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Partnering for Experiential Learning: Fort Nisqually Foundation, GTCF Agency Fundholder

Filed Under: Strengthening Pierce County - Posted @ 6:46pm

Over the past 38 years, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation has seen Pierce County grow and change, but what has remained constant is the passion people bring to building a thriving community. Sharing community knowledge and stories about our lived experiences builds everyone’s ability to make a positive impact.

In our latest annual book of Pierce County Partners, we share stories and insights from individuals and organizations who are making a difference in Pierce County. In their own words, they speak about the dreams and lessons that fuel their work in the community.

“At Fort Nisqually, people learn about history and culture experientially, using their senses, not just reading dusty old books about dead people. Learning in a way that is memorable and in the process building ties to their community. It’s not a paper exchange, it’s a human exchange.”
Dana Repp, the current President of the Fort Nisqually Foundation, got involved with the fort about ten years ago through her two daughters’ interest.
“We need a diversity of opportunities for learning and building community.
“We have to understand where we’ve been to understand where we are going. We believe that if we are going to tell these stories then we have a responsibility to tell them well, and that means the ugly parts too. We need to learn from our history – the good and the bad parts.”

“The Victorians lived the concepts of use, reuse, and recycle – it was a necessity for them. Our experiences encourage a different pace and perspective – practicing patience, being content with what you have, and not always looking to the next thing. The fort gets kids into nature and helps them disconnect from technology for a little bit. Kids go home with a greater appreciation for modern conveniences.”


“We need a diversity of opportunities for learning and building community. Not everyone is interested in the same thing. The fort has been a place where people that don’t fit in somewhere else fit. I’ve seen a kid that’s always been awkward in sports throw a tomahawk better than anyone else. We help people find what they are good at and give them a place to learn it and then share it with others.”
“We want to bring attention and raise awareness so that the fort serves many generations to come.”
“We came to Greater Tacoma Community Foundation when our friend and former  board president Glen Sutt passed away and  left a significant legacy gift to the foundation. Glenn had been volunteering at the fort for  over 30 years, giving generously of his time  and knowledge.”

“We chose GTCF because they are connected to community and those that can help us grow. They are so responsive, and they treat everyone the same no matter how big or how small. Like us, GTCF is committed to telling our story well and connecting us to other people’s stories.”


The Fort Nisqually Foundation and their 200 plus volunteers, with the help of Glenn Sutt’s legacy through GTCF, are seeking to preserve and expand the fort and its programs. “We want to bring attention and raise awareness so that the fort serves many generations to come.”


Fort Nisqually re-opens to the public on July 15, 2020.  Find information about tickets, camps, and more on their website.