Foundation Announces Latest Round of Grants


253 Bus Photo-NEWSThis summer Greater Tacoma Community Foundation (GTCF) has awarded more than $170,000 in funding to a total of 23 projects and organizations through three of the Foundation’s grant-making programs. Projects and programs funded will provide:

  1. Opportunities for community leaders to take their ideas and put them into action.
  2. Local nonprofits with the resources to build their internal capacity to better accomplish their organizational missions.
  3. Youth with quality out-of-school programs that provide learning opportunities, leadership skills, and community engagement experiences for young people.

“It’s inspiring to see so many high-quality organizations and community leaders in our region providing life-changing and life-enhancing services for the people of Pierce County,” said Gina Anstey, Vice President of Grants and Initiatives at Greater Tacoma Community Foundation. “In each of our grant cycles we see new and innovative approaches to meeting the social, economic, and cultural needs and dreams for our community. This round of grantees is no different. Their creative and collaborative ideas and plans will no doubt continue to propel Pierce County into an even better place to live and work.”

The following overview provides a quick description of the organizations and projects that recently received funding:


Seven projects, totaling $12,000, were funded through the organization’s Spark Grants program, which provides support to grassroots community leaders with projects designed to ignite positive economic, social, and neighborhood change. The seven projects receiving funding are as follows:

Calendula Sisters Lending Library and Reading Room / Project Lead: Clara Cheeves
This project will support a new public space that addresses an inequity in the City of Tacoma, which has no public library on the Hilltop since the branch was closed years ago.  The goal of the project is to create a welcoming space for families on the Hilltop, specifically families of color to gather, to instill a love of reading for the entire family and a positive sense of self.

Pistones Flameados Radio Show / Project Lead: Christian Lopez-Moreno
Project leaders have been working in the automotive industry for more than 16 years and decided to host a radio show where people can learn about cars and how to keep them working fine, how to do low cost repair, and many other related topics, with the idea of helping people to avoid costly repairs, pollute less, drive better, and have fun for one hour every Saturday morning.

6th Avenue Business District Banner Project / Project Lead: Sean Alexander
Neighborhood banners help establish location and identity in a neighborhood by visually tying an area together through graphic content and consistent placement. The last cycle of banners that were created for 6th Avenue were sparsely placed and failed to truly unify the district. Project leaders plan to place banners consistently along the avenue and the banners will feature bright colors and employ large bold number 6s along with thematic drawings that represent activity within the district.

Uncommon / Project Lead: Trisha Tracy
In January of 2016, the United States Department of Justice had reported that 2,347 juveniles in the City of Tacoma had been arrested in the past year. From that total, nearly 1,600 juveniles declined to report on which school they attended; however, 136 kids revealed that they attended Mount Tahoma High School. Compared to the other schools in the district, Mount Tahoma had the highest number of arrests. Project leaders plan to team up to help combat these statistics by creating a space after school where kids can learn positive behaviors and leadership skills.

Caring for Cambodian-American Youth / Project Lead: Reverend Sahara Chea
This project will benefit at-risk Cambodian/American teens who are making the transition into adulthood.  More specifically, this program will help to reduce crime and encourage youth to steer clear of gangs and other negative activities.

Tacoma Stands Up / Project Lead: Cathy Nguyen
Tacoma Stands Up (TSU) is a grassroots organization that commits to creating spaces for shared learning and leadership to dismantle anti-blackness, transform power structures, and unearth a more free society. TSU is invested in developing and maintaining community partnerships, which can work in tandem to host and/or support programs aimed toward community reclamation of space, power, and liberties. TSU is committed to enhancing workshops and trainings to include opportunities for relationship-building and continued education.

LTC Resident Outreach Events / Project Lead: Christine Dodson
Residents of assisted living facilities who have their services paid via Medicaid often have no disposable income after their facility bill is paid each month.  Essentials such as toiletries, extra snacks, and entertainment that impact residents’ quality-of-life on a daily basis are simply not in their budget.  This project will schedule free events at specifically targeted assisted living facilities based on populations found in the Washington State facilities surveys.

Free Art Classes for Those in Need at Feast Arts Center / Project Lead: Chandler Woodfin
Free Art Classes for Those in Need is designed to allow low income senior and disabled residents who are living within the Hilltop community to access free art classes and supplies. A few of the many factors that prohibit involvement in the arts is access to affordable instruction and art supplies. By working directly with Tacoma Housing Authority, project leaders plan to provide services to those members of the community who have a real and direct need.


