Community Action opens center supporting Skagit Valley veterans

By Regence
May 29, 2019

Regence believes that every partnership we cultivate, every dollar we pledge and every hour we volunteer makes the communities in which we live, work and play healthier. This post is part of a blog series that highlights how Regence is collaborating with community partners to positively impact the quality of life of people and families in our communities.

Community members, veterans and elected officials came together on Wednesday, May 15 to celebrate the grand opening of the Robert M. Gates Skagit Vets Connect. Supported and operated by Community Action of Skagit County, the center connects veterans in the Skagit Valley area with all-important services, such as housing assistance, food benefits, health care, education and case management.

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates (pictured center) leads the ribbon cutting at the grand opening of Skagit Vets Connect center, named in his honor.

Skagit Vets Connect is part of Community Action’s mission to help individuals and families find the tools and support they need to get out of poverty. In addition to supporting veterans, the nonprofit provides services spanning adult education, financial empowerment and legal aid services.

In the last year alone, Community Action of Skagit County helped nearly 30,000 individuals and families in the Skagit Valley area. The impact of the statewide network of Community Action agencies is so far-reaching that Gov. Jay  Inslee declared May 2019 as Community Action Month in Washington.

“Community Action builds and promotes economic stability as an essential aspect of enabling and enhancing stronger communities, which in turn promotes self-sufficiency, ensuring that all Washingtonians are able to live in dignity,” said Governor Inslee in the declaration.

The Burlington community gathers for the grand opening of the Skagit Vets Connect center.

Regence Supports Community Action

Regence is dedicated to supporting organizations like Community Action that are making Washington state a better place to work, play and live.

Since 2015, Regence has supported Community Action of Skagit County through financial grants, employee giving and volunteer projects to help build stronger, more supported communities and to address key social determinants of health. In 2018, Regence dedicated $20,000 toward the capital campaign, along with surplus office furniture to support the staff that provide these vital services to area residents.

“Community Action of Skagit County’s mission to support families in their journey out of poverty and improve communities aligns closely with Regence’s mission to catalyze growth and prosperity through financial giving and volunteerism,” said Celicia Yeoman, with Regence’s corporate social responsibility team. “We are proud to support this organization’s efforts to tackle the root causes of poverty head on.” 

This year, Regence will continue to support Community Action of Skagit County, dedicating $50,000 toward engagement and advocacy programs for seniors. These programs help address the loneliness and isolation common amongst the elderly by providing transportation, home repair and, sometimes, just a friendly face. 

“We appreciate our partnership with Regence BlueShield and the commitment that Regence shares with us to lift Skagit Valley families out of poverty,” said Bill Henkel, Executive Director of Community Action of Skagit County. 

To learn more about Community Action of Skagit County, please visit

All photos courtesy of Community Action of Skagit County.