SEATTLE, Sept. 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, YouthCare, the Seattle-based nonprofit focused on ending youth homelessness, announces its engagement of Colleen Echohawk as Interim Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Echohawk enters the role with a longstanding reputation for her homeless advocacy work, specifically among Native American and Alaska Native people.
"Colleen's leadership and advocacy on behalf of those experiencing homelessness directly aligns with YouthCare's mission," said Karen Jones, Chair of YouthCare's Board of Directors. "We are thrilled to have her experience, vision, and collaborative approach leading our agency during a time of great interest in solving youth homelessness."
In the Interim CEO role, Echohawk will work in close partnership with the board of directors, lead a committed staff, and further facilitate YouthCare's strategic direction and programming in support of youth experiencing homelessness. YouthCare offers more than 19 programs focused on housing, education and employment, wellness, and community. As an Indigenous woman, executive leader, Colleen holds the lived experience and vision in continuing YouthCare's mission to be an inclusive advocate for all young people.
"My family instilled in me the lesson that as human beings, we are responsible for one another," said Echohawk. "Taking this position to further YouthCare's efforts in building stronger futures for our youth is an honor, and I am fortunate to support this important and critical work in our community."
Prior to this role, Echohawk served as Executive Director of Chief Seattle Club. She is the founder of the Coalition to End Urban Indigenous Homelessness, a board trustee for the Seattle Foundation, a co-founder of Headwater People Consulting and a board member for KUOW Public Radio. Echohawk is an enrolled member of Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake. Earlier this year, she also made a passionate run for Mayor of Seattle, with a key aspect of her candidacy being the "People First Platform," focusing on issues like police reform, climate justice and housing.
"For a long time, I have admired Colleen's work in the community, and I find her to be an incredible fit for helping lead YouthCare during this transitional phase," said Tod Leiweke, part-owner, president and CEO of the Seattle Kraken. "As we launch our One Roof Foundation, which will drive awareness and funds to YouthCare, we are excited to work alongside Colleen."
YouthCare will continue its search for a permanent CEO and more details about the executive
search process will appear on the organization's website as new information becomes available.
Founded in 1974, YouthCare was one of the first shelters to serve runaway and homeless youth on the West Coast. Since then, YouthCare has expanded to offer 19 programs at 16 locations serving more than 1,500 youth every year. Through a comprehensive range of services including outreach, prevention, shelter, housing, education, and employment training, YouthCare ensures that young people experiencing homelessness have the hope, skills, and self-confidence needed to thrive. For more information, visit the website at https://youthcare.org/ or follow along on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.