$150K In PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding Goes To Organizations Offering Child And Family Supports Under Persistent COVID-19 Conditions

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

Released 10/01/20 3:00pm
Media Inquiries Contact:
Megan Sukys, 253.345.4173
VP Communications, GTCF


The PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund announced its latest round of funding with $150,000 going to 7 local organizations addressing community needs under persistent COVID-19 conditions. This brings the total funding through PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED to $5.35 million.

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

The following organizations received fund support:



Richard Woo, Retired CEO, The Russell Family Foundation, and PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding Committee member, “The pandemic is constantly changing causing chaos, losses and disruption. Remarkably, Pierce County nonprofits are responding with ingenuity and rapid resilience to the shifting needs of our communities.”


Ellen Palmer, Pioneer Park Pavilion Supervisor, City of Puyallup – Parks & Recreation, “The City offers a program called PEAK: Puyallup’s Educational and Activities Kamp. We focus on providing childcare in a safe and clean environment for Kindergarten through 5th grade where they also get assistance with their virtual learning. Once all schoolwork is complete, we offer fun games and activities to keep the kids engaged and work on social skills.

“We know that students can struggle with virtual school due to feeling isolated from others. We offer that important, yet distanced social interaction while adhering to all of the necessary protocols to keep kids and our staff safe by wearing masks, washing hands, and sanitizing hard surfaces. It can be hard to develop a new routine. Our biggest challenge is helping Puyallup families navigate through this time while staying safe.”

Alicia Petitt, MBA, Office Manager, The Steve A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Valley Cities, “With COVID-19 and an economic crisis, Veterans and military families are being strained more than ever. Our most vulnerable clients are homebound due to physical health or being unable to leave home due to anxiety, depression, PTSD, or chronic stress. We are seeing increased marital strain, parental stress, and rising severity of pre-existing symptoms due to isolation and lack of “normal” outlets. Without technology at home, some clients have been forced to opt out of care.

“The Cohen Clinic is preparing for a rise in need for behavioral health services through the end of this year and into Spring as the COVID-19 crisis continues without an end in sight. We will only be able to meet this need via interactive telehealth.”

Michelle Cheney, Treasurer, Sumner Community Food Bank, “The Sumner Community Food Bank is committed to staying open during this pandemic. We have continued to operate at normal business hours, while providing the same quality and quantity of food. We have also increased the frequency of visits from our clients each month to receive food. Additionally, breads, pastry items, and fresh produce are available in front of our location during operating hours for anyone in the community without appointment.

“Some of the challenges we have seen our clients face during the pandemic are job insecurity, food insecurity, shelter insecurity, limited technology access, proper counseling and emotional support.”


PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funding for vulnerable populations under COVID-19 conditions is made possible through generous contributions from 356 individual donors and 55 philanthropic funding partners. So far, contributions to PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED total a combined $7.4 million.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funders. Melinda Gates, co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “The pandemic feels like a universal experience, but we have to recognize that not all of us will experience it equally. By supporting local community response efforts, we can help make sure that, in this moment of crisis, we’re not leaving the most vulnerable behind.”


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.