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West Coast Poverty Center

About Us


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The West Coast Poverty Center works to bridge the gaps between anti-poverty research, practice, and policy by connecting scholars, policymakers and practitioners; facilitating important social policy research; magnifying the reach of new knowledge; and fostering the next generation of anti-poverty scholars.

Originally founded as a collaborative venture of the UW School of Social Work, the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, and the College of Arts and Sciences, the West Coast Poverty Center creates new opportunities for cross-disciplinary exchanges and collaboration among poverty researchers and fosters a network of poverty scholars in the west coast region. At the UW, the Center mentors the next generation of poverty scholars and practitioners through faculty awards, research assistantships and dissertation fellowships for graduate students, and graduate programs of study. Beyond the university, the Poverty Center works to bring poverty-relevant knowledge to policymakers and practitioners and to engage researchers and policy practitioners in dialogue through outreach, communications, and events such as our Roundtables and annual Poverty Summit.

An interdisciplinary group of Faculty Affiliates of the Poverty Center hold teaching appointments at the University of Washington. The WCPC is also part of the U.S. Collaborative of Poverty Centers organized by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

West Coast Poverty Center activities include:



  • Emerging Poverty Scholars awards for junior faculty at UW
  • Dissertation Fellowships for UW doctoral candidates completing dissertations on poverty and policy topics
  • Doctoral courses to provide training, mentorship and professional development opportunities for Ph.D. students pursuing studies relating to poverty and policy

Outreach and Dissemination

  • Poverty research dissemination through the West Coast Poverty Center's Poverty Research Flash series and other products, available both online and in print
  • Communications and events to increase awareness and understanding of poverty issues and to bring poverty researchers together with policy practitioners, journalists, and the public
  • An annual Poverty Summit
  • Roundtables spotlighting research about criminal justice, housing, economic security, and early childhood adversity and poverty
  • Resources for the media, including a listing of Experts on Poverty who can provide issue-specific background on current poverty concerns

West Coast Poverty Center History

The West Coast Poverty Center (WCPC) at the University of Washington was founded in 2005 with initial core funding from the University of Washington and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and valuation (OASPE) to serve as a hub for research, education, and policy analysis leading to greater understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and effective approaches to reducing it in the west coast states.