Vashon Community Care – History

How we became Vashon Community Care – Journey with us through VCC history 

The History of Vashon Community Care

Vashon Community Care has roots dating back to 1928 when Goodwill Industries purchased the Ellsworth Ranch and established a working farm and boarding house for destitute men from “Skid Road” in Seattle. In 1944, Leon and Nell Hebert purchased the farm and continued to run it as “Hebert’s Boarding House.” As the men aged in place they became more frail and unable to take care of themselves, so Nell moved them into the big house where she provided most of their personal care. In response to new State regulations, the Hebert Farm for Men became the Vashon Nursing Home in 1957. Over the years, the nursing home changed hands several more times until 1980 when it became Island Manor Nursing Home with the aging farmhouse as its facility.

Vashon Residents Join Together to Create a Non-Profit Care Center

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving 1995, with increasing regulations and mounting renovation costs, the current owner announced he was closing the nursing home and all residents would have to move to off-island homes by Christmas. Alarmed by the impending closure, a small group of dedicated Vashon residents came together the Sunday following Thanksgiving and formed a community run non-profit organization. They miraculously raised enough money to maintain operations so none of the 27 residents would be forced to leave the island and the process of purchasing the building began.

A Capital Campaign is Launched – A Beautiful New VCC is Created

Early in 1996, State inspectors informed the new non-profit that the condition of the facility (the old farmhouse building) was no longer viable as a home for elders. Thus began the capital campaign to build a new building and once again our island community met the challenge. The Labor of Love Capital Campaign raised two million dollars, and, with the assistance of Providence Health and Services, the fledgling non-profit secured a loan to build Vashon Community Care. The new VCC building opened in August 2002 with 30 skilled nursing beds in Beardsley Terrace and 39 apartments in Aspiri Gardens Assisted Living. Thanks to the Christmas Miracle of 1995, Vashon Community Care opened its doors offering so much more than the old nursing home it replaced.

2018 – A Glimpse into the Future

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In December of 2017, Vashon Community Care affiliated with Puget Sound-based, Transforming Age. Transforming Age is a leading not-for-profit organization committed to improving the lives of older adults through community housing and services, technology development, research and advocacy. Founded in 1956, the organization operates communities in the Seattle area, Minnesota and Nebraska. Transforming Age is formerly known as Presbyterian Retirement Communities Northwest (PRCN.)

The affiliation is a partnership between two non-profit entities in which Transforming Age has taken on the leadership role, managing day-to-day operations and restructuring VCC’s business model to increase revenue while continuing to provide the highest level of care. Under the affiliation, VCC and the VCC Foundation retains its separate 501 (c)(3) status while the Transforming Age board of directors maintains fiduciary, strategic and governance oversight.

As the Island’s aging population grows, VCC looks to the future to expand our opportunities to explore new services, grow capacity, and increase community impact. It’s not every day that we can align our unique Island values and shared mission with a non-profit like Transforming Age. They have invested in our future and our unique Island community. We are stronger together!