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Center for Strong Families


United Way of Pierce County’s Center for Strong Families (CSFs) can help families create a more prosperous future by focusing on workforce development, financial stability, basic needs supports and other family services. The model meets individuals where they are and crafts a plan that's right for them. The first step is to stabilize the family. From there we work to help them realize their dreams, no matter what they might be.

By providing services in one central location, the Center for Strong Families can help families get what they need to be stable. Center for Strong Families utilize existing community organizations to help provide services such as:

  • One-on-one career and financial coaching,
  • Assistance enrolling in public benefits,
  • Workforce development opportunities,
  • Access to basic services,
  • Asset accumulation,
  • Parenting resources,
  • and more.

The CSF model utilizes an integrated approach to deliver vital services and financial support to hard-working families. Focusing on helping families “Earn it” (job training to increase income), “Keep It” (get banked, reduce financial transaction costs and take advantage of tax credits), and “Grow It” (build wealth for families and their communities through increased savings, advanced education and buying homes and other assets) helps them move out of poverty and become financially stable.


The CSF will offer seamlessly integrated services modeled after the Center for Working Families (CWF) program developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Through extensive research, the Annie E. Casey Foundation found early on that the more that the services were bundled, the greater the chance for an individual to become financially stable. Because this is a relationship-based model, results are based on two to three year relationship with the clients. While the return on investment varies, most Centers see a significant return on investment over a 36-month period (sometimes less). The initial research showed a 400 percent ROI over 36-month period.


Centers for Strong Families are the result of unique collaborations of Pierce County agencies that are committed to improving financial stability services and outcomes for members of their communities. The model rests on principles around common goals, best-practice service provision, and a partnership approach. Each Center for Strong Families is being developed organically according to local community’s needs and assets, but partners at each Center share a commitment to core concepts.

Sound Outreach and Goodwill were the first two partners to be selected for CSFs. Sound Outreach serves as the lead organization for a Center that will incorporate multiple partners in the Hilltop area. Other providers include Bates Technical College, Tacoma Urban League, Tacoma Housing Authority, and Northwest Leadership Foundation, among others. Goodwill leads the Milgard Work Opportunity Center and serves as a single provider. 


Funding for this work has been provided in part by a recent grant from State Farm to Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), $200,000 of which will support efforts in Tacoma. Additional funding has also been provided by City of Tacoma, CHI Franciscan Health, MultiCare Health System, Washington State Employees Credit Union, Weyerhaeuser and Commencement Bank.


United Way will be seeking partners for other Centers. If you think your organization would be a good fit for a Center for Strong Families, contact Corey Mosesly at or 253-597-7491. The open application process for future Centers will take place in early 2017.