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University of Washington initiatives receive investment from the Mark Torrance Foundation to support diversity, equity and inclusion

Balloon display from 2022 MOR admitted student event in central Washington Photo: Patricia Loera

Two University of Washington initiatives that support the recruitment and post-graduation success and impact of students from underrepresented backgrounds have received investments from the Mark Torrance Foundation (MTF) totaling $920,000.

The UW’s Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity (OMA&D) will receive $420,000 over two years to support its Multicultural Outreach and Recruitment initiative. This investment will allow OMA&D to increase the number of students the University connects with each year by 50% (or 500 students) and further expand access for American Indian/Alaska Native, first-generation, low-income and underrepresented students by expanding the current Student Ambassador program.

Vice President of OMA&D Rickey Hall explains, “This gift is about access to opportunity for students who might not otherwise have access to college. For underrepresented, first-generation or low-income students, flagship institutions like the UW do more to change their lives and impact their communities than other education pathways.”

This award will also help fund early outreach pipeline efforts for the communities OMA&D serves by allowing it to host affinity-based conferences for high schoolers, support transfer student programming, expand outreach events across Washington state and host events on the UW campus.

The investment will also allow OMA&D to create and hire an admissions counselor that will serve transfer students, which will allow close collaboration with diverse students and support recruitment from community colleges that serve the highest numbers of underrepresented minority students. “Our goal is to get students to really believe they belong here, and that they can be admitted to the UW,” says Hall.

The UW College of Education will receive $500,000 over two years to support its Diversify the Educator Workforce initiative, which is part of the College’s ongoing efforts to bolster the recruitment and retention of teachers of color in Washington state and beyond. The initiative aims to build a pipeline of diverse teacher candidates equipped with knowledge, tools and experience to provide equitable outcomes for all students in the classroom.

President Cauce has made it clear that the UW’s goal is to be the number one university in impact, particularly on equity and racial justice.

“President Cauce has made it clear that the UW’s goal is to be the number one university in impact, particularly on equity and racial justice,” shares Mia Tuan, dean of the College of Education. “This investment from the Mark Torrance Foundation supports our efforts to infuse and enliven that critical charge through our College’s context, which is about moving the needle on educational justice. We know that one important way to do that involves diversifying the educator workforce.”

Dean Tuan adds, “The foundation has been a friend of the College for many years and their trust in us means the world to me. They know that our work impacts lives and their dollars will be well-invested in supporting our incredible teacher candidates.”

To address the financial burden that aspiring teachers take on to enter the profession, the College of Education awards Diversify the Educator Workforce fellowships and provides intensive mentorship and innovative professional learning opportunities that support the retention and post-graduation impact of teacher candidates. The investment from the foundation will directly contribute to the College’s ability to support aspiring BIPOC educators.

“Classrooms with teachers that truly reflect the student population as well as engage, inform and encourage questions and exploration lead to healthy schools and better communities,” says Nakeya Isabell, a graduate student in the College’s Accelerated Certification for Teachers (U-ACT) program and ninth grade humanities teacher at the Why Not You Academy.

The Mark Torrance Foundation invests in people and organizations with the potential to strengthen communities locally and globally. Since 2003, MTF has invested more than $8 million in over 160 organizations in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. This gift is MTF’s first major investment supporting diversity, equity and inclusion at the UW. Mark Torrance, founder of MTF, is a member of the University of Washington Foundation Board and serves as an Ambassador for the College of Education.


To learn more and support OMA&D’s MOR initiative or the College of Education’s DEW initiative, you may connect with OMA&D’s Director of Communications Eric Moss at or the College of Education’s Assistant Dean for Advancement Jessica Norouzi at