PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED: COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund
The PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED fund invested $7.9 million to support organizations providing services to address urgent needs and the disruption of basic human services to Pierce County’s most vulnerable populations due to COVID-19 and the necessary public health measures to address it.
As the public health response to COVID-19 in Pierce County escalated on March 13, 2020, United Way of Pierce County and Greater Tacoma Community Foundation partnered for an aligned philanthropic response to emerging community needs. Together, they launched the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED fund, seeded with $750,000 from GTCF. GTCF committed another $1 million in matching dollars for regional funders joining in the effort. Throughout 2020, numerous regional funders contributed to the fund, exceeding the matching amount and bringing the fund total to $7.9 million.
“A coordinated philanthropic response with real-time information from providers on the ground is vital to ensure we have appropriate information to make the best use of the resources we have to help our Pierce County community.” – Erika Tucci, Senior Program Officer, Ben B Cheney Foundation
As part of the aligned philanthropic response, fund partners worked with the Pierce County Emergency Operations Center, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, municipal and county human services departments, area school districts, faith organizations, and nonprofit agencies to surface emerging and urgent needs.
“Supporting organizations during this time is critical as they have the ability to make an impact immediately. This impact comes from their history in the communities in which they serve, the trust built with community members and solid relationships, especially with those who are most vulnerable.” – Cassandra Mitchell, VP & Corporate Responsibility Officer, Key Bank
With the goal of providing rapid response to urgent needs, funding requests from local organizations were reviewed and met on a weekly basis. Local organizations received funding to continue their work in providing food access, housing & shelter, childcare for first responders and essential workers, personal protective equipment (PPE), technology access, mental health & behavioral health supports, vaccine access and more.
“Thanks to the support from the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund we are now distributing close to 600 weekend food packs for students each week and assisting families with housing and other essential needs” – Jesie Holden, Executive Director, Mountain View Community Center
PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding Timeline
Phase Goal Funding Awarded
Phase 1: Urgent Response
March 30 - April 3, 2020
$1M funding support of food access, shelter, and childcare for first responders, medical providers, and essential workers. Phase 1 Funding Recipients
Phase 2: Rapid Response
April 4 – 30, 2020
$2M funding in support of urgent and emerging needs identified through online requests and surfaced through PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Community Response Committee. Phase 2 Funding Recipients
May – December 2020
(Rapid Response and Emerging Needs)
Funding in support of rapid response emerging needs identified through online requests and surfaced through PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Community Response Committee will continue through the end of 2020. Phase 3 Funding Recipients
Phase 4: March 2021 — April 30, 2021
(Vaccine Information and Access)
This funding will focus on advancing, aligning, and bridging gaps in governmental relief dollars to support accurate, culturally relevant COVID-19 vaccine information and access supports to be facilitated by trusted service providers and networks across communities in Pierce County. The funding will also support nonprofits providing federally funded COVID-19 relief. Phase 4 Funding Recipients
PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED News
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. (October 2020)
Click here to download the PDF report
‘Homeless providers see urgent need for safe parking. They’re asking churches for help’ (Tacoma News Tribune October 3, 2020)
Bright side to COVID-19 pandemic? Mental health care easier to access in Pierce County (Tacoma News Tribune May 7, 2020)
Pierce County partnership amasses $5.1M to help those in need during the COVID-19 crisis (Tacoma News Tribune April 15, 2020)
Tacoma TV CityLine with Dona Ponepinto and Kathi Littmann (April 2, 2020)
Regional Funders Unite To Give $4M For Pierce County During COVID-19 (March 26, 2020)
United Way and GTCF Launch COVID-19 Emergency Fund (South Sound Business March 25, 2020)
Here’s How You Can Help Pierce County Service Providers Respond to Coronavirus (Tacoma News Tribune March 24, 2020)