White Center history




The mission of the White Center Community Development Association (White Center CDA) is to promote a vibrant neighborhood and high quality of life for White Center residents and stakeholders through the development of authentic leadership opportunities and community-led, neighborhood initiatives.


We accomplish this through our 3 lines of business: neighborhood revitalization, family development, and community building.




White Center is a proud, peaceful and civically engaged community strengthened by ethnic and economic diversity and served by a vibrant, safe neighborhood.






The White Center CDA is proud to live out these qualities and continually strive to do better as an organization-

for only as a strong and sustainable vehicle for change can the White Center community address holistic

community development issues to act collectively on their own behalf.





We value:

Treating everyone with dignity and acting with cultural competency by respecting the values, history and culture of our diverse communities.


Community change that is powered by the community and benefits current and future residents, especially those most vulnerable, now and into the future.


Community strengths that are found by tapping individual, family and community skills and knowledge.


Leadership development at all ages that supports multiple ways for residents to be engaged in community initiatives.


Strategic partnerships between public, private, and non-profit sectors and the community.


A learning agenda that strategically uses good data, listens to diverse perspectives, and reflects on past successes/challenges.


Connecting People and Place to Build Community


This simple yet multi-layered phrase describes the community development work of our organization in

creating a healthy White Center community for people of all incomes and ethnicities to thrive. Our community

is concerned not just about creating a better community today for our residents, but also for future generations

of White Center communities.


We believe in “connecting people and place to build community” (click here to read more about our tagline).


Achieving the Community Change We Want to See

Our fundamental theory of change is based upon a strong “Culture of Results”(click here to read more about

our results culture).



Today: A Trusted Neighborhood Intermediary

The White Center CDA has evolved since our formation in 2002 as resident-led, traditional community

development corporation (CDC). Today, the White Center CDA considers itself a unique, neighborhood

intermediary organization, led by the same values and principles as set by our founding board members, but

with a more holistic approach to creating a healthy community and new prosperity for White Center.


People look to the White Center CDA for leadership and vision to attract new investment, promote economic

self-sufficiency and strengthening White Center’s social and civic fabric. Partnership is a core value for the

White Center CDA because we believe that we must all come together to make White Center a great place to

live and do business.


To read more about our approach and definition of a “neighborhood intermediary” please click here.


Integrated Lines of Business

Through authentic Community Building, the White Center CDA is able to produce results in the two areas of

Family Development and Neighborhood Revitalization.


  • Family Development (“People” based strategies)


Our Goal: Families are economically stable, connected, and access culturally competent and effective services.


Our Family Development strategies involve attention to “whole family”, 2-generation approaches- from

the necessity of quality early learning care through the school year, to workforce and career advancement

opportunities for adults and asset building strategies for the entire family. We conduct our work in Family

Development primarily through partners like: the Puget Sound Educational Services District, White Center

Promise, Community Schools Collaboration, Port Jobs, YWCA at Greenbridge and many more!


We’ve implemented a groundbreaking school-based Family Connections cohort project that tracks

improvements in civic engagement, student achievement and family asset building outcomes. We believe that

the culturally diverse team of advocates (Iraqi, Somali, Latino, Vietnamese, Samoan, African American, and

Cambodian) has the skills to engage families in social networking, school readiness, early grade and family

support strategies. To learn more about the Family Connections project, please visit our Resources page.


Founded in 2008 with sponsorship from the White Center CDA, Got Green leads community organizing efforts,

public policy advocacy, and job training programs to ensure that the benefits of the new, green economy –green

jobs, access to healthy food, energy efficient homes, and public transit – are widely available to low income

communities of color. To visit Got Green, please see www.gotgreen.org.


To learn more about White Center Promise, please visit www.whitecenterpromise.org.


  • Neighborhood Revitalization (“Place” based strategies)


Our Goal: The physical neighborhood supports families through diverse types of affordable housing, safe and walkable

streets, vibrant and active businesses and improved public amenities.


Our Neighborhood Revitalization program prides itself on an equitable development platform- where

community ownership and leadership are as vital to sustainable development as sound engineering and

architecture. We seek to influence the physical environment through the development of permanently affordable

housing, economic development, open spaces and parks, community gathering places, food and fitness access

and good urban design. We also believe in the need for partnerships between law enforcement and community

to enhance public safety and support our thriving small business district by providing access to resources,

technical assistance, marketing and neighborhood planning.


To see our first project, Unity Village, in partnership with Capitol Hill Housing and DNDA, please visit capitolhillhousing.org/ourproperties/index.php


  • Community Building


Our community Building program represents a core competency for all of the White Center CDA staff. It is the

central thread that is absolutely necessary to achieve results for families and the neighborhood. Through base

building and development of a strong membership base, resident leadership and community mobilization, we

build year round community capacity to achieve our community vision.


FEEST is the Food Education Empowerment and Sustainability Team housed in 2011 at the White Center

CDA. We are a youth-run program that gathers around food to kick it in the kitchen, prepare a delicious and

healthy meal, and then eat all together family-style while learning more about food in our communities. At the

end of every month, we throw Community Potlucks where people of all ages are invited to share and dialogue

with us. Our blog entries are written by FEEST leaders and feature photography by the wonderful youth and

staff. Please visit FEEST at http://feestseattle.wordpress.com/


To become a Member of the White Center CDA, please visit our Resources page. To read our White Center

Neighborhood Action Plan, please also visit our Resources page.


Our annual Community Summit is our signature community engagement event that brings diverse residents

together to celebrate accomplishment and plan for the future. It is the ultimate accountability mechanism for our

organization. To view the latest Summit report, please visit our Resources page.