Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Provides Additional $500,000 for Scholarships

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently contributed an additional $500,000 to promote student retention at Evergreen. This follows a $3 million multi-year grant awarded to The Evergreen State College Foundation in 2011.

The combined contributions—including funding for endowed scholarships to support low-income students at risk of dropping out of college—comprise the largest-ever grant to Evergreen’s Foundation.

Evergreen students Nettie Gould and Shane Whitaker smile while sitting outside on steps

Evergreen students Nettie Gould and Shane Whitaker received scholarships from endowments that benefited from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation matching funds. Photo by Shauna Bittle '98.

Half of the original $3 million grant was used as a dollar-for-dollar matching fund to encourage new contributions to scholarships for at-risk students. The additional $500,000 will be used for the same purpose. The 2011 grant also dedicated $250,000 to funding creative approaches to academic and career advising that facilitate student retention and graduation. The remainder has been targeted at increasing Evergreen’s capacity to attract new benefactors who will support scholarships and other critical needs in the years to come.

To date, Evergreen’s Foundation has matched nearly all of the $1.5 million originally allocated for scholarships by securing gifts from generous donors and is now working on securing matches for the additional $500,000. Including the matching contributions from other donors, the Gates Foundation will have provided or leveraged a total of $5.5 million to support Evergreen student success.

“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Evergreen share a commitment to college access and success, a commitment that is ever more critical for students and society,” explained Les Purce, president of The Evergreen State College. “This investment represents a vote of confidence in Evergreen's nationally recognized model for teaching and learning and its ongoing work to support students from the widest range of backgrounds in completing their degrees today, tomorrow and long into the future. The Gates Foundation is a mindful, deliberate investor in creating positive change in the world and we are delighted to partner with the foundation in this visionary effort.” If you’d like to know more or make a gift, call 360-867-6300 or email