Carol Richman, the “mother of CAMP” and the woman who wrote the original CAMP proposal seeking funding from the federal government through the War on Poverty legislation in 1964, endorses the agency’s name change to Centerstone. To read her initial letter to Sargent Shriver about the War on Poverty and the allocation of funds, click here. When asked to comment on the new developments within the agency, Mrs. Richman replied, “The name change isn’t something we should get excited about.  The mission of CAMP, doing good work, is what we should get excited about.”

Mrs. Richman, who has been involved in social activism and civil rights her entire life, moved to Seattle in 1961 and moved into the Central Area.  Barely had her feet hit the ground before she noticed the vast achievement gap among pupils at Madrona Elementary.  Mrs. Richman took matters into her own hands, and with the support of the Madrona PTA, Mrs. Richman helped found the Madrona Preschool Enrichment Program in 1962.  This preschool was a predecessor of the popular Headstart program, focusing on early childhood education for low-income families in order to prepare children for learning.

With a Bachelors degree in Political Science and a Masters degree in Public Law and Government, Mrs. Richman was expertly in-tune with the pulse in Washington, D.C.  An active member of the Central Area Community Council and the Central Area Citizens’ Committee for Economic Opportunity, Mrs. Richman decided to strike while the iron was hot and crafted a proposal for an agency that would prompt citizens to action and social organization within the Central Area.  Out of this idea grew the agency that became the Central Area Motivation Program or CAMP, the name originally coined by Lillian Gideon, a member of the Central Area Community Council.

In its founding documents, CAMP proposed to be an agency of social change and organization.  Armed with a long name and an idealistic vision, the agency was forced to reevaluate its purpose when confronted with the stark reality of life in the Central Area in the 1960s.  When the block workers went door to door, attempting to motivate Central Area residents with their call to action, they were confronted with a very different reality.  Instead of an army of ready participants, the block workers found lives in disarray and families needing intensive case management and social services.  The Central Area was suffering a huge economic downturn during the 1960s, with discriminatory zoning laws and employment policies contributing to over 40% unemployment in the African American community.  What the block workers encountered were families more interested in ensuring their basic survival than in participating in any social movements.

Like any responsive agency seeking to meet the needs of its community, the Central Area Motivation Program quickly developed programs to meet some of the basic needs of its residents, including a daycare, job training, after school study centers, programs to bring arts to the youth, African American history curriculum, and area beautification projects, just to name a few of the agency’s many undertakings. But in this process of adapting to meet the needs of the community, in answering their call for help, CAMP ceased to be a motivator for social action before it had even begun.  While the focus of the agency strayed from its founding days, the name held on for 48 more years.

“Do people even think about what the Central Area Motivation Program means?” Carol Richman, the “mother of CAMP,” asked in September 2012.   “If they thought about it, they would understand that this agency never did what its name said it would do, which was to motivate people…[That being said] I’m very proud of what became of CAMP.  It’s doing a good job adjusting to the needs of the community.”

Today Centerstone offers a variety of basic needs services for low-income families throughout the Central Area and the city of Seattle, including energy assistance, housing assistance, a food bank, and financial education courses.  Centerstone has embraced its reality, as a basic needs social service agency for low-income families and individuals, while hoping to return to some of its original purposing through advocacy and education.  Today Centerstone works to help people help themselves and each other as they move from poverty to self-sufficiency through programs and advocacy.

Centerstone is not the motivator here, but the helping hand to a better future.  “I think that CAMP succeeded because it still exists,” remarked Mrs. Richman when reflecting on the agency’s evolution over the last 48 years. “It serves its community and helps those who need it.  That is success.”

For more information on the history of the Central Area and the African American experience in Seattle during the 1960s, please refer to Seattle in Black and White: The Congress of Racial Equality and the Fight for Equal Opportunity (2011) by Joan Singler, Jean Burning, Bettylou Valentine, and Maid Adams.

On Monday October 22nd, Byrd Barr Place employees spent the day helping out one of Byrd Barr Place’s founding members and a pivotal leader in the Central Area Economic Opportunity Citizens’ Committee.  One of the main authors of the original CAMP proposal, W. Ivan King has been invested in the plight of Central Area residents since he was a young man in the 1950s and 1960s, contributing as a committee member, social organizer, volunteer, employee, and historian for this impressive organization over the last 48 years.

