Nominations Open for 2018 Peace Builder Awards

We're pleased to announce that nominations are now open for the WDRC’s 16th Annual Peace Builder Awards.

What: The WDRC seeks nominations for individuals or groups in Whatcom County that creatively resolved conflict, contributed to peaceful dispute resolution, promoted reconciliation between divergent individuals or groups, or otherwise promoted peace in the past year.
Nomination deadline is Friday, August 10th, 2018
How: Online and printable Peace Builder Awards Nomination forms are at and at the WDRC, located at 13 Prospect Street, Suite 201 in Bellingham. For questions or more information, contact or (360) 676-0122.

Over the last 15 years, more than 150 individuals and groups have received Peace Builder Awards for contributions to peace building in Whatcom County. In 2017, 8 Peace Builder Award recipients were honored, including:

Moonwater and Lindsey Karas at the 2017 Peace Builder Awards

Moonwater and Lindsey Karas at the 2017 Peace Builder Awards

·         The Homeless Outreach Team, Opportunity Council – For showing compassion and providing a great service helping a part of our community meet some of their basic needs.

·         Lindsey Karas, Sterling Meadows – For building understanding between communities and creating a source of empowerment.

·         Portage Bay Partnership, Lummi Nation and Whatcom County Dairy Farmers – For ongoing commitment to building trust and creative problem solving.

·         Bridge BuildersFor creating a safe space for people of different backgrounds and beliefs to come together to connect and learn.

BTV Channel 10 creates short films of each recipient, found on the WDRC’s YouTube Channel. A complete list of past Peace Builder Award Recipients is at

Recipients will be celebrated at the 16th Annual Peace Builder Awards on November 16th, 2018, presented by Peoples Bank. The event’s theme is people putting the pieces together for creative conflict resolution in our neighborhoods, our schools and our community. In addition to the awards, the event features music, dinner, a silent auction, and grand prize raffle. Proceeds of the Gala benefit the WDRC’s mission to provide and promote constructive and collaborative approaches to conflict through mediation, training, facilitation and community education.

“I invite everyone in Whatcom County to help us recognize those community members who inspire collaboration, embody peace, and give hope to our community.” -WDRC Executive Director, Moonwater.

Welcome to Mediator Practicum student Laura Todd!

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Laura has over 25 years’ experience in leadership development, coaching and training in large companies, non-profit organizations, and entrepreneurial organizations. She helps teams and groups come together through retreats, expert facilitation, and transformative workshops. Laura coaches leaders and their teams to create a symphony of success.  Laura has an M.A. in Education, Counseling and Guidance, B.A. in Psychology and is certified as a Co-Active Coach.  Laura lives in Bellingham with her family and is found practicing yoga, hiking and biking on the local trails.

You can find more about Laura at


Welcome to Board member Stephen Gockley!

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Stephen retired in 2016 from a career as a civil legal aid lawyer, representing low-income persons to preserve rights to housing, necessary physical and mental health care, reasonable accommodations for disabilities, and other safety-net protections to meet basic needs.  Because his clients would often have a continuing relationship with the other party, he always sought durable resolutions that both parties could respectfully agree on together.  He greatly appreciates that this same positive approach underlies WDRC’s various services.  In retirement, Stephen serve on public bodies working to reduce incarceration and to develop innovative ways to improve the health status of both individuals and communities.  To him, WDRC provides similar systemic, constructive opportunities for change in Whatcom County and he is honored to join the board and promote those efforts.

WDRC Executive Director Wins Professional Woman of the Year Award

We are pleased to announce that Whatcom Women in Business (WWIB) has recognized Moonwater, the WDRC’s Executive Director, with its Professional Woman of the Year award. 

Moonwater was one of six finalists to be considered for the award, which was presented at the WWIB’s annual banquet and auction on October 24, 2017. The Banquet is one of the primary ways that WWIB celebrates the accomplishments of women in the community. The Professional Woman of the Year award is given annually to a woman who strives for and exemplifies the four values honored by WWIB: Leadership, Professionalism, Mentorship, and Community Involvement. 

In response to the honor, Moonwater said, “I am both honored and humbled by the recognition from Whatcom Women in Business. My fellow finalists are outstanding professionals in their own right, and I remain in awe of how many powerful, change-making leaders we have in Whatcom County!”

Moonwater has served as the Executive Director for the Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center since 2005, and she possesses more than 18 years of experience in the field of dispute resolution. She is the lead instructor for the WDRC’s 40 hour Professional Mediation Training, and provides customized conflict management training to numerous nonprofit organizations, tribal departments, local governments, businesses, and associations. She has trained thousands of individuals in effective conflict management skills. 

Previous recognition Moonwater has received includes: her appointment by the Whatcom County Council to serve on the Incarceration Prevention and Reduction Task Force, her appointment to the Domestic Violence Commission, her appointment to the Secretary of State’s Charities Advisory Council, being awarded the Liberty Bell Award by the Whatcom County Bar Association, and being honored with a Ken Glass Community Builder Award. In addition, in 2014, the WDRC was selected as the Bellingham-Whatcom Chamber of Commerce’s Nonprofit of the Year. 

Director's Report: October 2017

Greetings friends,

As we approach year’s end, I’ve found myself taking a moment each day to reground myself in the Center’s mission, and the important work we have before us as a community. As a sense of divisiveness permeates the media, our conversations, and our consciousness, the need for constructive, collaborative, and innovative approaches to conflict become even more imperative. Action is critical. 

How are we taking action? Our Board is working diligently to update our strategic plan in order to ensure a vibrant future for the WDRC, and our staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to meet all of the requests for service. We are continuing our search for a new office space that will allow us to grow, bolster our accessibility, and continue to provide a warm and welcoming space for all. We are connecting with partners to explore creative ways to meet community needs. We are reaching out to our elected officials to raise awareness of our services.  We are reflecting on the beauty and strength within our community, and we are listening to the diversity of voices and people we are here to serve.  

Thank you for joining with us to take action toward a healthier, stronger, more resilient community by building peace – one person, one conversation at a time.

WDRC Executive Director

Thank you, board member Renae Ingraham!

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A longtime WDRC supporter (and former staff member, too!) Renae brought incredible enthusiasm, energy and ideas to our Board. We will miss her greatly as she changes her role with us in order to spend more time with her kiddos and her growing real estate business. Thank you, Renae!

'Tools for Tough Conversations' Gains National Recognition

'Tools for Tough Conversations' Gains National Recognition

A national Tools for Tough Conversations program launched this May 25, 2017 though the partnership of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, a 25-year leader in international peacebuilding, and Mary Dumas & Associates, Inc, a mediation, facilitation, and public engagement firm working with private and public clients in Washington and across the U.S.

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Director's Report, July 2017

Director's Report, July 2017

My deepest gratitude to all of you who were able to join us on June 15th for our 25th anniversary luncheon. Northwood Hall was abuzz with court personnel, attorneys, mediators, founders, volunteers, and other community supporters as we sought to honor our past, celebrate our present, and inspire the future with an engaging keynote by Magistrate Judge Paula McCandlis. More than $10,000 was raised in support of the WDRC! Those precious dollars will serve the community well as we continue to grow – adding new programs, expanding our reach, and serving more people. I am so pleased that after 25 years, we now...

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