Companis began in 1994 as an outreach of Seattle First Baptist Church, matching those seeking service opportunities with nonprofits that need them, with founder Craig Darling modeling the agency on a Jesuit program he had observed in Detroit and first established in Chicago. Born of grassroots community action in the early days of the HIV crisis and churches helping Central American refugees seeking sanctuary, Craig recognized the power of harnessing skilled professional volunteers when government action alone is inadequate, and/or resources needed are limited. He saw also the power of service to transform the lives of those giving back to their communities. Volunteers supported by a program of action and reflection build healthy communities, at the same time experiencing great personal growth. Craig calls this phenomenon “Changing lives… lives changing.” And his vision continues to serve as a guiding light for our work today, as he holds the distinguished role of President Emeritus.
In 1997, Companis became a secular nonprofit with 501(c)3 registration. Over the past 25 years, Companis has made more than 900 placements, in 150 nonprofit partner agencies delivering much needed services to our neighbors in the Puget Sound Region. Companis supports these professionals with placements that match their passion to serve, stipends when needed to fulfill the year of service, and a robust program of personal and professional development that engages and inspires. We believe it’s this aspect of our program results in 96% of our volunteers completing their year of service.
Companis has been instrumental in the growth of many nonprofit partners over three decades, resulting in services for many thousands of the our region’s most vulnerable. Our partners cover the gamut of social and human services delivery, and range from small nonprofits to large organizations well-known in the community.
Companis Workers today are at the forefront of service to our neighbors who are homeless, sick and hungry, mentally ill and addicted, and creating community for refugees, immigrants, seniors, youth and our LGBTQ neighbors. Companis strengthens nonprofit capacity in the Puget Sound region by providing professional help when most needed.
Founding Director Companis