The Opportunity Council is a private, non-profit Community Action Agency serving homeless and low-income families and individuals. Our mission is to help people improve their lives through education, support, and direct assistance while advocating for just and equitable communities.

For over 50 years we have offered a broad scope of services that range from addressing immediate and crisis-oriented needs (food, emergency shelter, eviction-prevention) to longer-term programs that promote self-sufficiency in our community (early childhood education, home weatherization).

Founded in the Civil Rights Movement, we continue to stand against racism in all of its forms, in alliance with communities of color both at work and in the communities we serve.

As a Community Action Agency, we aim to effectively eradicate the causes and conditions of poverty, and know that racial inequity rests at the intersection of multiple barriers that impede access to economic security for children, families and communities.

What is Community Action?

Acting as leaders in organizing whatever is needed to build stronger communities, Community Action-based programs work with partners in our communities to address local emerging needs.

The Community Action Promise: Community Action changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other.

Check out the following web sites for more information about Community Action Agencies


In 1965, the Opportunity Council began as a grassroots group of volunteers and staff, working with a borrowed typewriter and furniture out of a small corner in the Whatcom County Courthouse. It was founded using the  Community Action Agency model and was a product of the “War on Poverty” and the Economic Opportunity Act signed by President Lynden B. Johnson in 1964 to help people with low-income.

This radical new model allowed local groups, including people with low-income, to determine the best local use of federal block grant dollars. People were charged with creating local solutions to fight poverty in their own communities.

Today, the Opportunity Council continues to be a vital Community Action Agency, one of 1,000 Community Action Agencies nationwide.

Now more than ever, we are called back to the Promise of Community Action and our roots in the Civil Rights Movement and the War on Poverty.