In October, PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED distributed $355K to 15 local organizations addressing persistent community needs under COVID-19 conditions.

Jessie Palmer, Senior Association Development Director, YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties, "The COVID-19 pandemic is significantly affecting families on the Key Peninsula. Working from home is not an option for many families, leaving them to deal with the difficult choice of managing work and caregiving responsibilities. Some students are weeks or even months behind in learning due to a lack of internet access."

In addition to funding distance learning efforts led by YMCA Camp Seymour, PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funds will support a landscape scan and research to help stakeholders better understand the emerging connectivity and technology needs, gaps, and uses across Pierce County.

Timm Dowling, Director of Development, Pierce County Project Access, "The persistent conditions of COVID-19 add to the barriers of those we serve in accessing affordable healthcare. Our clients often have underlying health conditions and are more vulnerable to COVID-19. Therefore, our referred patients are even less likely to attempt to access the care they need, resulting in even worse health outcomes and more expensive emergency treatments. So, in addition to worrying about cost or confusion on where to go, our patients now must also consider protection against COVID-19.
"Nearly half of health insurance coverage is tied to an employer sponsored plan. As unemployment rises, we anticipate an increase in the number of those without health insurance. This decrease in health coverage disproportionately affects women and people of color."

Lois Bernstein, Chief Community Executive, MultiCare, PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding Committee member, "I have been in the community for over 22 years, and thought I had a pretty good handle on the not-for-profit organizations in our communities that provide care, services and support to residents. I was surprised about the number of organizations that are doing really good work in the community, that are new to me. I have been particularly impressed with the organizations that have formed to meet specific needs that community members have identified as critical to their well-being."

PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED is an aligned philanthropic response to COVID-19 in Pierce County. 356 individual donors and 55 regional funders have contributed over $7.4 million to the fund, with $5.35 million already being distributed back to local organizations addressing urgent and emerging needs related to COVID-19. 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation featured Tacoma's COVID-19 Response, including PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED, in a recent national report on community collaboration, SENTINEL COMMUNITIES INSIGHTS.
Click here to download the PDF report

Make Civic Engagement Personal To Make It Last

IMAGE: From paintings to beadwork, Tribal artists bridge past traditions with new traditions, like civic engagement and voting. Artist: Cindy Chischilly - Native ACTION Network

Jennifer Keating, Land Use Planner for Puyallup Tribe of Indians, and her family maintain a family voting tradition during election season. But, Jennifer didn't always have the same drive towards civic engagement as she has today. 
Voting during the presidential elections was the extent of Jennifer's engagement until she saw the issues her people faced through her work with the Puyallup Tribe of Indians, "All the things I assumed were recognized, acknowledged, and respected like Tribal Treaty Rights, Fishing Rights, Cultural Resource Protection, Tribal Sovereignty were not. It wasn't until I started working in Planning and Land Use that I realized how horribly wrong I was."

IMAGE: With support from community partnerships, programs like online ELO are able to support students in their development. 

Creating a space for students to actively engage with each other through their screens has been one of the primary goals as Tacoma Whole Child partners transitioned from providing in-person Expanded Learning Opportunities at school sites to an online platform this fall. 

"We recognize how hungry young people are to engage with each other right now." said Megan Smedsrud, GTCF Whole Child Senior Program Officer. "With schools under tremendous pressure to keep kids learning, there isn't as much time for play.  There is no recess, there is no lunch time. Students are missing those spaces where they can just be silly and goofy together."

PHOTO: Symphony Tacoma violinist Li Ling Lao and education program coordinator and Assistant Principal Bass Dr. Anna Jensen perform a Zoom demonstration and Q&A with a middle school music class.    

When the subject of this year's Giving Tuesday - an annual movement started in 2012 to encourage giving - came up, Mary Hammond thought, "Why wait until December?" As a Symphony Tacoma ex-officio board member anticipating the October 18 gala, Mary saw an opportunity to encourage others to give that was a better fit for her strategy.
"2020 may be the year to stretch yourself. Step up to some of the immediate needs caused by this pandemic."  

The People's Gathering is a personal/professional development learning experience that provides a supportive space in which participants can engage in frank and open dialogue about race and racial disparities that are systemically present in work, school and everyday life. 

This special edition of the People's Gathering will welcome a keynote speech from Rep. Pramila Jayapal.  Elected in 2016, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal is now serving her second term in Congress, representing Washington's 7th District, which encompasses most of Seattle and its surrounding areas. She is the first South Asian American woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and one of only 14 naturalized citizens currently serving in the United States Congress. 

Anyone can register for The People's Gathering. 

Upcoming Virtual Fundraisers