Decades of History

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Humble Beginnings

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.

From those humble beginnings that included a single part-time employee in a 500 square-foot office, KWA now has more than 1,200 employees with offices in 11 counties in Washington State.

For more information, watch this documentary on our history and services here.



KWA provides multi-cultural, multi-lingual human services, regardless of race or ethnic background, to diverse communities through education, socialization, advocacy and support.


KWA strives to be a leader in serving multi-cultural, multi-lingual communities, making a difference in people’s lives


  • Honesty
  • Serving People
  • Excellence in All We Do

Learn about the Awards and Accomplishments of KWA: