Mission & History

Our Mission

Strengthening our community by fostering generosity and connecting people who care with causes that matter.

Our Vision

Pierce County is a thriving, engaged and caring community.

Our Values

We approach our work with a strategy that seeks to engage, invest in, and strengthen our community. Our overarching grantmaking strategy is based on community input and built upon our cornerstone pillars of equity and quality, driven by our values of integrity, leadership, collaboration, and innovation. Additionally, we intentionally create opportunities where we can continue to foster community impact through relationships.

  • Integrity: The Community Foundation maintains a reputation of trust and stewardship through an honest, accountable, and transparent approach in all of our relationships.
  • Leadership: The 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: The Community Foundation commits to creative thinking, excellence and the development of new philanthropic approaches to create positive change.
  • Collaboration: The Community Foundation believes that building effective relationships and working with others for positive impact leads to more powerful and lasting solutions.

Our Beliefs

We believe that interconnections and relationships will lead to a stronger community and that it is important to be present and to have community presence – valuing outreach and community conversations; in respecting community voice – authentic listening as well as leading an effort; and in the power of civic engagement.


1st Board of TrusteesIn September 1977, three members of the Tacoma/Pierce County community believed that their area would benefit from a community foundation. Inspired to create an organization that gave people the opportunity to provide support for those in need in their community, they applied for and received a Certificate of Incorporation establishing Greater Tacoma Community Foundation.

The three incorporators and six other persons comprised the original Board of Trustees:

George L. Davis, Jr.
William R. Gregory
Byron Johnston
Arleigh T. Jones
Cleve A. Redig
Lawrence M. Ross
John P. Wallerich
Ann Wiborg

The board met infrequently until a part-time Executive Director, Paul C. Bender, was hired in 1981.

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.

Since being established in 1981, the Community Foundation 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.

GTCF Historical Timeline

Below is a quick historical timeline that walks you through significant milestones in the Community Foundation’s 35 years of history. Be sure to click on the image to make it larger.