Our Story 


The College Success Foundation (CSF) was established in the spring of 2000 by Bob Craves and Ann Ramsay-Jenkins to provide college scholarships and mentoring to low-income, high-potential students. The foundation evolved from former Washington State Governor Gary Locke’s 2020 Commission of the Future of Post-Secondary Education, which recommended the establishment of an independent, non-profit organization to build and sustain public understanding of the need for higher levels of educational attainment and lifelong learning.

In 2010 we celebrated our 10-year anniversary and our proven model of success–inspiring underserved, low-income students to finish high school and providing the unique integrated system of supports and scholarships they need to graduate college and succeed in life.  Over time the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Costco Wholesale have been generous supporters, believing in the vision of the CSF co-founders to increase college access and success for underserved students. These supporters have backed their belief with scholarship and funding commitments over time. 

CSF was originally founded as the Washington Education Foundation, but changed its name in 2006 to better align with its mission. In 2006 Deborah J. Wilds, Ph.D., became chief operating officer. In the fall of 2013 Bob and Ann retired from day-to-day operations while continuing to serve on the Board of Directors.  In September 2013 Yolanda Watson Spiva, Ph.D., began as the foundation's president and CEO. In January 2014 Deborah retired from the College Success Foundation. On Nov. 5, 2014, Bob sadly passed away. Please read more about Bob's legacy here.

We are headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, near Seattle.  In 2007 the College Success Foundation – District of Columbia opened to serve deserving young people in the poorest wards of the city.  In 2009 we opened a branch office in Tacoma, Washington.  In 2014 we began operations in Spokane, Washington.

Over the past 17 years, CSF has been a leader in improving college access for thousands of underserved, low-income students on both coasts. 

Our story, while only 17 years old, has many milestones. We invite you to view our  journey and learn where we have been.