PHOTO: Expanded Learning Coordinator Kayla Stewart with students at an after-school gardening program

Students at 12 Tacoma elementary schools now have on-site access to Expanded Learning Opportunities like visual and performing arts, dance, robotics, STEM, mentorship, sports and more.    These programs-which take place before, during, and after school-provide a safe place for students to learn new skills, build positive relationships, and connect with their community. 

This shared work is powered by the Tacoma Whole Child partnership, a community-wide effort to ensure every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.  Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Tacoma Public Schools, and numerous community partners are working together to expand this partnership by providing aligned, equitable, high quality social, emotional and academic development opportunities to students in and out of school.

South Sound Business Magazine recently visited GTCF CEO & President Kathi Littmann to learn more about our work and vision. They feature their interview in this month's issue, saying:
"GTCF does more than simply administer donor-funded grants. The organization is a resource and knowledge base for individuals and businesses who want to engage in philanthropy and charitable giving."
"Indeed, when someone approaches GTCF to set up a donor fund, the first things Littmann and her team want to know are what they care about, what they want to see in the community, and what things give them joy. From there, GTCF tries to figure out how to leverage what a donor wants along with what others in the community need. 
"We've got a whole bunch of different tools in our kit," Littman said. "We are connected to those (people and organizations) that are actually doing all the work.  We make the introductions." 
While some microgrants are a hassle, in this Nonprofit Quarterly article, GTCF is recognized for Spark Grants helping catalyze community leadership in developing new ideas to address acute issues: 

"Often these types of nascent community efforts seek to impact groups and issues that are underrepresented. By accessing microgrants, these initiatives gain critical capacity to explore issues, develop interventions, assess the scope of the need, and implement projects that benefit underserved communities and neighborhoods.

"One example is the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, which has a microgrant program called Spark Grants, a program born out of a community gathering in 2011 featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Spark grants are made to individuals and are "designed to bring people-powered ideas and dreams to life in Pierce County, sparking positive social and neighborhood change through the efforts of grass-roots leadership." While the program supports individuals, it also provides much-needed support to start-up nonprofits."  
PHOTO: Eastside Community Center Pool (via Eastside Community Center Facebook) 

Whether you're a community member looking for a place to volunteer or a nonprofit leader wanting to learn more about how local organizations are addressing important issues, site visits are a great way to learn more about existing needs and how you can get involved in meeting them.

In October, the White River Hometowns Fund, established by longtime Buckley resident Marydale Brooks, distributed its first round of annual grants to organizations making a positive impact in the White River community.

PHOTO: Executive Director Sue Potter with a volunteer at one of Nourish Pierce County's mobile food banks

At Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, we've seen how much more we can accomplish when we work together.  Since 1981, community members have shared their commitment to a thriving Pierce County by partnering with GTCF to bring their vision to life and build a legacy for future generations.  In our 2018 yearbook, Pierce County Partners, a few of our partners shared their lessons and insights from working to strengthen Pierce County.

Nourish Pierce County feeds 74,000 people in Pierce County through innovative services and has a vision to create pathways to move people from scarcity into security. Part of ensuring long-term organizational sustainability for that vision included placing its endowment funds with GTCF.

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