For 50 years, Centerstone has provided essential human services to meet the needs of Seattle’s poor. Centerstone, formerly CAMP, is one of Washington’s oldest and most respected community organizations founded in the era of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. In 1979, we joined the Washington State Community Action Program, a network of 31 agencies in 39 counties that has partnered together to improve the lives of low-income people throughout the state. Today Centerstone’s programs and services help over 20,000 people a year through our food bank, energy assistance program, housing assistance program, and financial education program.
Centerstone has a rich history serving the diverse populations that live in the city of Seattle. Our clients span dozens of ethnicities and include a large segment of refugees and immigrants, as well as the elderly and disabled. We focus on the poorest individuals and families that are struggling to survive, most of whom live at 150% of federal poverty level and below. Our programs provide immediate financial relief to our clients, with special attention given to emergency situations such as power shutoff and eviction.
We are constantly growing and evolving as an organization to ensure our programs and services meet the needs of the community. Periodically we complete a city-wide Community Needs Assessment survey to measure the effectiveness of our program offerings and assess future needs. These survey results helped us to align our strategic plan to the services most valued by the residents of Seattle. At the same time, we work closely with the Washington State Community Action Partnership to identify statewide issues as well as social and economic trends so that we can respond to the most critical issues impacting the poor.
|2014:||Centerstone celebrates its 50-year anniversary of fighting poverty and creating opportunity for people throughout Seattle.|
|2012:||CAMP changed its name to Centerstone, a name that embraces its history in the community and demonstrates how the organization supports people of all cultures access help through food, housing assistance, energy assistance, and education.|
|2009 – 2011:||The organization initiated a three-year Work Plan to broaden CAMP’s mission, strengthen funding, and to provide important new programs to the Central Area and beyond.|
|1990 – 2008:||CAMP continued to meet the basic needs of the poor, focusing on advocacy and programs to help better the community.|
|1980 – 1990:||CAMP’s programs expanded to address the growing problem of gang violence related to the spread of drug trafficking. Still committed to fighting poverty, CAMP developed activities such as the home energy assistance program, homelessness support, and various projects to aid self-help and economic development.|
|1979:||CAMP joined the Washington State Community Action Program, a statewide organization of 31 agencies in 39 counties to provide vital human services to low-income individuals, families and those in need.|
|1974 – 1978:||CAMP responded to the shift in the African American population from the Central District into the Rainier Valley by opening an annex and extending its services into Southeast Seattle.|
|1971 – 1973:||The Federal government designated the Model City Program and Concentrated Employment Program (CEP) as the primary vehicles for combating inner-city poverty. CAMP, headquartered in a former firehouse across the street from the Seattle Model City Program, became deeply involved in these programs.|
|1966 – 1970:||CAMP flourished during the Seattle Civil Rights Movement. The institution grew to over 300 employees in the summer of 1967 with hundreds of volunteers. CAMP launched over 25 pioneering community service initiatives including an array of employment and training programs for the poor. Through its programs CAMP developed a broad network of cooperative community groups.|
|1965:||The first three staff members were hired.|
|1964:||Central Area Motivation Program (CAMP) was founded in 1964 as part of the first generation of community-inspired organizations funded by the Economic Opportunity Act and holds the distinction of being the oldest surviving independent agency launched in that era.|