Dear Friends and Supporters,

On Behalf of YouthCare’s Board of Directors and staff team, I am excited to reach you with an exciting agency update.

Since September 2021, Interim CEO Colleen Echohawk has been leading the agency’s major priorities while overseeing the leadership of the organization. We are deeply grateful for her wisdom, support, and direction. On behalf of the Board, I thank her for her contributions and the energy she has given to our mission.

Earlier this year, YouthCare engaged in an extensive effort to identify a new leader. Our CEO search committee worked with national search firm Kittleman and Associates and engaged community leaders and staff in defining the needs of our agency, our staff, and the young people we serve. More than 50 individuals applied, with seven candidates from across the country engaging in a rigorous interview process.

Through the interview process, we heard about a new and stirring vision for YouthCare. We heard and saw someone who has a deep passion for the mission of the organization, a steady commitment to staff, and a wealth of experience to lead YouthCare into the future. We heard inspiration and ideas and we knew we had found our next leader.

YouthCare’s Board of Directors has unanimously voted to promote Chief Program Officer Degale Cooper to be YouthCare’s Chief Executive Officer.

Picture of Degale smiling
Photo by Erin York

Degale has over 30 years of experience meeting the needs of children and families in the Puget Sound region. Since 2018, Degale has served as YouthCare’s Chief Program Officer, overseeing a continuum of care for youth and young adults spanning 15 program locations through Seattle and King County. Prior to YouthCare, Degale has held leadership positions at the YWCA, Youth Eastside Services, Treehouse, and the Mockingbird Society.

Degale brings a new vision for YouthCare. Her steadfast belief in young people, accountability to staff and community, and strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion will help to steer and guide YouthCare into a strong future.

Degale will formally step into her new role as YouthCare’s CEO on June 1st, at which time our Interim CEO Colleen Echohawk will transition to serve on our Board of Directors.

We are all energized by this exciting new chapter for the agency and the youth we serve! Please join me in congratulating Degale for reaching this important and well-earned milestone of leadership.

Thank you for your firm belief in our young people. We are grateful for your continued partnership as we move forward in our shared vision to end youth homelessness.


Ken Robertson
YouthCare Board of Directors Chair

Ken Robertson, Vice Chair