Shelf Life Community Story Project
Amplifying community voices, learning from neighborhood stories, and interrupting narratives of erasure in Seattle's Central District.

Central Area Motivation Program

Photo by Jill Freidberg

Photo by Jill Freidberg

Hayward Evans grew up in Seattle, was a director of the Central Area Motivation Program, and has been a community organizer for most of his life. 

Hayward Evans

From a community building perspective, you know we had - again, because of the War on Poverty and Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act - they used to send money directly to communities for community action agencies. The first community action agency that was a pilot model was funded here in Seattle, by Sergeant Shriver, and it’s the Central Area Motivation Program, CAMP. CAMP was truly a holistic community action agency, well rounded, from cradle to grave. They had programs for day care facilities all the way up to mental health care, dental care, alcoholism, introduction to college, food bank services, legal advocacy. Everything that you would sort of need to be supported in terms of personal growth.

When I ran CAMP, I took CAMP from under a million dollars to about a three and a half million dollar agency in about three and a half years. We expanded it because of the gentrification and folks having to move out of the community that we opened satellite offices in Southeast Seattle. We would advocate. We made it clear, even in our mission statement. “To develop programs and services aimed to improve the quality of life in the Black community and services to eliminate poverty. With advocacy.” And each year, just a little was whittled away, whittled away. 

Certain people who were part of that original board and original staff opposed local government, opposed some of the elected officials. Well, the elected officials who had a relationship with the Democratic party would say,”Why are you funding people to fight policies that we worked on together?” From there, Mayor Daly, who was Chair of the DNC, said, “Wait a minute now. Let’s develop a new program that the government would have greater influence in who receives the money.” So they established Model Cities. So they took the old director of CAMP, Walt Hundley, and moved him as director of Model Cities here in Seattle. Then what they turned around the did, they ran Model Cities for a few years. Each year, local governments started siphoning off more and more of the federal dollars, and less and less went to direct community action. And if you have to go to the elected officials in order to have the money available to build the leadership within the community? No! They removed that. “I will give you money in a food bank to help feed them, but I will not help you train them to advocate, especially if they advocate against the policies that I’ve supported."