Byrd Barr Place CEO Andrea Caupain decided it was time to give back to a man who has given Byrd Barr Place so much throughout his life, and so on Monday, October 22nd, Byrd Barr Place employees spent the day reaching back to their roots with Byrd Barr Place’s first “Beautification Project” in decades.  For several hours employees helped to tame Mr. King’s yard and garden, battling flower pots, spiders, and overgrown brush, before sharing lunch with Mr. King and learning more about the organization’s rich history.

Here are some photos of their day!












In Progress…






















Thank you Ivan King!

October 1st marks the opening of the 2012-2013 Energy Season here at Byrd Barr Place, with applications for Puget Sound Energy gas customers now available.  Assistance payments with LIHEAP for Seattle City Light and other vendors will begin in early December 2012.  Continue to check our website for updated information.  To learn more about about our Energy Assistance Program or to make an appointment to receive assistance with a gas bill, click here.

Have you ever wondered how to set up a spending plan you can stick to, review your credit report, or choose the credit card that’s right for you? In conjunction with Boston Private Bank, Byrd Barr Place is pleased to present Money Smart workshops at Yesler Community Center. In just 10 weeks, you will learn how to improve your family’s financial health. Workshops are free and are open to the public. Don’t let transportation keep you from participating: Byrd Barr Place can provide bus vouchers! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get your family’s finances in shape. Click here for more information and start your journey to financial independence today! To receive updates on financial education opportunities join our mailing list.

For questions or more information, please contact Danielle Preval at or call 206-812-4969.

Last Friday, September 21, 2012, Byrd Barr Place hosted ten volunteers from U.S. Trust, Bank of America, Private Wealth Management for the 2012 United Way Day of Caring. These energetic professionals came out from behind their desks and spent the day away from their offices giving back to the community for the United Way of King County’s largest Day of Caring event ever.  A total of 12, 122 volunteers participated from 138 different companies, completing a total of 448 projects.  These generous individuals gave 59, 737 hours of labor, donating $1.3 million in services to nonprofit agencies across the county in a single day.

Byrd Barr Place’s fantastic group pushed up their sleeves and got down to business–washing windows, polishing banisters, catching cobwebs, wiping down walls, and banishing dust bunnies.  Not only are these men and women banking professionals, they are also professional cleaners, giving Byrd Barr Place’s historic fire house a badly needed going-over.

Thank you U.S. Trust, Bank of America, Private Wealth Management for all of your efforts!



Andrea Caupain with Ivan KingByrd Barr Place CEO Andrea Caupain met with previous CAMP historian, Mr. Ivan King, over lunch last Thursday (8/9/12).  Mr. King worked at CAMP during CAMP’s heyday of 1967, when CAMP employed over 300 people, staffed by dedicated youth and volunteers who took action to better the community. Mr. King had just transitioned from the Assistant Director of the Seattle Urban League to the Program Director of the Central Area Motivation Program’s Action Education Centers (AEC). While acting as the Program Director for the AECs, Mr. King oversaw more than 50 employees and volunteers who ran these after school community action and homework centers in 11 Central Area schools. Students received help with their homework while learning about African American history and activism. One of the greatest accomplishments to come out of these AECs was the implementation of Black History curriculum within the public school system.

The AECs only received funding for one year and the program closed, but Mr. King continued his work with Seattle’s Model Cities Program as the Employment and Economic Development Coordinator. Mr. King stayed a touchstone for CAMP throughout the years, and in 1990 he wrote “The Central Area Motivation Program: A Brief History of a Community in Action.”

Ms. Caupain was delighted to get in touch with Mr. King over lunch and solicited his feedback and support for the rebranding. Here at Byrd Barr Place we are honored to get to know Mr. King and look forward to working with him to preserve Byrd Barr Place’s impressive legacy in the coming years.

We are excited to announce that Central Area Motivation Program has changed its name to Centerstone! We chose this name because it embraces our history in the community and demonstrates how we support people of all cultures access help through food, energy assistance, housing assistance, and education. To hear more about how we are changing people’s lives, contact us for a tour or more information. » Learn more