Friends of the Children–Seattle is a chapter of a nationwide organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of generational poverty through salaried, professional mentoring. The national organization was founded in 1993. Our chapter was founded in Seattle, Wash., in 2000. Learn how our model works and about our chapter history.
Friends of the Children–Seattle is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit. EIN: 91-2047030
Impacting generational change by empowering youth who are facing the greatest obstacles through relationships with professional mentors – 12+ years, no matter what.
Our values guide us to achieve our mission. Each value applies not only to our youth, Friends and program teams, but also applies to all Friends of the Children employees, volunteers and partners. We use our values to make informed decisions; to hire, coach, manage; and most importantly, we use our values to change the way the world treats and views the youth and families we serve.
Put Children First
We intentionally serve youth who are facing the greatest obstacles. To help our youth discover their limitless potential, we foster their internal resiliency. We listen to our youth and base decisions on each youth’s needs and dreams. We prioritize self-care so that we bring our best selves to our work and focus on our youth.
Build Relationships on Love
We nurture long-term relationships from a foundation of love, acceptance and culturally-informed practice. We don’t give up easily and take a no matter what approach to our work. We commit for the long-term. We intentionally develop collaborative relationships over time with trust, empathy and healthy communication. We believe that we build community through one-on-one connections that are authentic, respectful and meaningful.
Commit to Empowerment
We leverage personal strengths to take ownership of our futures. We build relationships within the communities of our youth and families to strengthen social networks and provide bridges to new opportunities. We consistently inspire possibility through empathy, hard work and fun. We model all of this for our youth, families and each other.
Pursue Goals Relentlessly
We celebrate all achievements, big and small. We are disciplined in our commitment to goals, while innovative in how we reach them. We believe that the definition of success requires intentional reflection and adjustment over time. We work together and hold ourselves accountable with data to achieve short and long-term outcomes.
We acknowledge the historical and present injustices impacting marginalized communities. We demand equity from ourselves and from our community. We insist that all people have the necessary support to achieve all of their hopes and dreams. We amplify the voices of our children, families and communities. We bring together different experiences, skills and backgrounds to provide opportunities to overcome personal, systemic and institutional barriers.
At the cusp of retiring from their positions at Microsoft, Sharon Maghie and Mike Murray were keeping an ear out for their next project. Over the years, they built a strong friendship deeply rooted in a shared love of family, faith and the pursuit of education. They knew they wanted to do something that had an impact on the community and allowed them to continue to surround themselves with smart, energetic people.
Through mutual friends, Sharon and Mike were connected to Duncan Campbell, the founder of the national chapter of Friends of the Children in Portland. They were intrigued by the model of a salaried professional mentor. After a successful career at Microsoft, they wanted to make sure the program was rooted in true data before entertaining the idea of starting a chapter in Seattle. It was during that meeting with Duncan when they were introduced to a professional mentor or Friend who had been with the Portland chapter for over three years. Sharon asked the Friend how he envisioned his future with the organization, and he responded, “I’ll be here until the end. These are my boys, and I want to see them graduate.”
That was it for Sharon and Mike. They shifted from the question “Will we start a Seattle chapter?” to “How can we not start a Seattle chapter?”
The most important thing to Mike and Sharon has always been finding the right people to be professional mentors; people who are as relentless and dedicated as they are to changing the lives of youth in Seattle and breaking the generational cycle of poverty. Even though it’s been over 15 years, both Sharon and Mike continue to stay actively involved with Friends of the Children. “We are tremendously proud of how far Friends of the Children has come,” Sharon said. “There were lessons learned along the way, and just when we thought we hit a roadblock, the staff persevered. We couldn’t ask for more than that, and I look forward to the next 15 years!”
Friends of the Children was established in 1993 by entrepreneur Duncan Campbell and his wife, Cindy Campbell, in Portland, Ore. The Campbells purchased a school building in the same Northeast Portland neighborhood where Duncan experienced a challenging childhood. After finding business success, Duncan wanted to help kids who grew up in an environment like his. In 1992, the Campbell Institute for Children, conducted extensive research to determine the most effective program model to help young children overcome adversity and realize their inherent resilience and potential. The research clearly indicated that the strongest protective factor a child can have is a long-term, nurturing relationship with a consistent and caring adult.
Friends of the Children began with just three salaried, professional mentors called Friends and 24 children. Friends of the Children has grown to employ hundreds of Friends who serve thousands of children across the nation. You can view the full list of locations on our national website.