Tacoma-Seattle Act Six Scholars


National data show that less than a third of all students from low-income families who start college ever graduate. The data are equally discouraging for students whose parents didn’t attend college and those from most underrepresented ethnic groups. But the statistics for Act Six scholars tell a much different story.

A Proven Model with Powerful Outcomes


scholars in 199 cadres from
7 cities trained for 17 colleges since 2002, with 614 graduates


students of color,
82% low-income


graduate within 6-years,
12 points higher than all students


return to their home communities, where
74% volunteer


On their college campuses and in the world beyond, Act Six scholars and graduates are creating a legacy of distinguished leadership, service and academic achievement:

  • 19 have served as student body presidents for their college, with an Act Six scholar serving as president on at least one Act Six campus for nine consecutive years
  • five have been named Fulbright scholars by the US State Department
  • two have earned national championships in athletics
  • hundreds have traveled and studied around the world
  • dozens have served in AmeriCorps, Teach For America, or Peace Corps after graduation
  • 125 have earned master’s degrees and 12 hold doctorates
  • over two-thirds have returned to live and serve in their home communities


When you think about moments of significant positive change that have happened in your community, you can usually point to a group of connected people who made it happen. Networks of effective leaders working together get things done. The problem is that those leadership networks don’t always look like or represent the full breadth of a community, and as a result, some groups tend to get left behind. For our communities to thrive in the future, we need diverse networks of homegrown leaders who love their home and are committed to building vibrant communities where everyone thrives.

It is precisely this kind of diverse, committed leadership network that Act Six is producing. After nearly two decades of Act Six, we are seeing the fruits of this fabric of leadership as graduates grow in their responsibility and influence for the good of their communities.

“Act Six was life changing for me. I never considered myself a leader before this scholarship. To say Act Six changed my life can hardly capture how I feel. Both my sister and I are Act Six graduates, so the program changed the trajectory of our family and the communities to which we belong."
Michelle Y. Bess 1
Michelle Y. Bess
Vice President of Talent and DEI, Opp Loans
Board Chair, Degrees of Change


Data-driven from its earliest days, Act Six rigorously evaluates its research-based program model and continually assess its impact. Explore some of the reports that measure and articulate the program’s impact.


Our program models are informed by a rigorous, literature-based theory of change developed by Act Six founder, Tim Herron, in his doctoral dissertation at University of Washington. His study found significant positive effects of the Act Six model when compared to a propensity-score matched comparison group.


In 2017 the National College Attainment Network (NCAN) authored a case study on Act Six, spotlighting Act Six’s high college completion rates while examining key components of the program’s unique model.


In 2007, Wilder Research conducted a formal evaluation of the early Act Six program at Whitworth University, as the first cadre was preparing to graduate. The year-long project resulted in a 220-page report identifying multiple positive effects.

L. Denice Randle

Upon graduating from Whitworth University as an Act Six scholar, L. Denice Randle committed herself to fighting for educational equity. Since then, she's charted a career in education that uniquely equipped her for her current role as executive director at Peace Community Center, a nonprofit…

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Life-Changing Opportunity

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