Bellevue, Washington

  • Community name: Bellevue
  • Website:
  • Population: 123,400
  • Graduation rate: 91.0%
  • Youth poverty rate: 5.1%


Bellevue, a six-time 100 Best winner, continues to earn a spot on the list for its ability to create opportunities for youth through cross-sector collaborations withprivate businesses, government, and community organizations. The Bellevue Schools Foundation, a partnership among business, community leaders, parents and education entities, helps students overcome barriers to asuccessful education. Specifically, the program raises money to develop enhanced curriculum material, purchase books and provide training opportunities for teachers. Another organization, the Eastside Pathways Initiative, brings together representatives from the school district, city, United Way, nonprofits and the community to identify where children and families need support, and connects them with the appropriate services.

Bellevue also has a Big Picture School, which is an academic program that develops a learning plan based on the interests of each student. The students’ plans include relevant people and places in their lives, and also helps assess their abilities based on their work quality.

Community Programs

  • Bellevue Schools Foundation is a partnership among business, community leaders, parents and education communities that helps fund the best possible learning opportunities to help students overcome barriers to a successful education.
  • The school district, city, United Way, nonprofits, faith community and individuals comprise the Eastside Pathways Initiative, which provides the framework to sustain an ongoing community-wide effort to make a measurable difference for youth.
  • The Bellevue Big Picture School is a secondary school nationally recognized by the Big Picture Learning Network, which uses five guiding principles to create the school’s foundation and framework—personalization, adult-world connection, common intellectual mission, supportive partnerships, and shared leadership and responsibility.
  • The Boys & Girls Club of Bellevue aims to enable all young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens using a safe, fun environment where adults respect and listen to youth.
  • Teen Closet, a clothing bank program operated by Bellevue Youth Link and ran by teen volunteers, provides low-income youth increased access to clothing, food and counseling services.

Youth Voices

“Whether it was volunteering at various events like Sounders games and backpack drives or participating in Keystone Club with other teens from around the community, Ground Zero Teen Center has prepared me for the realities of the world beyond school life.”


“Starting off in the Bellevue Youth Link program and other various volunteer programs since middle school have helped me mature faster, and also learn how to be a leader.”