Our History

On Jan. 1, 2014, Thrive Washington (formerly Thrive by Five Washington) merged with the Foundation for Early Learning, forming a stronger public-private partnership to better serve Washington’s youngest children and their families. Together, we are a deeply experienced, effective and sustainable statewide organization with a unified vision.

Over the past decade, Thrive has been a leader in creating Washington’s high-quality early learning system and combining public and private dollars to make it happen; the Foundation for Early Learning was at the forefront of developing geographic, demographic and content-based alliances to develop and implement projects that serve families and their young children.


Major Milestones

1998 Gov. Locke appoints First Lady Mona Locke and Melinda French Gates as co-chairs of the Commission on Early Learning
2000 Foundation for Early Learning (FEL) launches with the mission of school readiness for every child
2002 FEL releases Getting School Ready! publication to help families prepare children for kindergarten
2005 FEL and partners issue “Kids Matter,” a framework for building a state early learning system

Gov. Gregoire begins Washington Learns to create a plan for a world-class, seamless education system that starts at birth

2006 As a result of Washington Learns, the state Legislature creates country’s first cabinet-level Dept. of Early Learning (DEL). Government, business and philanthropic leaders also create Thrive by Five Washington (Thrive) as the state’s public-private partnership for early learning and primary partner to DEL
2007 Libraries statewide form Early Learning Public Library Partnership and seek FEL’s help to have a stronger voice and presence in early learning
2009 Thrive pilots state’s quality rating and improvement system for licensed child care (Early Achievers now resides with DEL)

Thrive, DEL and Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) formally create the Early Learning Partnership to help align early learning and K-12

Thrive, DEL and OSPI sponsor state’s first Starting Strong Institute, bringing together early learning professionals and K-3 teachers

2010 Thrive, DEL and OSPI co-lead the creation of the state’s 10-year Early Learning Plan and redefine early learning in the state as birth through 3rd grade

State Legislature creates Home Visiting Services Account to leverage public and private investments and provide for access to home visiting, especially to families living in the most vulnerable situations. DEL to oversee; Thrive to administer account and raise private funds

Thrive begins annual funding of 10 Early Learning Regional Coalitions to help coordinate and build local, regional and state early learning efforts

Native American community seeks a stronger voice in early learning and works in partnership with FEL to create and fund the First Peoples, First Steps Alliance

2011 Thrive launches “Love. Talk. Play.” – a campaign that works in communities to support families of babies and toddlers as their children’s first and most important teachers
2012 Thrive, DEL and OSPI co-lead revision of the state’s Early Learning Development Guidelines for children birth to age 8
2013 Thrive and stakeholders release a Racial Equity Theory of Change, a plan to ensure we eliminate the opportunity gap as we implement the state Early Learning Plan
2014 Foundation for Early Learning merges with Thrive by Five Washington
2015 Organization renamed Thrive Washington