$100K in PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding Goes To Organizations Connecting Community Under COVID-19 Conditions

PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED is an aligned philanthropic response to COVID-19 in Pierce County

Released 9/17/20 5:00pm
Media Inquiries Contact:
Megan Sukys, 253.345.4173
VP Communications, GTCF


The PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund announced its latest round of funding with $100,970 going to 8 local organizations addressing persistent needs under COVID-19 conditions. This brings the total funding through PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED to $4.7 million.

Further requests for funding are now being accepted. Details are available at GTCF’s website.

The following organizations received fund support:



Dona Ponepinto, CEO, United Way of Pierce County, and PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding Committee Co-Chair, “When we first started this fund, we defined equity as one of our core values. We continue to be committed to ensuring that PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funding resources are reaching all areas of the county, organizations of varying sizes, and organizations reaching populations that are disproportionately impacted. As a funding committee, we are seeing ongoing needs for food, housing, and other basic needs at the same time that organizations and families are struggling with new or increased difficulties with issues like connectivity and technology access.

“Aligned philanthropy has shown us the possibilities of how coming together to address COVID-19 can also create opportunities for us to come together to focus on other issues. The non-profit community is creative and resilient amid unknown and challenging conditions. I encourage individuals to continue to support organizations in our community.”

Beth Anne Johnson, Co-Chair, North Pierce Community Coalition, “Families are struggling; families who were on the edge financially, struggling with homelessness or close to becoming homeless are harder to connect with, because their kids are not sitting in a classroom.  Kids are struggling because they are missing out on so much: not just in person classes, or after school sports, but they miss out on time with friends, they don’t have the same supportive adults in their lives each day (school staff and volunteers coaches, scout leaders, etc.) that they did back in February.  It’s stressful for the kids, for the parents, for the teachers, for everyone.

“Food insecurity is an issue, but thankfully the school district, along with organizations like Mountain View Community Center, Nourish Food Bank, and the food bank at St. Martin de Tours Catholic Church have been doing everything they can to help fill that gap, and we are so grateful for that.”

Jennifer Hendrix, Grant Writer, Barbara Jean Brown Foundation True Vine Senior Citizens Center, “Our community falls into several high-risk categories for COVID-19—low-income people of color over the age of 65. Staying inside to avoid risks to their health has increased their social isolation and limited their access to essential services—including groceries, banking, and medical appointments. As COVID-19 restrictions have gone on for months now, that sense of isolation has intensified.

“When COVID-19 forced us to halt our in-person programs at True Vine, we saw an opportunity to link residents to resources through the Internet. Like many older people living on Social Security, few of them have the means or the knowledge to take advantage of online shopping, telemedicine, or use Zoom to stay connected to grandchildren and church communities. Our solution includes providing free WiFi, loaner laptops, and simple online instruction modules on how to use the Internet to do many of the things that used to require a bus ride outside the building.”


PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funding for vulnerable populations under COVID-19 conditions is made possible through generous contributions from 353 individual donors and 55 philanthropic funding partners. So far, contributions to PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED total a combined $7.4 million.

Windows of Hope Foundation is one of the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funders. Their support will help to address the persistent needs in our community under the conditions of COVID-19. Tyler Zemanek, Program Director, Windows of Hope Foundation, “Through our participation with the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund, we hope to mitigate some of the adverse impact that COVID-19 has had on our community. Additionally, we hope that this collaboration has created a framework for future emergency response in our community and has left us better prepared for future disasters.”


PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funding partners are committed to delivering rapid funding to organizations in a way that supports their continued services to vulnerable populations with the fewest barriers possible.

The members of the funding committee include: Co-Chair Dona Ponepinto – United Way of Pierce County, Co-Chair Brad Cheney – Ben B. Cheney Foundation, Alisha Fehrenbacher – Elevate Health & One Pierce, Cassandra Mitchell – KeyBank, Georgia Lomax – Pierce County Library System, Holly Bamford Hunt – Bamford Family Foundation, Janece Levien – Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Jeff Woodworth – Woodworth Family Foundation, Lois Bernstein – MultiCare, Nick Russell – The Russell Family Foundation, Richard Woo – retired CEO The Russell Family Foundation, Seth Kirby – Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Todd Silver – Todd & Teresa Silver Funds, Tyler Zemanek – Windows of Hope Foundation

Organizations and entities with services based in Pierce County can now submit requests. Information about the funding opportunity can be found at the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Emergency Response Fund web page.


The PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED fund was launched as the public health response to COVID-19 in Pierce County escalated on Friday, March 13, 2020. The purpose of the fund is to support organizations in Pierce County providing services that meet urgent health and basic human needs due to COVID-19.
United Way of Pierce County and Greater Tacoma Community Foundation partnered to create the aligned philanthropic response. GTCF seeded the fund with $1,750,000.
Individual donors can make a difference for their communities during COVID-19 by contributing in any way they can. The aligned philanthropies encourage individual donors to give directly to the causes and organizations that matter to them.
To support funding for organizations directly serving vulnerable populations during COVID-19, donors are encouraged to donate to PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED fund.





Ballmer Group
Bates Family Foundation
Beardsley Family Foundation
Ben B. Cheney Foundation
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Campbell Family Foundation
Campbell/Loan Family Charitable Fund
CHI Franciscan
Columbia Bank
Corry & Donna J. McFarland Foundation
Elevate Health & OnePierce Community Resiliency Fund
Elliott Family Foundation
Foundation for Tacoma Students
JP Morgan Chase
Laird Norton Family Foundation
Laird Norton Wealth Management
Laird Norton Trust Company
LT Murray Family Foundation
Korum for Kids Foundation
Laird Norton Foundation
Medina Foundation
MJ Murdock Trust
Names Family Foundation
Oscar T and Olivann Hokold Foundation
Pacific Source
Perigee Fund
Premera Blue Cross
Propel Insurance
Puget Sound Energy Foundation
Rotary 8
Roy & Patricia Disney Foundation
Ruth Foundation
Satterberg Foundation
South Sound 100 Women
Stewardship Foundation
Stolte Family Foundation
The Baker Foundation
The Bamford Foundation
The Russell Family Foundation
Todd & Teresa Silver
Tom and Meg Names Family Foundation
Umpqua Bank
United Way of Pierce County
Wells Fargo
Whisper Foundation
Woodworth Family Foundation

All contributors to PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED are recognized at United Way of Pierce County’s website. Click here to see the full list.