PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Distributes $125K To 13 Pierce County Organizations Meeting Needs During COVID-19

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

Released 5/21/20 2:00pm
Media Inquiries Contact:
Megan Sukys, 253.345.4173
VP Communications, GTCF  


In its latest round of funding, the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund distributed support for organizations serving vulnerable populations under COVID-19 conditions. A total of $125,000 will go to 13 organizations. This brings the total funding through PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED to $3.2 million 

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

The following received fund support to provide immediate services to vulnerable populations: 


  • Advocates for Immigrants in Detention NW  
  • Amara  
  • Gig Harbor Key Peninsula Suicide Prevention Coalition  
  • Key Pen Parks  
  • Kindred Souls Foundation  
  • North Pierce County Community Coalition  
  • Pierce County Juvenile Court  
  • Redeemer Lutheran Church – Hope for the Future  
  • Sea Mar Community Health Centers  
  • St. Leo Food Connection  
  • Trinity Lutheran Church  
  • Wakulima USA  


      Seth Kirby, GTCF VP Community Impact, “Organizations serving communities most impacted by COVID-19 are beginning to navigate emerging needs and are doing so in creative, adaptive ways. The organizations being funded today represent faith, government, and non-profit sectors – all working with their communities to navigate challenges that, left unaddressed, become intractable and commonplace.” 

      Tim Chen, Board Chair of Advocates for Immigrants in Detention NW, “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the ability of AIDNW to provide the personal support and assistance to the immigrants housed and released from the NW ICE Processing Center located in the Tacoma industrial zone. The potential for the spread of the COVID-19 infection has caused AIDNW to pivot our services to emphasize “social distancing” and minimal person to person contact. The Welcome Center outside the detention center release gate now operates outside the RV, which is fine for now but will be difficult in Fall and Winter. The Hospitality House that provided temporary housing to those that must stay in the area for up to 30 days, can no longer accept new immigrants. The detention center is closed to visitors, so the Visitation program volunteers are no longer able to provide a friendly ear. 

      Currently, because of the risk of a COVID-19 infection, AIDNW will financially assist any immigrant with temporary housing in area hotels and, if necessary, travel arrangements to their final destination. The former very personal one to one relationship is now, unfortunately, an impersonal but vital relationship of getting the immigrant as quickly as possible to their final destination.” 

      Christina Hallock, Marketing Specialist & Grants Coordinator, Key Penninsula Metropolitan Park District (Key Pen Parks), “The Key Peninsula, especially the south end, has long struggled with reliable internet service. Outages are common, as is the slow speed of data transfer. The south end also has the highest concentration of lower-income families on the Key Peninsula. When the COVID-19 shutdown discussions began — and as schools, libraries, and other typically free wifi areas began to close — Scott, our former CEO who recently passed, saw an immediate need for reliable Internet in the south end and quickly arranged for a high-speed public wifi hotspot installation at Volunteer Park. The hotspot gives the public access to important communication during COVID-19; for news and other announcements, to get in touch with faraway friends and relatives, to video chat with doctors and teachers as needed. It was available to the public on March 20.”

      Cynthia Ricks-Maccotan, Violence Prevention Coordinator (CHI Franciscan), Facilitator of the Peninsula Violence Prevention Coalition, “The Key Penninsula Community has been hit hard with great need around food access, adequate resources to shelter in place, behavioral health, and online/virtual supports. As a result, we’ve seen unprecedented numbers of families seeking meals and food at the three main Key Penninsula food banks.

      We received funding to support area food banks, increase online/virtual assistance to families, provide rental assistance to families faced with eviction or insurmountable late fees, transportation assistance to families in need, and increased tele-mental health services.

      We are learning just how resilient the community is. We haven’t solved all the issues, but we have certainly come together to be there for each other in ways we probably never fathomed.” 

      PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funding for populations vulnerable to COVID-19 is made possible through generous contributions from 277 individual donors and 50 philanthropic funding partners. So far, contributions to PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED total a combined $7.1 million. 

      BECU is one of the funding partners. Solynn McCurdy, Senior Vice President Cooperative Affairs for BECU, “Together as a community, we are seeing firsthand the extensive social and economic impacts of the pandemic. We remain dedicated to helping ensure the long-term well-being and strength of the Pierce County community and beyond and are honored to support the important work being done to help the most vulnerable communities impacted by the crisis.” 

      South Sound 100 Women is another funding partner. Bobby Bailey, Co-Founder of South Sound 100 Women“We have been gathering for 5 years to create a collective philanthropic impact in the South Sound. We were delighted by the opportunity to join this aligned philanthropic effort to serve our most vulnerable South Sound neighbors.”


      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, Alisha Fehrenbacher 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, Nick Russell – The Russell Family Foundation, 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
      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.