Woody Allen famously said “80 percent of success is showing up.” At the Raikes Foundation, Jeff and Tricia have defined showing up as thinking big, rolling up your sleeves, and creating positive change for young people. The size of the initial action is not as important as the long-term effect it creates. Jeff and Tricia have proven that showing up can positively impact thousands of lives.
On November 20, Jeff and Tricia Raikes will be honored for their commitment to showing up as this year’s recipients of the YMCA of Greater Seattle’s A.K. Guy Award. The award is presented annually to an individual, couple or family in recognition of outstanding volunteer service and dedication to social responsibility. In its thirty-second year, the award honors the legacy of the late Albert K. Guy, a Seattle native who was a dedicated volunteer and civic leader.
I first met Jeff and Tricia in 2007 when I interviewed to become the Raikes Foundation’s founding executive director. I was struck by Jeff and Tricia’s vision for community service combined with their inspiring, action-oriented approach to solving big problems. It is a one-two punch for creating long-term, sustainable impact by transforming the systems that serve young people. This philosophy has grounded our work as the foundation has grown and evolved over the years and spans Jeff and Tricia’s personal engagement in volunteer work, board service and philanthropy, big and small.
While recognition isn’t a big motivator for Jeff and Tricia, the A.K. Guy Award has special meaning for them because of the legacy of past recipients. Jeff and Tricia are humbled to be recognized alongside civic leaders such as Matt Griffin and Evelyne Rozner, Martha Choe, Colleen Willoughby, and Bill Gates Sr.
The award also has special meaning given the Raikes Foundation’s long-standing partnership with the YMCA. Like Jeff and Tricia, the Y combines a powerful vision with an action-orientation to empower and engage youth. The Y was one of our first partners when we launched the Youth Program Quality Initiative, which is focused on strengthening the quality of after-school programs across Washington. We partnered with the Y because they are a proven leader in program quality, championing quality practice across their organization by scaling assessment, coaching and training across their programs. Through this work, they’ve found innovative strategies to integrate youth voice into their programs, create avenues for young people to showcase their progress and ground programs with clear learning goals. The results are more engaging programs for kids, including programs designed specifically to instill an ethic of service and volunteerism.
As the Raikes Foundation’s founding executive director, I am proud and excited to celebrate Jeff and Tricia’s inspiring example and the lasting impact they have created in our community.
We hope you’ll join us next week at the A.K. Guy Award luncheon at the Sheraton Seattle to help honor Jeff and Tricia and come away inspired to take an action, big or small, to empower a young person in your life.