News | Written By Gene Boes, President & CEO

Letter From The Ceo: Difficult Times Meet Determined People


​Established in 1965, over the past 55 years Northwest Center has made considerable progress on the journey toward our North: a world where 100% of kids of all abilities have equitable access to education, and the employment rate for people with disabilities is the same as that of the general population.

In March 2020, the world changed dramatically, as did the enormity of our challenge to continue North. But we’re more steadfast than ever about achieving that goal.

It’s safe to say none of us could foresee the situation we’re all in right now. But the Northwest Center community has proven that in the face of incredibly difficult times, we come together.

Immediately after COVID-19 hit, OneNWC leaned in together and continued to deliver on our mission: our Kids and Employment Services teams pivoted to remote therapy, Zoom classroom sessions, and creative ways to keep clients’ job skills sharp. Meanwhile, the essential workers at our businesses stayed on the front lines providing critical cleaning, laundry, office management and staffing services to the companies and medical facilities we serve. Read more about how our teams rose to the challenge.

Our IMPACT team used teleconferencing to expand their trainings to hundreds more attendees in each session. As of this writing, they’ve reached an astounding 17,000 children since 2018–read the full story here.

Parents and supporters inundated our teachers, staff, and service providers with grateful letters, then spearheaded a spring campaign to help bridge the gap left by reductions in our commercial businesses. Other donors provided telecommunications devices for therapy so children didn’t miss a single milestone. Now we’re gearing up for a reimagined fundraising event as The Derby goes virtual (and free) but the fun remains. Join us for The Derby on October 23.

Of course, these times have been riddled with hardship—particularly for the people with disabilities we serve. For many of them, staying home from work means missing not only the sense of purpose a job can bring, but also a critical opportunity to connect with other people. As all of us followed stay-at-home mandates, something occurred to me: the isolation, job uncertainty, and monotony of our days all sounded a lot like what many people with disabilities face EVERY day. We wrote about this in a recent issue of the Seattle Times. That realization left us only more determined that North is—has to be—an achievable goal.

Join Northwest Center as we continue our journey North. Because until all of us are fully included, none of us will reach our potential.

Onward and Upward,