Zachary DeWolf was born in Havre, Montana, and is a citizen of the Chippewa Cree Nation. In order to help his mother pursue her law degree at Gonzaga University, his family relocated to Spokane, where he attended public schools.
His career in service began at a young age; at seven, his father encouraged him to raise money at school for the March of Dimes. Later, during middle and high school, he volunteered and later worked at the NATIVE Project, helping implement summer programs, a Spring leadership camp, and an after-school wellness program for Native youth.
He attended Western Washington University, where he became the youngest student to become a Resident Advisor (RA) in November of his freshmen year. He was a part of the choir program as well as Western Men Against Violence. In January of 2007, he lost his job as an RA due to his inability to come out as queer and the impacts it had on his life. Following that incident, he became homeless for a period of several months, an experience which profoundly shaped him. Zachary went on to graduate from Western in 2008.
Later, the Peace Corps brought Zachary to Belize, Central America. His main projects in the Peace Corps were providing organization development support to more than 24 local village councils in Orange Walk District. He took on two more projects, one opening a library at St Peters Anglican School as well as teaching himself Braille to support a few visually impaired students. And he started a youth group called, EquAll Belize, a group for LGBTQ, gender-diverse young folks to have a safe space and talk about health and serving their community.
After returning from the Peace Corps, he was hired as a Logistics Coordinator for 2012 Soulforce Equality Ride, a nonviolent direct-action group that traveled with eighteen new friends to protest discrimination against LGBTQ folks at religious colleges and universities across the country, from Philadelphia to San Francisco.
When he finished the Ride, he decided to set roots in Seattle to be near his sister. He lived in an attic apartment in a house with four others for $500. After a few months of struggling to pay rent or afford food, he finally got a job as a barista at Fuel Coffee and a barback at Bastille, biking to work every day. Eventually, he was able to find a part-time job at Krista Foundation for Global Citizenship doing communications.
It was in 2012 when he moved to Capitol Hill that he finally had the capacity and time to pursue his passion for service. He joined the Capitol Hill Community Council where he focused on equity, service, and a commitment to elevating more neighbors’ experience and stories. Because of his leadership, the council raised $1,500 for neighbors experiencing homelessness, partnered with Chinatown/International District to expand L.E.A.D. to both neighborhoods, ensured community priorities were a part of Capitol Hill TOD (transit-oriented development) above the light rail station, piloted pedestrian only streets, created the country’s first Renters Commission, passed a law requiring landlords provide voter registration for new tenants, and took a harm reduction approach and endorsed Supervised Consumption Sites. He quickly became involved with more groups, volunteering up to 25 hours a week, including King County Metro Long-Range Planning Advisory Council, Capitol Hill Eco-District Steering Committee, Capitol Hill Champion, SPD’s Native American Advisory Council, OPARB, GSBA Public Policy Task Force, and South Seattle Emerald Community Advisory Board. Zachary was especially proud to join the Gender Justice League as a board member doing press and communications, and was humbled to help with reviving Trans* Pride Seattle in 2013. In 2014, he was honored to represent the LGBTQ and Native community as 2014 Seattle Pride Parade Grand Marshal.