Coalitions Address Unmet Needs in Pierce County Through Collaboration

This month’s Neighborhood & Coalition Grants were made possible by attendees of GTCF’s 35th Anniversary Celebration in September 2016.

Seven Pierce County coalitions were awarded grants this month through Greater Tacoma Community Foundation’s Neighborhood and Coalition project. Neighborhood and Coalition groups collaborate to achieve common goals, often in areas with unmet needs or tight resources. From Orange Gate Park in the Summit-Waller area to the Key Peninsula, the seven grantees will reach 2,200 people.

These one-time grants totaled more than $26,000 and were made possible by attendees at GTCF’s 35th Anniversary Celebration in September 2016. At the event, GTCF honored grantees in seven service categories with a Funder’s Market of artifacts and information about organizations in Pierce County that are making the community stronger. Attendees had the chance to drop novelty wooden coins into vases at each category table to direct $35 toward these special grants.

The neighborhood and coalition grants were targeted to smaller groups that are at the early stages of organizing, when they may not be eligible for other funding, but need a boost to grow long-term success. Each grantee group will hold community meetings, or offer community engagement opportunities.

1) Human Services: Gig Harbor Key Peninsula Suicide Prevention Coalition

The Gig Harbor Key Peninsula Suicide Prevention Coalition (GHKPSPC) works to increase community awareness about the risk of suicide and provide training and information that reduces the occurrence of suicide in Gig Harbor & the Key Peninsula.

The coalition strives for no more suicides in their community.On World Suicide Prevention Day, Sunday, September 10th, the coalition will hold an event in a local park in Gig Harbor to empower local teens to create their own suicide prevention messages that can be spread across their communities for years to come.

2) Social Entrepreneurship: Ruston Point Defiance Business District

The goals of the Ruston Point Defiance Business District include bringing their community together by encouraging volunteerism, beautifying their area, supporting business that provide services and increasing walkability and safety.The North Pearl Community Farmer’s Market is in its second year, and the Business District is planning a longer market season this year. The Market opens June 4, 2017.

3) Arts & Culture: Tacoma Refugee Choir Project

The Tacoma Refugee Choir Project is a choral group that fosters joy, unity, friendship and conversation through singing together. Members include those who have suffered hardship and seek a supportive community including refugees, immigrants, survivors of racial and domestic abuse and those who wish to mentor and stand together.

They are planning a free Community Sing-along on November 4, 2017 at the historic Lincoln High School auditorium. The main event will feature a live band, the Tacoma Refugee Choir Project as the core vocal group and a number of local performers to lead attendees in songs of hope and optimism. In addition to singing together, the event will be structured to encourage people to meet others they might not otherwise have otherwise met in their community.

4) Women & Girls: Cambodian Women’s Networking Association

The Cambodian Women’s Networking Association’s goal is to create unity and community, which promotes healthy interactions among Cambodian woman and families through cultural involvements.The CWNA is still building, and they are planning Khmer Language Arts for Youth, Khmer Traditional Dancing for Youth, and to develop their message and create brochures, a website and a FaceBook page.

5) Youth: White River Families First Coalition

Families First Coalition promotes activities and partnerships that support the health and human service needs of individuals, youth and families in order to strengthen White River area communities.

The Coalition is planning Youth Forums, small focus group discussions held with middle and high school students, designed to gather qualitative data about the perceived strengths and needs of school and community from student’s perspectives. Forum data will compiled, a report developed and findings will be utilized by Youth Center non-profit board, staff, Youth-Led Advisory Board, and volunteers to create an updated strategic plan for the Buckley Youth Center.The Coalition will host a Community Summit, inviting all sectors of our community to come together to hear the results of the forums and strategic plan. The summit will feature a local speaker, food, highlight local youth-serving organizations and youth-led programs and a virtual tour and future plans for the Youth Center.

6) Education: Prairie Ridge Community Coalition

The purpose of the Prairie Ridge Community Coalition is to enable all residents of Prairie Ridge to have access to a broad range of social and educational services by establishing a coordinated delivery system of resources within a community setting.The Coalition organizes ten weeks of free lunches Monday to Friday during Summer and 2 hours of supervised enrichment activities at the Recreation Hall.They are planning a community meeting with their local sheriff and fire department to have dialogue and training regarding how each community member can be a part of making their neighborhood safer.

7) Environment: Puyallup Watershed Initiative, Forests Community of Interest

The Puyallup Watershed Initiative is a collective impact initiative designed to break barriers and fuel change for common good. The Forest Community of Interest will work to expand the Summit-Waller Rural Separator (Rsep).

The Rsep was created through community support and is approved by the Washington State Growth Management Hearing Board. The Rsep serves three primary purposes: First, it separates the Cities of Tacoma, Puyallup, and Fife with low intensity rural uses so they avoid becoming a mega-city. Second, it buffers and separates the adjacent Agricultural Resource Lands from urban encroachment. Third, it includes abundant critical areas and resource lands.