Bridge to Finish

Supporting college students so they can focus on graduating.

Support this program

Poverty makes staying in school tough.

At community college—where more than half of the students live below the poverty line—staying in school can be especially challenging.

It is widely acknowledged that education is the best way to break the cycle of poverty. Yet living in poverty makes staying in college tough. Further, because of systemic racism throughout the education system, education opportunities for people of color are limited. Nearly half of our area community college students are people of color. 

Community colleges are an affordable way for people to get a higher education, yet fewer than half of community college students earn a credential.

Further, the COVID-19 crisis demonstrated the importance of a college education. So far during the pandemic, the unemployment rate for those with a high school diploma has been roughly twice that of those with a bachelors degree at 9% and 4.8% respectively.

Bridge to Finish helps students get the services they need to stay in school and complete their education.


How It Works


There are 10 locations on community and technical college campuses throughout King County. Each location offers services that include one-time emergency grants, housing support, tax help, food pantries and financial coaching.

Student holding a book walks in an outdoor hallway at school

1. Proactive efforts on each campus aim to ensure students know that if they need help, it’s available—from emergency grants to food and more.

Student working from home on laptop

2. If a student needs help, the campus location is a one-stop place for them to get it. Support is offered at convenient hours and in multiple languages. During the pandemic, help was available through an online portal.

several boxes containing fresh fruits and vegetables and other food.

3. Help is provided swiftly—from food being available to direct deposits of emergency grants, we know help often times can’t wait, so we provide it as fast as we can.

Bridge to Finish is currently on 10 campuses throughout King County:

Map of Bridge to Finish locations throughout King County

Success to Date


6,939

students received support last year to allow them to continue their education

18,200

connections to resources and support were provided

+12%

increase in education persistence rate for students of color (+9% overall)

79%

of those supported were students of color

Racial breakdown of students served

Black/African American/Other African Asian/Asian-American White/Caucasian Hispanic/Latino American Indian/Alaskan Native Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander Multi-Racial/Other
20% 21% 21% 14% 0.20% 0.80% 23%
Student working from home on laptop

Meet Amy, a community college student who was helped through Bridge to Finish during the COVID-19 crisis.

Goals


  • Increase completion rates. We’re focusing on serving first generation students, students of color and working parents.
  • Influence public policy. With so many students struggling with hunger and homelessness, we are advocating for all community college students to have the financial resources they need to persist and complete. This includes access to food, housing and emergency grants.
  • Improve measurement. We’re working with the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges and have added a new measure to track completion rates of participants.


Bridge to Finish Honor Roll

With support from these generous donors, we are supporting college students so they can focus on finishing their education.

$1 Million +

  • The Ballmer Group
  • Nordstrom

$500,000 +

  • Brad Smith and Kathy Surace-Smith
  • ECMC Foundation
  • Microsoft

$100,000 – $499,999

  • Don Guthrie and Candace Tkachuck
  • John C. & Karyl K. Hughes Foundation
  • Jon and Bobbe Bridge
  • Jon Fine and Paula Selis
  • Laurie Minsk and Jerry Dunietz
  • Michael and Mary Kay Hallman
  • Premera Blue Cross
  • Rajesh Jha and Sudha Mishra
  • Raman Family Foundation
  • Robert L. and Mary Ann T.* Wiley
  • Sara Dickerman and Andrew Shuman
  • The Smith Family

$25,000 – $99,999

  • Bank of America Foundation
  • BECU
  • Bruce and Jeannie Nordstrom
  • Cassie and Chris Lenderman
  • Craig and Joan Wrench
  • David and Cathy Habib Foundation
  • Elizabeth Hebert and the Petunia Charitable Foundation
  • Kevin and Karen Smith
  • Symetra
  • Wells Fargo
  • Michele and Stan Rosen

$10,000 – $24,999

  • Adrian Hanauer and Khanh Tran
  • Alaska Airlines
  • Bradley Dillon
  • Chuck Nordhoff and Maribeth O’Connor
  • Dave and DeeAnn Burman
  • Doug and Barb Herrington
  • Gordon McHenry, Jr. and Dorina Calderon-McHenry
  • Greg and Anne Adams
  • Lucy and Herb Pruzan
  • Naria Santa Lucia
  • Pamela Smith Mentz and David Mentz
  • Ramamurthy and Meera Suresh
  • Safeco Insurance
  • UPS