In addition to the Spark Grant projects, five Building Capacity grants totaling $84,000 were awarded to five organizations to help them become more efficient and effective in carrying out their missions. These capacity building grants enable nonprofit organizations to accomplish projects that help the board and staff complete work that requires time, energy, expertise, and innovative thinking beyond everyday operations. These grants have proven especially beneficial to groups experiencing significant organizational transitions such as major shifts in funding sources, the departure of critical staff, and/or rapid growth.

American Leadership Forum of Tacoma/Pierce County
In 2016-2017, ALF will be developing and implementing two new programs: the Single-Sector Fellows Program and the graduate-level Senior Fellows Encore Program. Funding will help with expansion efforts.

South Pierce County Historical Society
The society will be adding the historically significant Tofu House to their current museum. Funding will help with this new addition to the museum.

Rainbow Center
Rapid program growth has demanded that the organization review aspects of its financial infrastructure and implement more robust systems. Funding will help with implementing these new systems.

Pierce Conservation District, Harvest Pierce County
The organization will be working to strengthen and sustain community garden participation through interpersonal skill workshops and an internal database to track participation and challenges. Grant dollars will support this new program growth.

Courage 360
These funds will establish a new QuickBooks training component for clients.


Lastly, the Foundation awarded 11 organizations grants totaling $75,000 as part of the organization’s Youth Philanthropy Board (YPB) program. Designed to provide youth, ages 14-24, the opportunity to play a role in funding decisions that directly affect their lives, the YPB equips members with tools to become philanthropic and community leaders. The YPB funds quality out-of-school time programs that provide youth opportunities to engage, learn, and lead.

The following are the organizations and programs that received funding from the YPB:

Asia Pacific Cultural Center – Promised Leaders of Tomorrow
The Promised Leaders of Tomorrow Youth Program helps at-risk Asia Pacific youth overcome serious barriers to success in school and in life, using cultural and mentorship approaches to redirect their focus toward higher aspirations.

Dream Music Project
The DREAM Music Project provides young musicians the space to further explore music and the performing arts by having them perform together, collaborate, and be given the opportunity to share their talent with everyone.

Harbor WildWatch – seaStars & Beyond
The seaStars & Beyond program is a unique out-of-school educational program designed for students, ages 8 to 18, who are interested in science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM).

Hilltop Artists – Arts Connect
Arts Connect is Pierce County’s only community-based detention alternative specifically for court-involved girls. As a partnership with the juvenile court, it develops positive community engagement and diversion among girls on probation through leadership development, service learning, and philanthropy via arts education.

Northwest Leadership Foundation – Proyecto MoLE
MoLE offers a year-round program with activities that promote three main values: academic achievement, personal development, and cultural pride.

Oasis Youth Center
The Oasis Youth Center program provides LGBTQA youth, ages 14 to 24, opportunities for leadership development, including a youth council, speaker’s bureau, and annual leadership summit. Through leadership programming, youth build resilience and create the future they want to see.

Merle Palmer Minority Scholarship Foundation
The R. Merle Palmer Minority Scholarship program exists to support low-income students of color from Pierce County—financially, emotionally, and socially—who desire a post-secondary education and have demonstrated the academic capability and commitment to achieve it, but face financial limitations.

REACH Center – Housing 4 Success
Housing 4 Success is a program based at the REACH Center that ensures a smooth and steady continuum of care for young people experiencing homelessness in our region.

Rescue Mission – Rescue Mission Youth Program
Rescue Mission’s Youth Program supports the needs of more than 300 homeless children residing with their families within the Rescue Mission each year.

Trinity Presbyterian Church – The Trinity Learning Center
The Learning Center exists to consistently serve Jason Lee Middle School students with after-school homework assistance, enrichment activities, tutoring, and mentoring.

YMCA of Pierce & Kitsap Counties – Youth and Government
Youth and Government (Y&G) is a program offered by the YMCA designed to educate and civically engage middle and high school students in the state legislative process by absorbing them in a hands-on, model legislature experience.

Greater Tacoma Community Foundation is pleased to support these programs that will fill vital niches in our community, improving quality of life in Pierce County and meeting the needs of community members, nonprofits, and other groups in our region.