Community Center Shanghai was founded in 1998 as the Concordia Family Center, a service center of Concordia International School Shanghai (CISS). The purpose of this center was to enhance family and community life for parents of CISS students. Activities were primarily planned and executed by Concordia staff and faculty members, alongside numerous volunteers. In 2000, Rose Koopman was called to serve as the first Director of the Family Center.
By late 2001, the Family Center Board was led to change the name from Concordia Family Center to Community Center of CISS, reflecting the desire to reach out to all international residents of the rapidly developing Pudong District. New directors, Paul & Jeannie McKean, led the move of the center to a new location in the Beverly Hills neighborhood in 2002, and continued the development of services.
Under new directors, Nate & Christina Showalter, the name of the center was changed to Community Center Shanghai, while still retaining a close relationship with Concordia International School of Shanghai through continued financial contributions, facilities support, staffing, accounting, and connections with the local government. The center expanded its scope of services across the river in the fall of 2005 to serve the larger Shanghai international community through collaboration with Shanghai Christian Fellowship. The Showalters also led another move of the center to Royal Gardens at about the same time, which afforded a larger space for the significantly expanded services they developed in Pudong.
Community Center Shanghai opened a second center in Puxi in the Summer of 2007 at the Sun-Tec Medical Center. Concurrently, services had developed in Pudong such that an even larger location was needed, and the Pudong Center was moved to the Green Hills Clubhouse.
With numerous accomplishments during their tenure as Directors of Community Center Shanghai, the Showalters were eventually called to other service in 2008. James Weidner, along with his wife Christina and their four children, accepted the call to serve internationals in China. The Puxi Center moved to the Hongqiao Golf Villas in the summer of 2008 for a temporary stay, and as of 2009 enjoys a location in an office building near the lively Hongmei Lu in Hongqiao.
James Weidner decided to move on in 2011 and was replaced by Stella Si as Executive Director. Stella leads a team of professionals alongside an experienced board with generous volunteers to continue the work of those who came before them. CCS has since come to Minhang and is now serving more than 10,000 international families. CCS uniquely addresses the growing needs of the international community while building bridges to local communities and citizens.