PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Distributes $1M To Organizations Meeting Urgent COVID-19 Needs

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

Released 4/2/20 6:00pm
Media Inquiries Contact:
Megan Sukys, 253.345.4173
VP Communications, GTCF


The PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund announced $1 million in rapid response funding to 42 entities and organizations on Thursday, April 2, 2020. Further requests for funding to are now being accepted. Details are available at GTCF’s website.

The following entities and organizations received fund support for their immediate service to vulnerable populations during COVID-19:


All Saints Parish – Food Access

Associated Ministries – Housing & Shelter

Bethel Community Services – Food Access

Bonney Lake Food Bank – Food Access

Catholic Community Services – Housing & Shelter

Child Care Resources – Childcare for First Responders

Children’s Home Society of Washington – Key Peninsula – Childcare for First Responders

Communities In Schools Lakewood – Food Access

Communities In Schools Tacoma – Food Access

City of Steilacoom – Food Access

Cowlitz Tribe of Indians – Food Access

Eatonville Family Agency – Food Access

Eloise’s Cooking Pot Food Bank – Food Access

Emergency Food Network – Food Access

Families Unlimited Network – Food Access

Harvest House – Food Access

Helping Hands House – Housing & Shelter

Key Peninsula Violence Prevention Coalition – Food Access

Lutheran Community Services – Food Access

Mountain View Community Center – Food Access

Multicultural Child & Family Hope Center – Housing & Shelter

Mustard Seed – Food Access

New Phoebe House –Housing & Shelter

Nourish Pierce County – Food Access

Orting Food Bank – Food Access

Pierce County AIDS Foundation – Food Access, Housing & Shelter

Pioneer Human Services – Food Access, Housing & Shelter

Prairie Ridge Community Coalition – Food Access

Puyallup Food Bank – Food Access

Puyallup Tribe of Indians – Childcare for First Responders, Food Access, Housing & Shelter

St. Leo’s Food Connection – Food Access

St. Vincent de Paul – Housing & Shelter

Sumner-Bonney Lake Family Support Center – Food Access

Sumner Community Food Bank – Food Access

Tacoma Community House – Housing & Shelter

Tacoma Rescue Mission – Housing & Shelter

The REACH Center – Food Access

The Salvation Army – Food Access

Trinity Lutheran Church – Food Access

University Place Presbyterian Church – Childcare for First Responders

White River School District/WR Partnership –Housing & Shelter

YWCA – Housing & Shelter


COVID-19’s impact on Pierce County developed rapidly and in ways local entities and organizations were not able to plan for or prepare to address through their usual services. Supporting basic needs, like food and shelter, is harder as necessary public health measures lead to business shut-downs, layoffs, reduced volunteer staff, and greater restrictions due to social distancing. Meanwhile, the need for these basic supports is rapidly increasing.

Sue Potter, Executive Director of Nourish Pierce County Food Bank, shared the dramatic rise in need they’re seeing, “In 2019, 66,000 Pierce County residents visited a Nourish Food Bank at least one time. This represents 7% of the county population. As this current health crisis negatively impacts the economy, more and more people need us. Businesses are shutting down temporarily or permanently causing the state unemployment numbers to increase by 3,500% over last year. Our neighbors are going to need help and we want Nourish to be there for them.  We know we will be seeing record numbers.  We are preparing for a tidal wave.”

The economic impact of necessary COVID-19 public health measures is being felt all across Pierce County. The Puyallup Tribe of Indians is a sovereign nation of more than 5,000 members and one of the largest employers in Pierce County. It serves its people and neighbors with generosity and is committed to building a sustainable way of life for future generations.

The Puyallup Tribe’s seven-member governing body, the Puyallup Tribal Council, expressed appreciation for the funding from PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED, which will support children’s services, elder care, emergency support to at-risk individuals, and more, “The Puyallup have long been known as the generous and welcoming people, and we are humbled that in these uncertain times the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation reached out to us to see if they could help. They show what community means, and we raise our hands to these generous and welcoming people.” The Puyallup Tribal Council consists of Chairman David Z. Bean, Vice Chairman Bill Sterud, Sylvia Miller, Tim Reynon, Annette Bryan, James Rideout, and Anna Bean.


PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED 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. Dona Ponepinto, co-chair of the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funding committee, “In a time when the need is so great as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to ensure that we could get resources out as quickly as possible to those organizations delivering services to address urgent needs. This pandemic affects everyone and being able to come together as a funding community to address it is a powerful thing.”

Brad Cheney, co-chair of the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funding committee, “Tacoma/Pierce County is blessed to have such a quality group of nonprofits serving those that need it most. I applaud and thank the foundations, businesses, and individuals that have contributed to the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED fund.”

The other members of the funding committee are: 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, Richard Woo – retired CEO The Russell Family Foundation, Seth Kirby – Greater Tacoma Community Foundation

Organizations and entities with services based in Pierce County can now submit requests to the Rapid Response Fund. Information about the funding opportunity can be found at PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Rapid Response Fund web page.


As the public health response to COVID-19 in Pierce County escalated Friday, March 13, United Way of Pierce County and Greater Tacoma Community Foundation partnered to launch the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED fund, seeded with $750,000 from GTCF. GTCF committed another $1 million in matching dollars for regional funders joining in the effort.

Since the launch, 28 regional funders contributed more than $2.9 million, exceeding the GTCF match and bringing the total fund to $4.7 million. 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.


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 rapid funding to organizations directly serving urgent needs during COVID-19, donors are encouraged to donate to PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED fund.




BECU, Ben B. Cheney Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Campbell/Loan Family Charitable Foundation, Corry & Donna J. McFarland Foundation, Elevate Health & OnePierce Community Resiliency Fund, JayRay, JP Morgan Chase, KeyBank, Medina Foundation, MultiCare, Names Family Foundation, Perigee Fund, Premera Blue Cross, Propel Insurance, Roy & Patricia Disney Foundation, Ruth Foundation, Stewardship Foundation, Stolte Family Foundation, The Baker Foundation, The Bamford Foundation, Todd & Teresa Silver, Tom and Meg Names Family Foundation, Umpqua Bank, United Way of Pierce County, Wells Fargo, Woodworth Family Foundation