Dr. Rick Allen, Author
About the Author
A leading proponent in helping to aggressively expand community-based nonprofit Early Childhood Development programs in Pierce County, WA, and statewide, Allen was frequently asked to testify on the subject before the State Legislature. The successful early childhood community collaboration he was instrumental in establishing in Pierce County remains active today, as do many of the early childhood programs in other Washington State communities.
Allen was recognized by the Washington Association for the Education of Young Children as an “Outstanding Community-based Advocate for Children” in Washington State.
Allen was also named in 2001 as one of the first Business Leaders of the Year in Pierce County, Washington State, a community approaching one million. He was selected by the University of Washington-Tacoma School of Business in partnership with the Business Examiner News Group.
Allen worked in the nonprofit field as President/CEO of United Way of Pierce County, Washington for 20 years, a community approaching one million. He earlier served eight years as the Director of the Pierce County Community Action Agency and over two years with the Washington State Department of Community Development. He and his staff worked predominantly with families in distress.
He was twice selected by his peers as president of different state-wide associations, United Ways of Washington and the Washington State Community Action Association. During his tenure he focused work in both associations on helping their local organizations become more effective in advocacy, especially around early childhood development issues, at the community level and collectively at the state level.
Allen had earlier been selected by the National Community Action Foundation for a Congressional Lobbying Internship in Washington, D.C., and later was named by the Tacoma Weekly as Tacoma, Washington’s “Most Effective Advocate.”
Allen was also asked to serve on the team that helped develop the curriculum for the Seattle University Masters in Nonprofit Leadership program.
Selected as chair of the Washington State citizen advisory committee on welfare reform (the Family Independence Program), Allen traveled across the state to meet and learn from families in economic distress as well as state workers assigned to assist those families; his Community Action team won a national Housing and Urban Development (HUD) award for innovation in “welfare to work” design. The HUD award included a presentation in Washington, D.C. to the other states, with the Vice President of the United States as moderator of the panel. Parts of the design were later incorporated into Washington State’s welfare programs.
Allen holds a BA in journalism from Eastern Washington University, an MA in Communication from Ohio University, a second MA and a Doctorate in Public Administration from the University of Southern California.
His history also includes diverse experiences in “different worlds,” including:
Bailing hay on an Eastern Washington farm, dishwasher and night janitor in a large restaurant, laying railroad track in central Oregon (a “gandy dancer”), and working construction in Pullman, Washington and Lewiston, Idaho
Army Infantry Officer (Captain, Airborne) during the Vietnam era; Battalion Intelligence Officer
11 years in higher education administration, including acting as Vice President and Dean of Student Life at Pacific Lutheran University
Manager of Washington State Housing Programs during the development and start-up of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission and the Governor’s Statewide Housing Conference
Founder and owner of two small businesses, one art-related (Graphic Art Associates) and the other, wine shops with his brother John.
Focusing on early childhood development is vital for children and for our society. Research has demonstrated facilitating low-stress/high-engagement environments at the earliest ages builds strong, confident learners, who as adults,