PHOTO: National Guard members prepare boxes at a Nourish Pierce County food bank location   

GTCF is spotlighting areas of need that have been surfaced through PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED, an aligned philanthropic response to COVID-19 and the necessary public health measures to address it. 

Even before COVID-19, food access was an area of need for many Pierce County residents.  1 in 7 adults and 1 in 5 children in our community are food insecure, and over 60,000 students in Pierce County receive free or reduced-cost meals at school. That need is now projected to more than double as a result of lost wages and jobs due to COVID-19 and health measures to mitigate its spread.  Based on United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates. 

While the need is great, individuals and organizations are already stepping up to address it. "This community has always worked together in creative and unconventional ways, and it's in moments like this that we see that paying off."


PHOTO: The MultiCare Foundation's Hope Grows Here project encourages people, from the safety of their homes, to join them by volunteering and making contributions that support family, friends and neighbors.

GTCF is spotlighting areas of need that have been surfaced through PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED, an aligned philanthropic response to COVID-19 and the necessary public health measures to address it.  

For more than a decade, housing prices in Pierce County have continued to rise at a much faster rate than the wages of most residents. From 2012-2017 the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment increased by 49%, while the increase in average median household income was only 4.4%. As a result of this disparity, accessing affordable housing and shelter has become increasingly difficult. 

Over 40% of renters in the City of Tacoma alone are classified as "rent burdened", and over 12,000 Pierce County residents experienced homelessness in the past year.  Now, in the face of a pandemic that requires citizens to shelter in place, the need for access to adequate housing in our community has become more evident than ever. 

 "This pandemic is teaching us that housing is necessary not only for individual health, but for public health, if you don't have secure housing all other outcomes are in danger."  


PHOTO: Student at a Tacoma Public Schools Day Camp, via Snapology

 While schools across the state are operating remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tacoma Public Schools, GTCF, and numerous Tacoma Whole Child partners shifted their focus from aligning in-school and afterschool Social Emotional Learning to providing Emergency Day Camps for children of first responders, hospital staff, and other essential workers.  

Though they've had to adapt many aspects of their programs to comply with Department of Health guidelines, Whole Child partners have made an effort to continue emphasizing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) activities at the Day Camps to help support students.   

"I feel like the SEL work is so important, especially during this time, to help students navigate through something like this, because it's a different kind of experience...the SEL work is really important in helping them express how they feel and not be so scared about it."  


GTCF board member and retired CEO of The Russell Family Foundation, Richard Woo, has seen the impact unrestricted giving can have, especially in times of crisis. Woo explains that "trust-based philanthropy", as a growing number of funders call the approach,  "acknowledges that the organizations, leaders, and residents closest to the emergent issues and their solutions are best qualified to maximize needed resources."

National philanthropy expert Bruce DeBoskey also emphasized trust as a key factor in effective giving during COVID-19. He also recommended "deepening local giving, keeping an eye on longer term needs, and taking time to "reflect on how we consume, share, collaborate, invest, and give to our near and far neighbors."

PHOTO: Greg Tanbara and his daughter sit in front of The Japanese Language School, his childhood home now memorialized on the University of Washington Tacoma campus. 

In our latest annual book of Pierce County Partners, we share stories and insights from individuals and organizations who are making a difference in Pierce County. In their own words, they speak about the dreams and lessons that fuel their work in the community.

Greg Tanbara's family has a long history of service to the community in Tacoma.  His father opened a private medical practice here in 1955, and later partnered with local legend Jim Walton to open a clinic in Salishan where Dr. Tanbara treated patients in the evening. In 2009, Community Health Care constructed a new health care center that serves Tacoma's Eastside neighborhood and beyond. The Kimi and George Tanbara, MD Health Center is named after Greg's parents.

Greg was a GTCF board member in the early nineties and currently serves on the GTCF Board Alumni Committee. "The Alumni Board allows me to spend time with people I like and respect, and together we draw on our collective memory of working together to get things done."

Upcoming Virtual Fundraisers

Postponed/Cancelled Fundraisers 

The events listed below have been postponed or cancelled in order to aide by current public health guidelines.

(originally scheduled for May 13)

(originally scheduled for May 29)

During this time, GTCF encourages donors to increase support to their causes and organizations and contribute even if planned fundraising events are cancelled. 

GTCF is donating the ticket price of any cancelled events GTCF already committed to attend and will double the donation GTCF intended to make at the event.