$155,000 In PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding Goes To Emerging Technology Needs Under COVID-19 Conditions

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


Released 7/2/20 2:00pm
Media Inquiries Contact:
Megan Sukys, 253.345.4173
VP Communications, GTCF    


The PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund announced its latest round of funding with $155,000 going to 6 local organizations addressing emerging technology needs related to COVID-19 conditions. This brings the total funding through PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED to $3.8 million.    

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

The following organizations received fund support:   



    Georgia LomaxExecutive DirectorPierce County Library System and a member of the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding Committee, The coronavirus has brought heightened attention to challenges many of our community members face each day. Access to technology and to high speed internet is critical to functioning in today’s world, and especially as the coronavirus has forced services online. Many Pierce County residents do not have a computer, tablet, or even a smart phone. Without one you cannot consult with your doctor through a telemedicine visit or apply for a job. Students don’t have access to their teachers or to resources to continue their studies at home, and you can’t check in with Grandma to see how things are going. 

    “Public libraries have long been the place for people to use a computer, a printer, and the internet for free. With building closures to slow the spread of COVID-19, we need to find other ways to make sure people without access to technology aren’t left behind and can participate in a world that has moved online. PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED donors are helping fill the gap.” 


    Steven G. Johnson, Director of Business Operations and HR, Peace Community Center“Under COVID-19, technology has provided and will continue to be important to the mental health and social well-being of our students. We recognize that connecting via a screen is not the same as in-person social contact, and not nearly as effective. But it is better than not connecting at all. By providing access to technology through laptops and hotspots we provide the opportunity for our students to connect with their family and friends throughout the COVID-19 situation. 

    Anne NesbitFire Prevention Specialist/PIO, Key Peninsula Fire, The District believes that by turning each of our 6 stations into a hot spot for the community that we can help “connect” our citizens in ways that have not been available before. Increased and reliable connectivity from fire station parking lots would allow our community to work, use telehealth, access school and family with increased ease, and it is our hope, help provide comfort and reduce stress. Reliable internet is now a key component to social and community connectedness. 

    “In addition to being able to provide a safe place for our citizens to reach beyond our borders, we will be able to provide remote learning opportunities and training to our community.”  

    Troy ChristensenExecutive Director, Rainbow Center“Without technology access, Rainbow Center could do very little to meet our mission during the pandemic. Platforms like Zoom, Cloud storage, internal networks, etc., have allowed us to operate without skipping a beat. We still hold community hours, affinity groups, meetings with partner organizations, individual meetings with clients, etc. There really is nothing we had to discontinue when the pandemic hit.  


    PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funding for vulnerable populations under COVID-19 conditions is made possible through generous contributions from 308 individual donors and 54 philanthropic funding partners. So far, contributions to PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED total a combined $7.3 million. 

    Rotary Club of Tacoma #8 is one of the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funders. Rotary 8 believes in contributing to the well-being and enhancement of our community. Their support will address the emerging needs of our community under the conditions COVID-19.  Linda Kaye Briggs, President of The Briggs Group and member of Rotary Club Tacoma #8, “Our Tacoma #8 club members felt strongly that as a “pillar” of our community for 110 years, we had a unique opportunity to offer COVID-19 relief in the most efficient manner. Our board of Directors quickly and unanimously agreed in choosing PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED as the most efficient avenue to help the most people who need a hand up during these times.  Continuing our support of our community is simply, our privilege!”  


    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.