Our Mission

Founded in 1981, the Center for Independence is a 501 (c) (3) non- profit organization serving as a resource for individuals with disabilities to fully access and participate in the community through outreach, advocacy, and independent living skills development.

The Independent Living Philosophy

The Independent Living Philosophy means that people with disabilities have the right to self-direction and autonomy. We have the right to choose where and how we live. We have the right to participate fully in our communities. Independent Living means self-determination and freedom from control by professionals. People with disabilities have the right to have control over the support services and assistive technology we use to live independently.

We strongly believe that people with disabilities have many strengths, abilities, and thoughts to contribute to the greater community. In order to support independent living, the Center for Independence is committed to advocating for equal rights and opportunities, and the removal of architectural and communication barriers.

History

The Independent Living movement grew from social activism in other movements, such as the Civil Rights movement and the Women’s movement during the 1950’s and 1960’s. The ideologies of deinstitutionalization, equal rights for minorities, and consumer rights were driving forces in the awakening of the Independent Living movement. Some of the basic values of the Independent Living movement are that we celebrate diversity, recognize that the personal is political, encourage peer support, and develop a cross-disability community where we advocate for systemic change.

The Center for Independence started at Good Samaritan Hospital in 1981 by a group of rehabilitation doctors who embraced the IL Philosophy. By 1991, CFI had become it’s own 501 (c) (3) with federal funding and recognition. In 2003, CFI moved to Lakewood just off the I-5 corridor to be more centrally located to our service area of Thurston, Pierce and South King counties.

In 2012, we were awarded a second federal grant to open another center in the north sound area of our state which is now located in Marysville. This office serves Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, Island and San Juan Island counties. Together we now serve eight counties.

Our primary funding source is the US Department of Health and Human Services, through the Administration of Community Living (ACL). We are also supported by individuals and businesses in the communities we serve.

“America welcomes into the mainstream of life all of our fellow citizens with disabilities. We embrace you for your abilities and for your disabilities, for our similarities and indeed for our differences, for your past courage, and your future dreams.”  - President George N.H. Bush  Signing of The Americans with Disabilities Act  July 26, 1990

“America welcomes into the mainstream of life all of our fellow citizens with disabilities. We embrace you for your abilities and for your disabilities, for our similarities and indeed for our differences, for your past courage, and your future dreams.”

- President George N.H. Bush

Signing of The Americans with Disabilities Act

July 26, 1990