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WCF / Place


In our work to advance Whatcom County, we strive to cultivate curiosity and continuous learning of our shared place.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, an art lover, or someone seeking a vibrant community with natural beauty, Whatcom County offers a diverse range people, experiences and attractions that make it a wonderful place to live.

What does Whatcom mean?

Whatcom is a word derived from the Lummi language, which is a Salishan language spoken by the Lummi people of the Lummi Nation. The Lummi word “Xwotʼqom” refers to a particular location near the mouth of the Nooksack River, which flows into Bellingham Bay in Whatcom County, Washington.

Over time, the name “Whatcom” came to be used to refer to the entire area around Bellingham Bay, and eventually to the county itself.

Land Acknowledgment

Our commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Whatcom County declared racism a public health crisis  in 2022 – acknowledging racism was built into societal systems, and by changing these systems everyone’s quality of life will improve.

The Community Foundation works with community partners through formal and informal processes to eliminate inequities. We’re part of a multi-community racial equity learning co-hort. We strive to shift power to communities of color, create systems-level change, and center voices and experiences of people historically marginalized.

The Racial Equity Institute’s Groundwater Approach guides our community: racial inequity looks the same across all systems; socioeconomic differences do not explain racial inequity; and, inequities are caused by systems, regardless of cultural or behavior.