Date


College Campuses Involved


Higher Persistence Rate for Participants


Students Served

You Can Get Involved

These programs have been proven to be effective in helping students graduate. Now we need your support to bring these programs to scale. By 2020 our goal is to have 80% of low-income kids start kindergarten prepared and to re-engage 7,000 disconnected youth. Will you help students graduate by giving a gift today?