Programs & Services

Who we are... What we do

Mission Statement

We need your help!

Information and Referral

Family Services & Homeless Intervention

Community Voice Mail

Energy Assistance

Weatherization and Home Repair

Island County Achievements:

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Opportunity Council's Island County Service Center   
            1791 NE 1st Ave (corner of Whidbey & Regatta)     (Map)                 

Lisa Clark, Local Service Center Director    P.O. Box 922, Oak Harbor, WA 98277
                  (360) 679-6577       (800) 649-5121         Fax: (360) 679-2440

Island County Program Services   (360) 679-6577

Information and Referral
Family Services & Homeless Intervention
Community Voice Mail
Energy Assistance
Weatherization and Home Repair
Other Resource Information

Who we are... What we do

What is Community Action?
Our Board
Our Staff
Job Openings

We are the Opportunity Council, a private non-profit community action agency serving Island, San Juan and Whatcom Counties since 1965. "Helping people help themselves", the Opportunity Council works as a catalyst for positive change in our community in the lives of low-income and disadvantaged people. Our programs range from helping people with immediate crisis needs to addressing long-term support. We shelter people who are homeless, feed people who are hungry, help prepare young children for school, provide a messaging services for people who don’t have a phone, and help keep people safe and warm through the winter.

What is Community Action?

Acting as catalysts and leaders in organizing whatever is needed to build stronger communities, Community Action-based programs work with partners in our communities to address local emerging needs.

Check out the Washington State Community Action Agency site at
Also try the national Community Action Agency site at


In 2005, the Opportunity Council proudly celebrated 40 years of community action. In 1965, the Opportunity Council began as a grassroots group of volunteers and staff, working with a borrowed typewriter and furniture out of a small corner in the Whatcom County Courthouse. This Community Action model was a product of the Economic Opportunity Act, President Lynden B. Johnson's War on Poverty, passed in 1964 to help low-income people.

This radical new method allowed local groups, including people with low-income, to determine the best local use of federal block grant dollars. People were charged with creating local solutions for poverty in their own communities.

Today, the Opportunity Council continues to be a vital Community Action Agency, one of 1,000 Community Action Agencies nationwide. Our 175 full- and part-time employees serve over 18,000 people a year. Three quarters of our $9 million budget comes from local, state and federal government support. The remainder is from service fees and donations.

Our Board

Citizen participation is essential. The Opportunity Council, like all Community Action Agencies, is locally managed by a volunteer board of directors which includes equal representation of public officials, the private sector and people who are low-income. 

    Board of Directors

  • President: Kim Schuster

  • Vice-President: Judi Edwards

  • Secretary: Lee Grochmal

  • Treasurer: Sheldon Satterthwaite

  • Past President: Tim Shea

  • Laura Cardinal

  • Laurie Caskey-Schreiber

  • John Dean (Island County)

  • Don Gischer

  • Terry Greer

  • Sharon Greir

  • John Manning

  • Maria Vigil

Our Staff

Approximately 175 employees work at the Opportunity Council to bring services to people in Whatcom, Island and San Juan Counties.

     Executive Director: Dave Finet

    Program Directors

  • Energy and Home Repair: John Davies, Director

  • Child Care & Family Resources: Wilanne Ollila-Perry, Director

  • Community Services: Gail DeHoog, Director

  • Early Childhood Opportunities Northwest (ECONW): Dee West, Director

  • Island County Opportunity Council: Lisa Clark, Director

  • The Energy Project: Chuck Eberdt, Manager

    Administrative Staff

Mission Statement

the Opportunity Council is a private, non-profit human services organization that acts as a catalyst for positive change in the community and the lives of the people it serves.

the Opportunity Council's role is to create awareness of the needs of low-income people, engage the community in responding to those needs, and promote institutional sensitivity.

The primary tools for implementing this role are advocacy, coordination and mobilization of human, material and financial resources.

the Opportunity Council will provide direct services, including information, education, and access to resources to assist low income and disadvantaged persons in developing and maintaining self-reliance.

Cornerstones of service delivery will be: respect for the individual and our cultural communities, and a balance between addressing immediate and long term needs.

We need your help!   

Interested in helping  local families who need housing, food, or child care? Agency and/or individual donations are always welcome at any time, and there are a variety of ways you can help:

Volunteer to work in our office. Contact the local Service Center Director to receive information about current volunteer opportunities. (360) 679-6577

Organize a fund raiser, get involved in supporting those who raise funds for the Opportunity Council programs, or give through United Way. Our programs are supported by community groups and churches, local citizens, the Navy, and local and state government. Any amount, no matter how small or large makes a big difference to our organization!

Send a tax-deductible contribution. You may designate your contribution for any program on this web page. Just designate "Island County" and the program of your choice in the memo portion of your check, and mail to: 

                            the Opportunity Council
      P.O. BOX 922                         
                            OAK HARBOR, WA 98277

                                                              Thank you!

Information & Referral  (360) 679-6577

the Opportunity Council is Island County's premier I & R service. We link people in need with appropriate agencies or services in the community to address their needs. Our trained staff and volunteers provide one-on-one direction and assistance in accessing services such as:

     Resources to meet basic needs

Emergency housing / shelter
Legal aid and landlord / tenant law
Health care
Child care
Food banks

     Comprehensive Information

Community referrals
Agency information
Consumer affairs

     Local & Regional Web sites with Resource Information:

NW Regional Partnership Data Base
Whidbey Island Social Services  
WIN 211
searchable data base
Other Resources

Family Services & Homeless Intervention

     Family Services  (360) 679-6577

Case management
long-term goal-setting
Information and Referral
Child care

     Homeless Intervention  (360) 679-6577

Coordination of services
Basic needs
Regain and maintain permanent housing
Information, education and advocacy

Energy Assistance   (360) 679-6577

Financial assistance (LIHEAP & PSE fund support)
Controlling heat costs
Heating system breakdowns
Utility company practices
Energy education

Energy Assistance Programs at the Opportunity Council in Island, San Juan, and Whatcom Counties began November 12. Assistance is given on a first-come, first-serve basis. Call the Opportunity Council office in Oak Harbor at (360) 679-6577

Energy Assistance Programs include LIHEAP (Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program) and Puget Sound Energy HELP (PSE Home Energy Lifeline Program).

These programs make a significant difference in the lives of limited-income families and individuals who are making choices between paying their heating bill or paying rent or buying food. Last year this program helped over 2,000 families in these counties stay warm during the winter.

LIHEAP is a federally funded block grant that provides financial assistance to limited-income, eligible households. Payments are usually made directly to a family’s fuel company. Education about energy conservation and furnace repair is also offered.

PSE HELP is a new program available this year to help people with electric energy expenses.

the Opportunity Council is a nonprofit, community action agency serving Island, San Juan and Whatcom counties. Since 1965, the agency has worked to provide local programs that “help people to change their lives,” including energy assistance, emergency housing, child care and local Head Start/ECEAP programs.

Weatherization & Home Repair  (360) 679-6577

Insulation, weather-stripping
Energy measures and education
Indoor air quality
Minor home repairs
Lead testing / assessments / education

Island County Achievements (1999 – present)

By integrating a wide range of services with other partners in the community, we are able to develop cost-effective solutions to assist people in moving themselves off welfare, out of poverty, towards self-sufficiency, and into healthier and safer living conditions.



* Disclaimer: Neither the Opportunity Council nor any agency, officer, or employee of the Opportunity Council warrants the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information in the Public Access System, and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by such reliance on the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of such information. Portions of such information may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity who relies on any information obtained from the systems, does so at his or her own risk.

edited: October, 2008
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