History & Mission

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Humble Beginnings

KWA was founded in 1972 as a social club for Korean women in Tacoma, Washington by Kim Nam Hui, the Korean wife of an American serviceman. Kim and other immigrant ladies came together to share meals and encourage one another. As they gathered they shared memories of Korea and their hopes for the future in their new home, America. The members were resourceful, first raising funds for the organization selling favorite Korean foods such as kimchi and rice cakes to Korean wives of servicemen at Fort Lewis Army and McChord Air Force Bases. Building connections in the community, KWA members began to assist ladies with transportation needs, translation services and to support women suffering from domestic violence.

Helping Korean Women Acclimate To America

In 1979, these enterprising Korean women founded the Korean Women’s Association of Washington State (KWA), a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, with the vision of empowering Korean women to not only adapt, but thrive as members of the Western Washington community.

Expanding to Serve People from All Nationalities

In the 1980s, the association expanded to meet the critical needs of Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants and refugees. KWA was soon recognized for having a unique ability in helping needy individuals whose dreams were thwarted by language and cultural barriers. KWA’s gift of cross-cultural compassion grew to touch the lives of all nationalities in Western Washington, with special emphasis in serving the poor, the elderly and the disabled.

Today, KWA offers a broad array of coordinated, multi-cultural services to anyone in need in Pierce, King, Snohomish, Thurston, Lewis, Mason, Clallam, Jefferson, Grays Harbor, Cowlitz, or Pacific counties.

One Of The Largest Social Service Agencies In The State

What started in 1972 as a grass-roots effort to assist Korean women acclimating to American culture has grown into one of the largest social service agencies in the state that services 150,000 clients in 11 Washington counties – regardless of race or ethnic background.



KWA provides multi-cultural human services through education, socialization, advocacy and support


We are the leader in serving multi-cultural communities, making a difference in people’s lives


  • Honesty
  • Serving People
  • Excellence in All We Do

Learn about the Awards and Accomplishments of KWA: