"Mari’s piece is a reflection of the growth and beauty that can occur when we trust ourselves, each other and our greater community, particularly in times of challenge and transition.” - Emily Ager of Fern Lactation (Formerly Fern + Foster), Hilltop. Artist: Mari Shibuya, Communication

Learn more about GTCF's Social Media Community Cover Photo Project

PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funds Provide Supports for Community Needs Under Persistent COVID-19 Conditions


With over $770K distributed so far in 2021, PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED, an aligned philanthropic response to COVID-19 in Pierce County, has continued to provide funding support for local organizations addressing persistent community needs under COVID-19 conditions.

Janece Levien, M.Ed, Senior Program Officer, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding Committee Member, “Almost one year into the health pandemic, we have also seen the elevated tensions and impacts of system inequalities, racial injustices and a polarized political climate. Many in our community are still struggling, or struggling more and more, from basic needs to mental health to social isolation and lack of safety and security. The needs of individuals and families across Pierce County are being exacerbated.

“Meanwhile, nonprofit partners continue to address immediate and urgent gaps while they are stretched extremely thin and are facing limited resources. We recognize that the community will feel the impacts of this health pandemic for years to come. It will take all of us coming together to create an equitable path forward.”

Michelle Douglas, Executive Director, Emergency Food Network, “The Pierce County Connected funding has been instrumental in helping Emergency Food Network meet the continually growing, up nearly 40%, needs of food insecure households. This support combined with other funds has increased our food distribution power to over 17 million pounds in 2020, allowed our food pantry partners to serve over $1.8 million in visits, and has supported our new home delivery program expansion to more than 300 families weekly.”

Jake Nau, Shelter Project Manager, Comprehensive Life Resource, “We’ve seen an already underserved population have to make do with less services and fewer opportunities. Never has it been harder to house homeless young people and never has it been more challenging to keep them safely sheltered in a congregate facility then during this pandemic.


$585K in PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding Goes to Food Security and Hygienic Needs Under Persistent COVID-19 Conditions (January 28, 2021)

Behavioral Health and Housing Supports Among COVID-19 Needs Supported By $187K in PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding (January 14, 2021)

COVID-19 Conditions Strain School Districts and Nonprofit Partners as More Youth and Families Experience Homelessness


School districts across Pierce County rely on community partner support to meet the needs of homeless students, as required by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Act.

Under COVID-19 conditions, school districts are seeing those needs grow beyond their resources. “We already know at least 1 out of 3 kids are living in a home where there is significant financial need without COVID. Under COVID, we are seeing more and more families have lost their jobs and can’t make ends meet.”

PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funding supported nonprofit partners working in the Bethel, White River, Sumner-Bonney Lake, Key Peninsula, Eatonville, and Tacoma school districts. However, the scale of need that school districts are trying to meet under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act exceeds the capacity of districts, nonprofits, and philanthropy.

Learn why local school districts are asking for more innovative solutions

Greentrike to Lead Community Effort for Equitable Access to Expanded Learning Opportunities

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On March 1, 2021 Pierce County education and advocacy organization, Greentrike, began leading Out-of-School Time Intermediary (OSTI) efforts to improve access and quality of Expanded Learning Opportunities for local youth.

GTCF Senior Program Officer Fahren Johnson, who led much of the OSTI development work over the past several years, joined the team at Greentrike as Director of Strategic Initiatives. In this role Fahren is working directly with Tanya Durand, Greentrike Executive Director, to seek and fill spots in the community where play, positive adult interactions, and engaging environments can make big differences for children, youth, and families.

Seth Kirby, VP Community Impact, GTCF “How a community engages, listens to, and supports its children and young people says a great deal about a community’s values, aspirations, and vision. Greentrike’s decision to step into this OSTI leadership role is yet another example of how our community values and nurtures young people and their futures. However, we also know that it will take systems, providers, funders, and families all coming together with Greentrike and districts to ensure that young people of all ages have equitable access to school and Expanded Learning Opportunities.”

Find out how Greentrike's new OSTI role supports equitable Expanded Learning Opportunities for local children and youth

Government Volume, Philanthropic Flexibility Ensure CARES Act Dollars Reach Pierce County Residents


Even with a massive infusion of federal dollars, getting money to those who need it most isn’t easy. When Pierce County received $158 million in CARES Act funding last summer, the money came with a tight deadline to get it out to the community: December 31, 2020.  

In addition to the quick turnaround time, another challenge emerged for local nonprofits to received funds. Pierce County government contracts with nonprofits are reimbursement-only, a restriction informed by Washington State's Gift of Public Funds Doctrine. That means contracted service providers are reimbursed for actual expenses upon the receipt of invoices and proof of payment. A nonprofit must first spend the contracted amount before they can receive the payment for the expenses. 

To help nonprofits, Pierce County increased contractor reimbursement processing from monthly billing to 2-4 times per month. Even with that change, nonprofits struggle. 

Read more to see how philanthropic and government sectors partnered to reduce barriers to distributing CARES Act funding in Pierce County

Dr. Jerry and Elaine Ramsey: A Historical Legacy to Set the Record Straight

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Dr. Jerry Ramsey and his late wife, Elaine, were true lovers of Tacoma long before it became the hottest housing market in the nation. Through their work as educators and authors, they built connections to the region’s history. As engaged community members, they also built lasting supports for generations to come. 

As part of his commitment to preserving local history, Dr. Jerry Ramsey donated his copyright and earnings for his book, Stealing Puget Sound, to the DuPont Historical Society. Dr. Jerry said this, “helps me keep my book out there and not have to do any of the work and in turn it benefits the kind of work my book represents through the historical society.”

Dr. Jerry believes that a lot of history gets lost and twisted. What drove him as a historian was to uncover the truth, even if the truth was not always pretty. He hopes that part of the legacy of his and Elaine’s work as historians and educators is to encourage people to “ask why” and to “do our research”..  

Find out how Dr. Jerry and Elaine partnered with GTCF to create endowed funds that will benefit several local nonprofits forever

GTCF's Socially Responsible Investment Pool Amplifies Your Philanthropic Impact


GTCF's Socially Responsible Investment Pool (SRI) seeks to generate competitive, long-term returns through investments that focus on companies with positive social impact. Stewardship of the pool fund includes three criteria or factors to screen investments: environmental, social, and governance.

Connect with GTCF's Philanthropy Team to learn how you can make an impact with Socially Responsible Investing

Upcoming Virtual Fundraising Events

April 20, Sisters Rising Virtual Movie & Program - Rebuilding Hope!

April 26, 2021 Gala - Your Money Matters Mentoring

May 5, Community Voices Spring Fundraiser - Degrees of Change

May 12, 38th Annual Celebration Luncheon - YWCA

If your organization has an upcoming fundraising event, be sure to share it on the GTCF Community Calendar

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