Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington

Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington

The Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington ("KCSC") is a nonprofit ethnic-led community-based organization with a mission to assist and empower Asian Americans and new immigrants to become well-adjusted and fully contributing members of U.S. society through social services, education, advocacy, and development of resources. Founded in 1974 by

Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington

The Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington ("KCSC") is a nonprofit ethnic-led community-based organization with a mission to assist and empower Asian Americans and new immigrants to become well-adjusted and fully contributing members of U.S. society through social services, education, advocacy, and development of resources. Founded in 1974 by a pastor and his congregation who saw the need to help newly arriving visitors and immigrants from Korea adjust to life in the US, KCSC has grown and evolved into the largest bilingual and bicultural Korean social service agency in the greater Washington area, also providing selected services to Chinese community members. KCSC’s headquarters are in Annandale, Virginia; KCSC has three branch offices in Maryland (in Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, and Ellicott City) and a satellite office in Centreville, VA. KCSC’s programs promote the well-being and quality of life of our community members and are guided by the following principles: 1) empowerment-based and person-centered practice; 2) culturally and linguistically competent services; 3) trauma-informed counseling; 4) community-based outreach and education; and 5) collaborative and integrated networks and alliances. KCSC uses the one-stop service center model where clients can address multiple issues all under one roof. During intake, KCSC’s case managers assess client needs, develop an individualized service plan, and make internal and external referrals for appropriate services. In FY2022, KCSC served 9,922 community members, providing 14,883 units of service, including social services, emergency assistance, housing counseling, benefits application assistance, family enrichment services, senior empowerment services, victim services, and immigration legal services.

About the Organization:

The Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington ("KCSC") is a nonprofit ethnic-led community-based organization with a mission to assist and empower Asian Americans and new immigrants to become well-adjusted and fully contributing members of U.S. society through social services, education, advocacy, and development of resources. Founded in 1974 by a pastor and his congregation who saw the need to help newly arriving visitors and immigrants from Korea adjust to life in the US, KCSC has grown and evolved into the largest bilingual and bicultural Korean social service agency in the greater Washington area, also providing selected services to Chinese community members. KCSC’s headquarters are in Annandale, Virginia; KCSC has three branch offices in Maryland (in Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, and Ellicott City) and a satellite office in Centreville, VA. KCSC’s programs promote the well-being and quality of life of our community members and are guided by the following principles: 1) empowerment-based and person-centered practice; 2) culturally and linguistically competent services; 3) trauma-informed counseling; 4) community-based outreach and education; and 5) collaborative and integrated networks and alliances. KCSC uses the one-stop service center model where clients can address multiple issues all under one roof. During intake, KCSC’s case managers assess client needs, develop an individualized service plan, and make internal and external referrals for appropriate services. In FY2022, KCSC served 9,922 community members, providing 14,883 units of service, including social services, emergency assistance, housing counseling, benefits application assistance, family enrichment services, senior empowerment services, victim services, and immigration legal services.

organizational budget

3 MILLION - 4 MILLION

existence for

31+ YEARS

The Issue:

According to a 2017 Pew Research Center report, Asians are the fastest-growing ethnic and racial minority group in the US. According to Census2020, there are over 110,000 Koreans and 135,000 Chinese (our target populations) living in the metro DC area. Community leaders state that Census data significantly underreport the true size of the population, which they calculate to be at least 1-1/2 times larger. There is an acute need for linguistically accessible, culturally appropriate health and social support services for low- to moderate-income limited English proficient community members. Moreover, anti-immigrant voices have been dominating the media and there has been an increasing number of incidents of anti-Asian bias and discrimination. Fears of being targeted combined with a lack of awareness of available services, difficulty navigating complicated US systems, and significant language and cultural barriers, cause many immigrants to underutilize community resources for which many are, in fact, eligible. Many choose to keep a low profile, sacrificing their economic stability, health, and well-being. Two groups - seniors and victims of domestic violence - are particularly vulnerable. Although there are several local mainstream organizations that address health and social service issues, most newly arrived Korean and Chinese immigrants are reluctant to access mainstream services (because of language and cultural barriers) which result in simply being unable to adequately utilize these services. The need for a culturally and linguistically appropriate approach to services is well-documented and healthcare experts have issued dozens of reports stressing the importance of cultural competence in service delivery. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (2010) noted “when health care services are delivered without regard to cultural differences, patients are at risk for suboptimal care.” KCSC is one of the very few professional social service providers in the metro DC area that can serve this target population appropriately. Our case managers understand cultural differences and attitudes, including the stigma around even applying for public benefits. We believe ethnic-led CBOs are best able to reach and provide valuable information to these isolated and “invisible” immigrant communities and deliver culturally sensitive, linguistically appropriate direct services more effectively.

The Solution:

Over nearly five decades of operation, KCSC has developed an array of services that address the many challenges and evolving needs facing Asian newcomers, greatly contributing to their wellbeing. Services are culturally/linguistically specific and designed to help low- to moderate-income, limited English-proficient clients navigate new, at times complicated US systems. Our innovative "one-stop" model allows clients to recieve the following services under one roof: 1) Social Services , including case management, information/referral, translation/interpretation, transportation/escort services, emergency financial assistance, job readiness/employment counseling, housing counseling, and a first-time home buyer program; 2) Family Enrichment , including healthy relationship education, parenting support groups, court-ordered parenting classes, and couples mentoring; 3) Victim Services Program , including a 24/7 hotline for victims of domestic violence/sexual assault, case management, wrap-around services, transitional housing, and supportive counseling; 4) Senior Empowerment Program, including continuing education and the Benefits Enrollment Center (BEC), assisting seniors and disabled individuals apply for core benefits and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP); 5) Health Promotion Program, including affordable healthcare services through KAMMSA and Hope clinics in Montgomery County, MD and Grace clinic in Fairfax County, VA, health/mental health outreach, educational seminars, individuals, families, couples, and youth counseling, psychiatric services, dementia screening/education, a Covid-19 and influenza vaccine confidence-building program, and a chronic diseases self-management program (Project SHINE - Staying Heathy with improved Nutrition and Exercise); and 6) Immigration Program, assisting immigrants with low-cost immigration counseling, document notarization, and citizenship interview preparation classes. Without the support and guidance of our professional, bilingual, and culurally competant staff, many immigrants would take much longer to integrate, or even fall through the cracks. KCSC's staff live and are directly involved in the communities they serve and therefore have a unique perspective and deep insight into their communities' needs. Our diverse staff includes 18 Korean bilinguals, 4 Chinese bilinguals, and one Caucasian. Over 95% are bilingual in English and Korean and/or Chinese. All staff are fully trained and credentialed/licensed professionals and hold at least a bachelor’s degree. Twelve hold masters’ degrees, and two staff members also hold PhDs. KCSC’s management team has many decades of professional experience in the nonprofit world.

Get Updates about the Gold Futures Challenge

Join our email list to receive challenge updates!