Local Organizations Serve Youth & Their Missions Through Expanded Learning Opportunities

  • Tacoma students participating in Expanded Learning Opportunities at local elementary schools

Several Tacoma organizations have taken a leadership role in providing Expanded Learning Opportunities to students at 12 Tacoma Elementary Schools as part of the Whole Child Partnership.

The Whole Child partnership is a community-wide effort to ensure every child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, Tacoma Public Schools, and numerous community partners are working together to expand this partnership by providing aligned, equitable, high quality social, emotional, and academic development opportunities to students in and out of school.

For these organizations, providing Expanded Learning Opportunities for youth helps them fulfill their mission to the community.

“Symphony Tacoma’s mission is to build community through music.  We strive to reach all members of the Tacoma community to provide the joy of live classical music. Through this partnership to provide Expanded Learning Opportunities, we are able to help children, who may not normally have access, learn to play the violin.  We hope that we that we are building music enthusiasts and a future generation of concert goers.” – Karina Bharne, Executive Director, Symphony Tacoma 


“Pierce Conservation District is dedicated to working with the community to conserve natural resources, notably soil and water.  Our program is meant to inspire and educate youth about conserving natural resources, and with this Expanded Learning Opportunity we focus on soil and food connections.  We’re involving students in growing food at their school, building their confidence in gardening, talking about its benefits and how it contributes to a healthier environment.  Our goal is for the kids to have a deeper connection to the food they grow and recognize the impact they are having in their community.” – Chris Towe, Environmental Education Program Manager, Pierce Conservation District


“Tacoma Art Museum’s mission is connecting people through art. TAM’s Breakfast Sketch Club is a program that is part of the Tacoma Whole Child Initiative where kids start their day by making art with a specially trained teaching artist. Children get to choose their own materials and their own subject matter, which in turn builds their confidence within a supportive community of teachers and peers. This Expanded Learning work provides TAM more opportunities to help cultivate the next generation of compassionate leaders in our community, by providing art opportunities that connect children to themselves and their community.” – Christina Westpheling, Interim Director Education & Community Engagement, Tacoma Art Museum


In recognition of these organizations’ leadership, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation awarded grants to support their Expanded Learning programs.

A recent Aspen Institute case study explores the power of partnerships in fueling Expanded Learning Opportunities.  To learn more contact GTCF.


2018-19 Expanded Learning Opportunity Grant Recipients

Alchemy Skateboarding – Skate in School
Big Brothers/Big Sisters
First Tee of Puget Sound
Gentlemen By Choice – Tacoma Gents
HodgePodge Dance
Hopes & Dreams
Krownless Kids
Pierce Conservation District
Rock Paper Scissors
Symphony Tacoma
Tacoma Art Museum
Tacoma Arts Live
Tacoma Community House – Read2Me
Tacoma MESA
Tacoma Urban League – Male Involvement Program
TJH Media – YESSS Program
Vision of Eastside Step Team
YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties-Brotherhood
YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties-Sisterhood