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Our Mission & Vision

Western States Center was founded in 1987.

Our mission is to connect and build the power of community organizations to challenge and transform individuals, organizations and systems to achieve racial, gender and economic justice.

We envision our movement achieving a just society where we all flourish in sustainable, caring and connected communities.


Prior to our creation in 1987, progressive organizations and leaders were often working in isolation from one another serving particular constituencies or advancing specific issues. Scattered across a broad geographic area, they lacked resources, appropriate training programs, and mechanisms to share intelligence, plan strategies and spread successes. Opportunities to work together and increase their impact and effectiveness were often missed and national progressive funders and organizations often failed to understand and support the West. The right wing was gaining strength and important political ground while many progressives seemed disengaged from electoral efforts and disconnected from each other.

In response to this set of circumstances, Western States Center was established to help strengthen and further develop the progressive movement in the West. For more than two decades, we have served to connect activists and organizers, building our sense of share values, honing our strategies for building power, sharpening our political analyses, and forging relationships and alliances with the broader movement for social, economic, racial and environmental justice.

Movement Building in the Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain Northwest region

It takes more than one organization to push for progressive policy change. Western States Center supports permanent, multi-issue statewide coalitions that combines the power and effectiveness of individual organizations in both the public policy process and in elections. These groups include:


In 2009, the Center helped start Oregon Voice as part of the State Voices Network. Oregon Voice provides year-round shared services, information, and resources to organizations involved in civic engagement. Oregon Voice fosters collaboration among these organizations and provides training and access to technology and tools that let groups be more focused, accountable, and able to evaluate their work not just at election time, but year round.

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