Benxi
123 E. 96th St.
Tacoma, WA 98445
253.535.4202
888.508.2780
Our History
“It’s like how trees grow. You have to have a root to begin with, and the roots have to be strong to make a beautiful tree. That’s what KWA is all about.”  OK Sun Wilson, Founding Member of KWA (Read more)

In the early 1970s, Kim Nam Hui, the Korean wife of an American serviceman, gathered together other Korean wives to share meals and cultural connections.

As time went on, the group had its first fundraiser  – selling favorite Korean foods to other immigrants living at Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base.

As their numbers grew and they were able to raise more funds, the Korean women started providing more support to immigrants.  These services included providing transportation and translation services, as well as support to the women in domestic violence situations.

Known for their unique ability in helping those whose dreams were thwarted by language and cultural barriers, word of KWA’s cross-cultural compassion spread quickly. The organization grew exponentially through the 70s, officially calling itself the Korean Women’s Association (KWA).  KWA received its non-profit status and first grant from Washington State in 1979. The following year, services were expanded to include Asian and Pacific Islander immigrants and refugees.

Milestones

  • 1972   Group is gathering by Kim Nam Hui – beginning of KWA.
  • 1979   Formed and Registered as a non-profit organization 501-c-3 community-based agency.
  • 1990   KWA changed name from Tacoma Korean Women’s Association to Korean Women’s Association of Washington State.
  • 1992   Approved to purchase a 2.6 acres land at 125 East 96th St. Tacoma – future home of KWA’s first headquarters
  • 1996   Awarded $2.2 million from HUD for elderly housing – Pacific Villa Housing Development Council.
  • 1997   25th Year Celebration of the KWA. Started the Naturalization Program.
  • 1998   Opened the Pacific Villa – April 30, 1998 with 43 tenants.
  • 2001   Opened offices in Federal Way, Shelton and Centralia.
  • 2006   Opened Orchard Project located in Roy, WA. – 5 section 8 low-income houses – 3 bedroom/2-car garages with yard, single houses.
  • 2007   International Place Apartments opened –  55 one-bedroom low-income, senior housing units.
  • 2009   Olympus Hotel opened for Low-income, multi-family housing – 49 units.
  • 2010   Open House for KWA Federal Way 62 unit Senior City Apartment.
  • 2017   Celebrated 45th Anniversary.
  • 2018   Took over management of Portland Avenue Community Center.