Behavioral Health And Housing Supports Among COVID-19 Needs Supported By $187K In PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding

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

Released 1/14/21 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 $186,970 going to 6 local organizations addressing essential needs under persistent COVID-19 conditions. This brings the total funding through PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED to $6.4 million.


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


The following organizations received fund support:


Dona Ponepinto, President and CEO, United Way of Pierce County, PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding Committee member, “The compounding COVID-19 conditions, racial and income inequities, and system gaps are causing many Pierce County residents to go without the necessary behavioral health connections, supports, and care they would otherwise be able to access.

“Now more than ever it is important to bolster frontline providers so that responsive help and connection is available when people need it in their communities.”


Jake Nau, Shelter Project Manager, Comprehensive Life Resource, “We’ve seen an already underserved population have to make do with less services and fewer opportunities. Never has it been harder to house homeless young people and never has it been more challenging to keep them safely sheltered in a congregate facility then during this pandemic.

“No homeless person wants to be homeless. Our young folks in particular are not homeless due to any single choice they made, but due to generational poverty and systemic indifference or said another way, an embarrassing lack of choices. Yet they persist, still they move forward, in the midst of a pandemic, every day they work towards solutions, safety and stability. Their resilience is inspiring.”


Joe Le Roy, LICSW, President and CEO, HopeSparks, “The needs of our community continue to exceed capacity and our safety net remains fragile. Although vaccination offers hope, we are not out of this yet, and need to remain engaged. If you are not sure how to help, reach out to a local nonprofit and ask. We are here and ready to connect you with different ways you can get involved. This can include everything from a simple donation to serving on a board.

“We are most resilient when we work together as a community to overcome challenges. We can build collective resilience by building and strengthening positive connections and relationships, even during physically distant times.”


Erin Guinup, Executive and Artistic Director, Tacoma Refugee Choir, “One of the least addressed impacts of the pandemic is the need for social engagement and being part of something bigger than ourselves. We are grateful for this support which will allow us to safely gather and connect with one another from the safety of cars, and to work together to lift the spirits of others in our community.”



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.

Puget Sound Energy is one PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funder. Hayden Harvey, Government Affairs and Public Policy Representative, “Puget Sound Energy is proud to support the Pierce County community through a contribution to the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund. Pierce County Connected moved to bring relief to those in Pierce County who needed essential needs and services emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are honored to have helped share that commitment to recovery by supporting organizations who provide critical services to help individuals and families thrive.”




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.