About Us

Bridging cultures, communities and generations. Creating opportunities for Chinese immigrants and their families to succeed.

CISC helps Chinese and other Asian immigrants throughout King County achieve success in their new community by providing information, referral, advocacy, social, and support services.

CISC was started in 1972 by a group of energetic college and high school students. They worked as part time volunteers in a tiny donated space in Chinatown to fulfill a community need. The early focus was on helping non-English speaking elderly in the community. Later, CISC broadened its scope and added adult and youth employment programs, ESL and naturalization classes, family and youth services, domestic violence and crime victim services, and a community technology center.

Over the years, CISC has continued to respond to community needs by bringing services for seniors to the Eastside. In 2007, CISC partnered with other community based organizations and began providing immigrant transition services on the Eastside and at its International Family Center-Kent in Chinese, Vietnamese, Spanish, Russian, and the languages of India.

Our agency's service philosophy is to use an holistic approach with bilingual/bicultural staff to provide developmentally appropriate services to individuals, families, and groups within our community. The focus is first on stabilizing, then strengthening our community members through strength-based skill building. The ultimate goal is for each client to reach their maximum potential as quickly as possible, and become self-sufficient, contributing members of the community.

Each year, CISC serves over 20,000 immigrants and their families, throughout King County, Washington, (including Seattle). These services help overcome barriers, facilitate transition to, and integration in the mainstream community.

The population CISC serves comes from many different countries in Asia including Mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and others. Individuals receiving services range in age from birth to 106, and include both low, and moderate-income individuals and families. CISC also serves clients of other Asian ethnicities, including Vietnamese, Laotian, Filipino, Hmong, and Cambodian, as well as Russian and Spanish speaking immigrants. No one is denied service based on his or her racial, ethnic, or linguistic background, gender, sexual orientation, age, or physical ability.

There are currently over 50 staff, assisted by work-study students and hundreds of community volunteers. The agency has language capacity in Cantonese, Mandarin, Toisanese, Taiwanese, Hakka, Chiuchow, Shanghainese, Fukienese, Malay, Vietnamese, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Spanish, Russian, and English.

For 40 years, CISC has enjoyed an excellent reputation in the community as the leading provider of linguistically and culturally appropriate social services to the Chinese immigrant community.


1972 — A group of energetic college and high school students, themselves immigrants from China and Hong Kong, start this agency. They work as part time volunteers, from a tiny donated space in Chinatown.

1977 — Rita Wang is hired as the agency's Executive Director. After five years of operation, CISC has a staff of five!

1980 — The big breakthrough: the agency is approved for United Way funding.

1987 — Sunshine Garden Senior Day Care Center is founded to help care for neglected elderly. Also, the ACCESS (Asian/Chinese Empowerment Social Services) Program serving adults and youth is established.

1989 — Elderly Case Management Program is added.

1993 — A year round Youth Employment is formed.

1994 — The Alzheimer Demonstration Project broke ground, serving Asians with this disease. After 17 years of service, Executive Director Rita Wang retires.

1995 — CISC's new Executive Director, Daisy Lau-Leung, comes on board. With her help, several new programs begin, leading the agency into a new era of expansion. The new programs are: The Parenting Program, The Asian Family Resource Center, The Asian After School Care Program and The Youth Computer Center.

1996 — Comprehensive family support for immigrant families is added to the range of service offerings.

1997 — During its twenty-five years, the agency has successfully transformed itself from a fledging group of volunteers to a staff of 25 full-time professionals. With the help of over 100 volunteers, CISC serves over 3,500 clients a year.

1998 — The Eastside Elderly Outreach Program begins to serve isolated Eastside seniors with activites, information and assistance.

1999 — Family Caregiver Support Program is established.

2001 — Alaric Bien is named the new Executive Director and assumes the role in July.

2002 — CISC celebrates its 30th anniversary.

2003 — A new focus on early learning begins with Play & Learn groups helping parents and caregivers understand how their children learn and prepare for school success through play.

2005 — The International Family Center-Kent is established, serving our South End constituents.

2005 — SHIBA (State Health Insurance Benefits Advisors) program starts advising community members on health insurance options.

2006 — CISC adds Seattle's first bilingual Mandarin/English pre-K program. Based on evidence-based practices with culturally appropriate modifications, this program prepares children for success in kindergarten and beyond.

2007 — After successfully running its first capital campaign, CISC moves into a new space, doubling its square footage and providing a comfortable and safe environment for clients, volunteers and staff.

2007 — The Eastside Cultural Navigator Program launches with CISC as the lead agency. This program brings culturally appropriate services to Eastside Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, Latino and Russian immigrant communities.

2008 — CISC successfully undertakes its first capital campaign and moves into its new offices.

2012 — CISC celebrates its 40th Anniversary

Chinese Information and Service Center
Supported by United Way of King County.
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.