Spark Grants Light Up Communities

Filed Under: Spark Grants,Vibrant Community - Posted @ 11:59am

It all started with a conversation.  Sandra Smith, a real estate agent from Buckley, says she was talking with her teenage daughter and a group of classmates about a lack of opportunity to contribute to community when the idea for Merry on Main was born.  “They all said, ‘We would [get involved] if there was stuff to do’,” remembers Smith.  “I’d had this dream to do a holiday lane for the past 15 years…and it fell out of my mouth, ‘What do you think about this?’ ”

“They all said, ‘We would [get involved] if there was stuff to do.'”

The idea was to decorate all the houses and businesses along the town’s Main Street for the holidays.  Smith’s hope was that it would bring people from the Buckley community together to come see all the lights, and support local businesses by attracting new visitors as well.  The concept was a hit with the young people, and according to Smith, their support has been integral to making it happen.  “We have students from DECA, the Honor Society, and different clubs from the school.  To see them all taking responsibility and taking these leadership roles was very inspiring.”

“Once they saw this was something that was really going to make an impact to the community, everybody brought their talent and time and made contributions.”

Smith says the Spark Grant she received earlier this year to launch Merry on Main served as a catalyst for involvement from numerous individuals and organizations.  “Once they saw this was something that was really going to make an impact to the community, everybody brought their talent and time and made contributions.”

Merry on Main is now open to visitors through December 25th with special events hosted by local business and community groups on select nights.  You can find out more information about the events on their Facebook page.

Sandra’s story is a prime example of the type of grassroots change GTCF supports with Spark Grants, and we are excited to see the impact made in Pierce County by our newest group of recipients as well.


Winter 2018 Spark Grant Recipients

Raising Girls

Provides necessary hygiene products to under-served girls in the South Sound making it possible to eliminate humiliation, promote pride, and share love to hundreds of girls in our community.

Now You’re Speaking My Language

Increasing food bank accessibility for non- English speakers through translation work and bilingual volunteers.


An opportunity for community members who struggle with mental illness to gather in a stigma-free zone and express themselves artistically. A safe space will be provided for gathering, sharing ideas, creating and displaying work. 

Stewart Elementary Career Curiosity Fair

A unique career fair geared toward young children and their parents to spark interest in a diversity of jobs and different career paths after high school.


The project is to build student led Polynesian Clubs in different high schools that work alongside us to provide, up to, but not limited to: resources for education, food, emotional and motivational support, and curriculum accountability, to build a foundation that will support them in any path they choose to take after high school.

VT Radio

An online radio station with a basic studio in Hilltop Tacoma that produces several live and diverse shows in Spanish, as well as 3 recorded shows, with different types of music in English and Spanish.  VT radio transmits 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, providing the opportunity for members of our Pierce County community to create audio content, learn radio communication skills, and to announce events occurring in the community.