History and Structure
The Bulgarian community is a growing part of the rich tapestry of ethnic communities in the Pacific Northwest. As of 2012, it numbers about three thousand people in the greater Seattle area.
Although the idea for establishing a Bulgarian cultural organization was present for years, the final impetus for realizing it came during the organization of the Bulgarian Cultural Focus at the 2011 NW Folklife Festival in Seattle. The Bulgarian culture and history presented during the four days of the festival were met with great interest from the local community and with enthusiastic and emotional response from the local Bulgarians. This prompted the members of the organizing committee Elka Rouskov, Teodora Minkova and Evgenia Angelova to create an organization to support and promote Bulgarian culture.
The Bulgarian Cultural and Heritage Center of Seattle was founded in June 2011 by establishment of a Board of Directors and development of organizational bylaws and mission statement. BCHCS was registered as a non–profit organization with the Secretary of Washington State in July 2011 and received federal 501(c)(3) non-profit status in 2012. The Bulgarian Cultural and Heritage Center of Seattle also uses the following trade names: BCHCS, Bulgarian Cultural and Heritage Center, and BCHC.
The Board of Directors includes Bulgarians and friends of Bulgaria who volunteer their time and efforts to promote Bulgarian culture, bring the Bulgarian community together, preserve Bulgarian heritage and traditions, and support local and guest artists. The board membership has changed over the years. As of July 2014, the board consists of 9 voting members. The Board of Directors has four elected officers (president, vice- or co-president, treasurer, and secretary), who are elected annually by the members of the board.
An Advisory Council consults, advises, and supports the Board of Directors in maintaining cultural programs and organizing events. As in the case of the Board of Directors, the members of the Advisory Council are volunteers.
All programs, projects and events organized by BCHCS are realized with generous support and volunteers from the local community. This is the most important reason for our existence – having many good people working together for a good cause!