$585K In PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding Goes To Food Security And Hygienic Needs Under Persistent COVID-19 Conditions

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

Released 1/28/21 5:30pm
Media Inquiries Contact:
Megan Sukys, 253.345.4173
VP Communications, GTCF


The PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund announced its latest round of funding with $585,500 going to 23 local organizations addressing essential needs under persistent COVID-19 conditions. This brings the total funding through PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED to $7.6 million.


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


The following organizations received fund support:


Janece Levien, M.Ed, Senior Program Officer Pierce County, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding Committee member, “Almost one year into the health pandemic, we have also seen the elevated tensions and impacts of system inequalities, racial injustices and a polarized political climate. Many in our community are still struggling, or struggling more and more, from basic needs to mental health to social isolation and lack of safety and security. The needs of individuals and families across Pierce County are being exacerbated.

“Meanwhile, nonprofit partners continue to address immediate and urgent gaps while they are stretched extremely thin and are facing limited resources. We recognize that the community will feel the impacts of this health pandemic for years to come. It will take all of us coming together to create an equitable path forward.”


Michelle Douglas, Executive Director, Emergency Food Network, “The Pierce County Connected funding has been instrumental in helping Emergency Food Network meet the continually growing, up nearly 40%, needs of food insecure households. This support combined with other funds has increased our food distribution power to over 17 million pounds in 2020, allowed our food pantry partners to serve over $1.8 million visits, and has supported our new home delivery program expansion to more than 300 families weekly.”

Charlie Davies, President and CEO, YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties, “During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have provided hygiene services to more than 1,000 local individuals. They can count on the Y to receive a free healthy meal, health screenings, a hot shower, clean clothes, hygiene products, basic supplies, etc. The benefits of these services and the interactions with our caring and compassionate staff are considerable–helping to improve an individual’s mood, self-worth, confidence, and outlook on life.

“During these times, it’s critical that our most vulnerable are taken care of. The partnership with the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED fund will help ensure that people in Tacoma and Pierce County without homes can still access the basic hygiene facilities necessary to stay healthy.”

Ellen Palmer, Pioneer Park Pavilion Supervisor, City of Puyallup, “We know that students can struggle with virtual school due to feeling isolated from their peers. 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.

“The City of Puyallup offers a program called PEAK: Puyallup’s Educational and Activities Kamp, which focuses on providing childcare in a safe and clean environment for Kindergarten through 5th grade and also provides assistance with virtual learning. Many of our parents are essential workers, so the program supports them by easing some of the burdened as they try to figure out how to keep their children on track without disrupting their own work schedules.”



PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funding for vulnerable populations under COVID-19 conditions is made possible through generous contributions from 413 individual donors and 55 philanthropic funding partners. So far, contributions to PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED total a combined $7.6 million.




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, Lauren Fulton – 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, 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.