$237K Goes To Meet Persistent Child And Youth Needs Under COVID-19 Conditions

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

Released 8/20/20 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 $237,162 going to 12 local organizations addressing persistent child and youth needs related to COVID-19 conditions. This brings the total funding through PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED to $4.5 million.

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

The following organizations received fund support:



Holly Bamford Hunt, Director of the Bamford Foundation and a member of the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding Committee, “I continue to hear from our local youth and family-serving organizations about the cumulative impacts of the pandemic upon the community members they serve; access to food, housing, child care, financial, educational, technology and health resources continue to be a challenge, and with that concerns about growing mental health impacts upon children and families. At the same time, I continue to be inspired by the way in which our community organizations and family support systems are creatively and collaboratively working to listen to and lift up children and families at this time.

“While this time has been hard for all of us, it’s going to take an effort in our collective actions to center the experiences of Pierce County’s children and their families who have been faced with barriers to resources and isolation at a level never seen before, while coping with systems that have not recognized fully their assets and contributions. And remembering that really for all ages we need to attend to our social and emotional health and development during this time – and that includes play and finding joy in the moment.”


Kate Ginn, LICSW, Project Manager, Help Me Grow Pierce County, First 5 FUNdamentals, “Families with young children are continuing to struggle with meeting basic needs as the effects of COVID-19 persist. We have been working with community partners to share information with one another, and look at 2-1-1’s caller data to identify gaps in resources for the community. As parents may continue to be spending more time at home and taking on more responsibility over their children’s education, it is critical that our community supports parents with the resources they may need. Help Me Grow Pierce County is now serving as a connection point for families with young children to be informed of the support available in their community.”

Sarah Yamamoto, Grants Officer, MultiCare Foundations, “The persistent presence of COVID-19 has resulted in a drastic reduction in behavioral health service delivery to our most vulnerable kids. Virtual visits can be difficult to navigate and engagement can be variable. Pediatric mobile crisis services were seriously curtailed for several weeks and the legacy of that was increased emergency department visits. Psychiatric hospitalizations have increased, secondary to reduced access and engagement in services. The Mary Bridge Emergency Department Behavioral Health Navigator (BHN) is dedicated to creating an accessible and comprehensive community plan for complex behavioral health patients.

“Parents and involved adults need to take care of themselves. Kids will only do as well as we do, so be sure to model healthy behaviors such as exercising, eating well, and getting plenty of sleep. Limit time on social media and watching the news and – most importantly – do something enjoyable each day with the kids that you care about.”

Barry Gourley, CEO, Children’s Therapy Center, “For a child with special needs, missing a therapy session means setbacks and delays that significantly affect their progress and well-being. Many of the children we serve are school age and are already at a disadvantage of not being able to access services in an educational setting due to COVID. The grant from the Pierce County Connected Fund means that therapy – and progress – can continue. Children’s Therapy Center will use this grant to fund laptops that are suitable for video conferencing (telehealth) sessions and cover the cost of secure Zoom licenses for our providers. We are so grateful for this generous and timely grant.”


PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funding for vulnerable populations under COVID-19 conditions is made possible through generous contributions from 317 individual donors and 54 philanthropic funding partners. So far, contributions to PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED total a combined $7.4 million.


Foundation for Tacoma Students is one of the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funders. Their support will help to address the persistent needs of children and youth surfacing in our community under the conditions of COVID-19. Tafona Ervin, Ed.D, Executive Director, Foundation for Tacoma Students, “The Foundation for Tacoma Students believes in the potential of every child. Yet, the environmental factors that compound youth and families in this community require bold and courageous leadership, as well as right-sized investments to adaptively address the root causes impeding the potential for success. Giving to the Pierce County Connected Fund during the COVID-19 pandemic was a necessary and adaptive investment for the Foundation for Tacoma Students. Our gift demonstrates our solidarity for bold, courageous, adaptive, and right-sized investments in Pierce County.”


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.