Bellevue Library Welcoming Center & Enterprise Welcome Center

January 29, 2020 | 3:30-5:30p.m. | Bellevue Library

By: Samuel Rodriguez

A collection organizations that provide services to Bellevue-area communities came together to assess community needs and programs available.

Organizations present included:

  • KCLS (King County Library System)
  • Bellevue City Council
  • Business ImpactNW
  • Bellevue College
  • Ventures
  • ACRS (Asian Counseling and  Referral Service)
  • Upwardly Global
  • IAWW (India Association of Western WA)
  • BizDiversity, Ethnic Heritage Council, BDAN (Bellevue Diversity Advisory Network)ERIC (Eastside Refugee and Immigrant Coalition) and Eastside For All.

The Welcoming Center at Bellevue Library Update

Connecting and creating a sense of belonging for both current library users and  those that do not know about the library, to library and community resources and  services, particularly for immigrants and newcomers.

Includes creating “pop-up” spaces and space being made available at the Bellevue library (using existing space).

Two Ambassadors have been hired, 5 hours per week (Spanish- and  Chinese-speaking)

This is an extension of KCLS’s values and programming that are centered on  welcoming and inclusion.

Kent was the first library. Ambassadors there were from Somali and Afghani  communities. Based on needs, offered a drivers ed course that was culturally  relevant.

Intention is to be more community driven. Cross-referral, wrap around approach to resources.

Flyers will be available soon so we can promote the Welcoming Center. April 26th, 2-5pm, Bellevue Library – big event Dia De Los Libros/Ninos – celebrating culture and literacy in all languages


  • The work is in continuing to find the intersection between community needs and the programs/services.
  • Online, one stop resource? Eastside For All’s Office for Equity and Advancement will have an Immigrant and Refugee Justice initiative that will  house online resources. To make that a robust and effective tool for people.  Even so, having the ambassadors is key – they can direct people to the best resources rather than people having to sift through  information online or in a brochure.
  • There are many immigrants who are unskilled, uneducated – need to be responsive to their needs as well.
  • Is the Welcoming Center focused on City of Bellevue or greater Eastside?  Tailoring to local community is important, and services will be open to all.  There is a need for this in all communities.
  • Bellevue College – United Way Benefits Hub – open to the community
  • The Hangar in Kenmore – a model to explore, but it’s limited to nonprofits and our small businesses also need affordable space.
  • Business community – more co-creation needed
  • Bellevue College has many programs for broader community like the Center for Career Connections, which helps people tailor their resumes (and they  have understanding about how to support immigrants). Walk in or call for an  appointment. Lots of opportunities to partner with BC and use it as a resource (programs, services, and space).
  • Designated space is really important. Builds trust, make impact.

Enterprise Welcome Center

The Enterprise Welcome Center (EWC) promotes local economic equity and  advancement focused on the needs and strengths of communities that may lack  access to the professional networks, financial resources, and knowledge required to  build successful careers, businesses, and nonprofit organizations.

The Center brings expert knowledge and a wealth of resources together in popup  locations – both for people wanting to start their own for-profit or nonprofit business  and for those who need help moving from underemployment into strong professional careers. Our long-term goal is to have designated space as well.

Rooted in ​Welcoming Economies​ principles, the EWC is committed to ensuring  equitable access to resources and true economic empowerment for communities.  We do this by prioritizing relationships that benefit all of us professionally and personally, as well as an intercultural framework that centers the experiences, needs,  and strengths of immigrants, people of color, and other communities that have  traditionally been economically and socially marginalized.

This is an initiative supported by several organization (more to come), including  Eastside For All. See ​Eastside For All’s website​ for related information on the Inclusive  Economy (Eastside Office for Equity and Advancement) and Built for Belonging.

Summer Fair​ – we’re putting together a planning team to host a multilingual and  multicultural event for small business owners, purpose-driven social entrepreneurs,  nonprofits, business associations, and professionals seeking career development  resources.

The Eastside Enterprise Resource Fair is open to all with an emphasis on information  that will be particularly useful to immigrant entrepreneurs and professionals.

Multicultural Craft and Food Bazaar

Local Small Business Vendors

Free Workshops

  • Introduction to Starting a Business
  • Starting a Nonprofit
  • Career Support for Immigrant Professionals

Resources and Support

  • Meet local nonprofit providers who serve entrepreneurs and international professionals.
  • Join local business networks and associations
  • Explore volunteer opportunities


  • Bellevue School District and Student Groups – can students be engaged as volunteers for community service?
  • Worksource – engage them in these efforts
  • ACRS Employment Program helps connect people with Worksource.
  • Al Lewis – Sapan will make an introduction; Business Transfer Program class – Multicultural Business Consulting works with small minority-owned  businesses to help them scale/expand
  • Bellevue Diversity Advisory Network (BDAN) – could present this info their for their input and support
  • Cities – importance of making public statements (“We are an ICE cold city.”)
  • Opportunity to engage older adults – wealth of expertise and skills
  • Impact of federal policies and threats to immigrant communities; safety  considerations are important
  • 2nd Sunday 2-4pm, leadership gathering at Ethnic Heritage Council – focused  on exploring nonprofit issues, particularly for event and office space;  organizations like 4 Culture will help, but it can take a lot of effort/time to  submit proposals – could we work collectively? Museum Mall concept – each  culture rents a space to display their heritage, host events, also a workspace.
  • Bellevue City Hall – meeting rooms – could pilot a Museum Mall concept if  there were community input about it. (Rotating artwork, information.)

    KCLS Welcoming Center and Enterprise Welcome Center Contact List

Organization Contact Email
ACRS (Asian Counseling  and Referral Service) Yong Lim
BDAN (Bellevue  Diversity Advisory  Network) & Ethnic Heritage  Council Margie Ye 
Bellevue City Council Janice Zahn
Bellevue College Katie Bates
Bellevue College Sapan Parekh
BizDiversity Samuel Rodriguez
BizDiversity Dan Velando
BizDiversity Anthony White
Business Impact NW Susan Perreault SusanP@BUSINESSIMPACTNW.ORG
City of Bellevue Elaine Acacio
City of Redmond Alaric Bien
Communities Rise Maha Jararey
Craft3 Che Wong
Eastside for All & ERIC (Eastside  Refugee and  Immigrant Coalition) Debbie Lacy
ELAP (Eastside Legal  Assistance Program) Esperanza Borboa
Goodwill King County,  JTE George Gonzalez
Hopelink Kelli Graham
IAWW (India Association of Western WA) Lalita Uppala
KCLS (King County Library System) Jo Anderson Cavinta
KCLS (King County Library System) Hua Goldstein
KCLS (King County Library System) LeGrand Olsen
KCLS (King County Library System) Maria Mark
KCLS (King County  Library System) & Bellevue School  District (BSD) Nahyeli Mendivil
Muslim Community Neighborhood Association (MCNA) Mohamed Bakr
Seattle Business Education Hub Felix Ngoussou
Startup 425 Ellen Miller-Wolfe
Upwardly Global Gitanjali Rawat
Ventures José Vázquez
Washington DECA Wendy Menchu-Lopez