The Douglass Community Association, named in honor of Frederick Douglass, was founded in 1919 to address the social, recreational, and cultural needs of African American soldiers stationed at Fort Custer and their families returning to segregated Kalamazoo from World War I.

In 1964, the DCA was recognized as a social service agency. After working out of several locations in the northside neighborhood, the Douglass moved to its current facility on W. Paterson in 1982. 

Throughout its history, the Douglass has served individuals in the Northside neighborhood, as well as the greater Kalamazoo community as a center for social, recreational, and community development activities.

“I am proud to say that I am a product of the Douglass Community Association. I grew up on the Northside of town in Kalamazoo and back in the early 1990’s when crack cocaine hit my neighborhood it had an affect on the majority of all the young black boys that I had grown up with. The Douglass provided many of us an opportunity to stay positive and gave us a place to go to get out of the streets. As a young man I participated in most of the activities and development programs that the Douglass had to offer and later after completing high school and attending college the Douglass assisted me in gaining employment through the midnight basketball league. In short the Douglass meant alot to me and many others in my community and I know for certain that without the Douglass Community Association I would probably be dead or in prison. I have a Electronic Engineering Technology Degree and  currently work as an  Electric Field Engineer for Consumers Energy, I  am also an Author ( Reverend Hype ), a father of three and a devoted husband  and I still reside on the Northside of Kalamazoo where I try to have a positive impact in my community.”

Raymond Ryan


Being a leader in achieving racial equality and social justice

Identifying unmet needs and finding resources and services to meet them within the scope of DCA’s mission

 Promoting the positive effects of youth recreational activities on educational achievement and on physical, mental, and spiritual health 

The Douglass provides a safe and welcoming environment to the community and serves as a convenient resource hub in the heart of the Northside.

Mr. Sidney Ellis, MBA

Mr. Sidney Ellis, MBA

Executive Director


Image credit Encore Publications/Brian K. Powers

Executive Director

“I’m excited about working with community members and collaborating with other organizations to build on a 100 year tradition of producing programming that equip our youth, adults and families of the Northside to help reach their full potential.  We will continue to communicate to our community the exceptional programming that currently exists.  Douglass programming includes being a community distribution site for the St. Luke’s Diaper Bank, to Momentum of Urban Alliance, to Girls Inventing Real Life Solutions (G.I.R.L.S).  In other words, programming at the Douglass is fulfilling our vision to ensure that effective, efficient and quality opportunities are available for the development of families on the Northside of Kalamazoo.”


Robert Terrentine

Robert Terrentine

Office Manager

Toney Patterson

Toney Patterson

Custodial Coordinator

Prentice Hearn

Prentice Hearn


David Doss

David Doss





Deveta Gardener, PH.D. Acting Director Career Development and Academic Succes, Western Michigan University

Vice Chair

Mark Hill, Principal, Phoenix High School, Kalamazoo Public Schools


Kevin Davis, Business Owner/Tax Preparation


Antonia Kennedy, Constituent Service Representative, Veteran Advocate, Office of Congressman Fred Upton



Kevin Ford, Shared Prosperity Kalamazoo (SPK) Coordinator, Community Planning & Economic Development Department, City of Kalamazoo

De Vanne Burch, Sr., Quality Engineer, Motus Integrated Technology

Dr. Robert Wertkin, Professor Chair of School of Interdisciplinary Health Services Western Michigan University



Visit Us

1000 W. Paterson Street

Kalamazoo, MI 49007

269.343.6185 Tel


Office Hours
Monday – Friday
8AM – 5PM
Saturday – Sunday: Closed

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