Mission & History
Strengthening our community by fostering generosity and connecting people who care with causes that matter.
Pierce County is a thriving, engaged, and caring community.
We are guided by these values as we engage, strengthen, and invest in the Pierce County community.
- Integrity: Greater Tacoma Community Foundation maintains a reputation of trust and stewardship through an honest, accountable, and transparent approach in all of our relationships.
- Leadership: Greater Tacoma Community Foundation values the diverse experience of all community members and takes time to listen and learn from others to inform and guide our work.
- Innovation: Greater Tacoma Community Foundation commits to creative thinking, excellence, and the development of new philanthropic approaches to create positive change.
- Collaboration: Greater Tacoma Community Foundation believes that building effective relationships and working with others for positive impact leads to more powerful and lasting solutions.
We believe that strong relationships lead to a stronger community. Outreach and community conversations, respecting community voice, authentic listening, leading collaboration, these are the ways GTCF participates in the power of civic engagement.
In September 1977, three Tacoma-Pierce County leaders were inspired to create an organization that could support the needs and opportunities of their growing community for generations to come.
On June 1, 1981, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation became officially operational with assets of $10,000 and a commitment from a local private foundation to provide first year administrative funds of $36,000.
By 1983, the GTCF Annual Report promoted a vision that still resonates today:
“A community foundation’s mission is to enhance the quality of community life through the support of a broad range of services necessary to sustain the community: health; education; social welfare; public affairs; arts and culture; conservation and environment.
As a neutral, nonpartisan agency, the community foundation may be a catalyst to convince disparate groups to work together towards a common objective.
Thus, over the years, a community foundation becomes a collection of many stories. Each tells how people have contributed to their community’s philanthropic history.”
GTCF has grown substantially, reaching more than $100 million in total assets, housing more than 450 funds and giving out more than $100 million in grants and scholarships. Through enduring endowed resources, individually directed grants, and community partnerships, GTCF has been a catalyst for positive change.
Nearly four decades later, Pierce County faces pressing challenges and promising opportunities that require innovative and collaborative approaches.
GTCF was built to respond to this evolution of needs:
“The community foundation concept is a recognition of two fundamental facts – first, that certain and constant change takes place in our society and in our attitudes with respect to charity, and – second, that the problems of each generation can be solved better by the best minds of these generations than by those of the past.”
– Cleve A. Redig, 1984 GTCF Board of Trustees President
Our community continues to thrive and grow because of the vision, dedication, and generosity of people who care. GTCF remains committed to carrying on our legacy of providing the resources, funding, and connections to support everyone who believes in a greater future for Pierce County.
- 2020: GTCF and United Way partnered to launch the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Aligned Philanthropic response to COVID-19, raising $7.4 million from hundreds of local donors and funders to support communities vulnerable under COVID-19 conditions.
- 2019: GTCF partnered with the Washington State Office of Financial Management to distribute $800K to support robust 2020 Census outreach in Pierce County.
- 2018: GTCF partnered with Forterra land conservancy in Impact Investing to preserve land in the Hilltop neighborhood for affordable housing development informed by community voice.
- 2018: GTCF partnered with the Pierce County Auditor’s Office to support a complete count for 2020 Census, something which affects federal funding, business development, and civic voice.
- 2017: GTCF and Tacoma Public Schools partnered to receive a four-year grant from The Wallace Foundation to pilot a partnership for Social Emotional Learning between the district and out of school providers as part of the Tacoma Whole Child Partnership.
- 2017: GTCF convened two workshops of more than 100 community leaders to surface ways to improve Women’s Economic Opportunity in Pierce County through the Fund for Women & Girls.
- 2016: Vanguard was selected as the manager of the GTCF endowment investments.
- 2015: Kathi Littmann took the helm as President/CEO.