Welcoming Brianna Jackson

Posted on February 20, 2020

Brianna Jackson joins SFF after 20 years in the field of early learning and youth development. She has served in a number of leadership roles in the Greater Seattle community. Her passion for relationship building and community engagement has been the foundation for her approach to her work. Brianna recognizes the power in communities coming together to make change and what can happen when community is put first. Her energy for working with, and for, children and families arose at an early age as she began to understand that while all communities deserve to thrive, not all communities were given the opportunity. Brianna strongly believes that in creating solutions for the socio-economic issues of our time, we need to include those most impacted.

Previous to joining the SFF, Brianna served for the past six years as the Executive Director of Launch, a community-based nonprofit organization providing equitable early learning and expanded learning opportunities for children three to twelve years of age in the Seattle area. At Launch, she developed close ties with the business community, foundations, and individual donors to advance their mission. She worked hard to include all voices in order to communicate and execute an organizational vision. Brianna also has extensive experience working collaboratively with various levels of government and partnering with numerous nonprofits to develop enduring, positive relationships and connect people from diverse backgrounds while building community consensus.

She is a proud Seattle native and mom of two beautiful children, who keep her motivated to continue to use her voice to advocate for Washington’s children and families. Brianna lives with her husband and kids in Renton and loves to spend time with family, traveling and enjoying all the beautiful things Washington has to offer.

Q&A with Brianna

Why did you choose education for your professional pursuits?

I grew up in a family where the values of compassion, kindness and service were embedded into how we operated. I had incredible examples of what public service looks like from members of family who were involved in public health, education, community organizing, etc. and I knew early on that I wanted to make a difference in my community and give back to what had given me so much. And while I was not sure how that was going to manifest itself; when I turned 18 years old, I had the opportunity to work for Launch during the summer as a teacher. From that moment on I was hooked. During that first summer, I was able to encounter children and families that I had a direct connection with and that went beyond transactional, it was transformational.

I began to see more clearly the stark differences between children and the support they received or did not receive, what access to resources they had or did not have and how they were treated in our systems based on their zip code. I decided that in order to make change you have to be willing to be a part of working within the community to develop solutions, foster collaboration and own the responsibility that your privilege requires to be a part of improving outcomes for children and families.

Education for me was such a natural pathway to be a part of the change I mentioned above. Everyday children and families engage with systems (schools, after school services, early learning providers, etc.) that need to put them first and have to be willing to adjust to fit their needs. This requires bravery, this requires confronting the idea that many of our systems are not built for most children. And yet, I saw such a vibrant community in Seattle trying and being successful in creating spaces for our children to thrive. I have been so proud to have been part of that work for so many years.

How will this role build off of your tenure and accomplishments in education equity?

Joining the team at Stolte Family Foundation as the Education Program Officer gives me such a wonderful opportunity to continue to follow my passion of exploring how we positively improve the quality of life for children and families. Throughout my career, I have had the privilege to work collaboratively with others in this community to leverage our voices to address the inequities that affect the children in our city and state. I have built relationships that I can bring to SFF to help us to continue to look at and address those inequities through work with community-based providers, other funders, networks and groups that want to see a different future for our children, especially our black and brown children that are continuously left out from opportunity.

What are you looking forward to most in your work with SFF?

I have been in direct service for over twenty years and in that time, I have seen firsthand the challenges we face in education in Washington state. I have been fortunate to be a part of such a rich community working together for the good of our children. I look forward to broadening that community and utilizing my direct service experience to build trusted relationships with SFF’s grantee partners. I am excited to grow in my own professional learning/understanding of philanthropy, and be a thought-partner in continually assessing ways to strengthen the foundation’s education strategy.

How do you spend your non-work hours?

My family and I love to get up and go! I love to spend time outdoors, try new foods, explore new parts of my city and state I have never seen before. That being said, I also absolutely love lazy days on the couch reading a new book or catching a new movie/series on Netflix. As a mom of two, any quiet time I can get feels like a guilty pleasure:)