In September 2017, Seattle Public Schools partnered with the City to launch an elective class-Kingmakers of Seattle-at four Levy-funded schools that focuses on positive racial identity development, mentoring and leadership skills.

Given the data on the achievement of students of color, particularly Black males, Kingmakers provides support and systemic resources for students but also strategically focuses on shifting mindsets, strengthening the capacities of adults, understanding the conditions that must be in place-including the culture and practices that should be addressed-to effectively reach and teach Black males.

Goal: The goal of Kingmakers is to work across systems to provide culturally relevant curriculum and professional development at four schools and, ultimately, spread access to culturally relevant curriculum for Black males districtwide.

Key partners: Seattle Public Schools, Oakland Unified School District, Casey Family Programs.


In 2015, more than 100 youth and young adults who attended the Mayor's Youth Summit identified mentoring as a priority need. In 2016, LGBTQ and homeless participants in a youth of color needs assessment commissioned by the City also cited mentoring as a priority need-with specific emphasis on mentors who are reflective racially, culturally and through lived experiences. Listening sessions conducted by the City with mentoring agencies found disproportionate gaps in mentoring for young Black males in the Greater Seattle area.

In January 2018, during National Mentoring Month, Mayor Jenny Durkan and Susan Taylor, President/CEO of the National CARES Mentoring Movement, launched the Our Best mentor recruitment campaign to raise awareness around the need to close mentoring gaps for young Black men and boys.

Goal: The goal of the Our Best mentor recruitment campaign is to double the Black male mentor pipeline by 2019.

Key partners: Seattle CARES Mentoring Movement, Treehouse, 4C Coalition, Seattle Public Schools, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Puget Sound, Mentoring is a M.U.S.T., and more.