In the News

Opening doors for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs

Gary Rubens, WSOS Board member and Seattle angel investor, and his wife, Jennifer, have committed an additional $10 million to advance the WSOS mission and support Opportunity Scholars! 

This funding will help diversify the workforce in Washington state, building pathways for talented students from communities who have largely been left out—women, first-generation students and people of color.  As nearly seven in ten of Opportunity Scholars identify as students of color and two-thirds of our current Scholars identify as first generation, this funding will help WSOS graduates close gender and race/ethnicity gaps in STEM, health care and the trades.

A diverse talent pool is especially important as Washington state moves toward a post-pandemic economy. A shortage of qualified talent threatens our state’s ability to rebound and grow, but Opportunity Scholars are graduating on-time with less debt than their peers. Our Baccalaureate Scholars are earning more than twice what their families did at the time of application within five years of graduating. This, along with their high-demand credentials allow them to find high wage careers in Washington, helping our state find qualified talent and grow our economy. 

Gary Rubens headshot
Gary Rubens

“As someone who was forced to postpone my own college experience due to cost, I understand the barriers facing many of our students,” he said. “I believe in the WSOS model because it gets at one of the root causes of inequity through the opportunity of education. Through WSOS we can disrupt the cycle of poverty, open doors for tomorrow’s entrepreneurs and build the workforce our economy needs.” 

The importance of scholarships and education is a passion for Rubens who had to turn down Washington State University (WSU) in 1981 because his family didn’t have money for tuition. But now he is finally in a position to pursue a credential. So he applied again to WSU at 54 years old, this time applying to the psychology program. 

We are so thankful for Gary and Jennifer’s generous support. As a Seattle philanthropist and WSOS Board member, Gary is continually investing time and resources to support students in Washington state. Learn more about him on his website or follow him on LinkedIn