Dawn Rains, with 14 years at Treehouse under her belt, was appointed the Seattle-based organization’s new CEO earlier this month. She replaces Lisa Chin, who has held the position since 2020.
Rains has held leadership positions since joining the organization in 2009 as the director of development and marketing, and later serving as chief operating officer, chief policy and strategy officer, and executive vice president. Most recently, Rains served as Treehouse’s president, a role she took up last September.
“Dawn has served in nearly every leadership position in our organization and her care and attention have improved everything she has touched at Treehouse,” incoming board chair Sharmila Swenson said in a press release. “She has positioned Treehouse as a trusted partner to the child welfare and education systems and an effective advocate in changing them. No one is more prepared to lead Treehouse into the future.”
Treehouse was founded by social workers in 1988 and serves more than 6,000 young people in Washington state, focusing on educational support and helping transition-aged youth smoothly launch into independent adulthood.
“I am excited about our momentum and path ahead as we continue building on more than three decades of commitment, learning, and experience working with our young people,” Rains stated in a press release. “I look forward to partnering with the board, our incredible team, and our community to ensure that every young person who experiences foster care in Washington state has every opportunity to thrive and pursue their dreams.”
Rains has more than three decades of experience working in the nonprofit sector, including 14 years with the Seattle Repertory Theater, a nonprofit resident theater.
During her time at Treehouse, Rains led a team that increased donation-based revenue by 25% and developed and launched the organization’s Graduation Success program, which pairs high school students in foster care with educational specialists who help them map out their plan for high school and beyond, tap into academic support and overcome barriers to education. She’s steered the nonprofit’s organizational strategy, policy, advocacy and systems-change work through the pandemic since becoming the executive vice president in 2020.
In addition to her work at Treehouse, Rains was appointed by Gov. Jay Inslee as an inaugural member of the Washington State Women’s Commission, and serves on the board of The IF Project, which brings together currently and formerly incarcerated people to collaborate with law enforcement entities toward the goal of reducing mass incarceration.
In announcing Rains’ appointment to the head of the organization, the board applauded outgoing CEO Lisa Chin for guiding the organization during the historically tumultuous times of the early COVID pandemic. Chin was appointed to the leadership role in March 2020.
“We are grateful to Lisa for her courageous and visionary leadership,” said Board Chair John Holt. “Lisa was the leader we needed during a very challenging time in our world and especially for children and youth experiencing foster care. We are grateful for all she has done to advance our mission.”
Correction: This article was updated with the correct spelling of former Treehouse CEO Lisa Chin’s last name.