Advancing a Legacy

In 1895, when HopeSparks made a commitment to serve our community, the mission was simple: to meet the basic needs of struggling community members. We have been known by many names over the last 120 years, but our primary focus has remained unchanged: we address the needs of children and families in our community with the intended goal of creating strong families and lasting change.

As Associated Charities, our mission was to provide for the basic needs of Pierce County’s struggling families. Our founders could never have imagined that their grassroots non-profit organization would evolve for more than a century and influence the lives of so many children and families.

  • 1895: Associated Charities addresses the basic needs of Pierce County
  • 1921: Associated Charities becomes Family Welfare Association and works primarily with single mothers who are abandoned or widowed by war
  • 1941: During World War II, we shift our efforts to the growing problem of domestic abuse and child neglect in Tacoma
  • 1967: Family Welfare Association becomes Family Counseling Service and counsels low-income children and families both in Tacoma and throughout Pierce County
  • 1990: Construction of our current main facility – the Wiegman Family Center – is completed in North Tacoma
  • 1997: Family Counseling Service merges with Child Guidance Clinic and was renamed Child & Family Guidance Center
  • 2005: Child & Family Guidance Center merges with Tacoma Learning Center. The pioneering objectives of this Early Childhood Education program complements our family-focused programs and enables us to more fully accomplish our mission of strengthening families.
  • 2006: The Children’s Wing is completed and expands our capacity to serve children impacted by trauma
  • 2008: Child & Family Guidance Center becomes HopeSparks. With this change we improve our strategies, our services and our goals. Our new name sparks many positive changes.
  • 2012: Started construction on HopesCloset Basic Needs Bank
  • 2013: Tacoma Learning Center changes its name to Children’s Developmental Services allowing for new vision and strategies for growth  
  • 2013: HopeSparks opens an office in Puyallup, expanding our reach to three locations in Pierce County
  • 2016: Launched “Kids Cant Wait Campaign” at our Tacoma Office. When complete, this campaign will provide a 500 additional children in Pierce County annually, with access to critical mental health services.

Today we still provide basic needs for struggling children and families, and so much more. HopeSparks’ stellar reputation for trauma-informed programs has grown beyond our original mission—we have evolved to address the pressing community need in Pierce County.