PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Distributes $250K to Local Organizations Addressing Emerging Needs Related to COVID-19

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

Released 6/8/20 4:55pm
Media Inquiries Contact:
Megan Sukys, 253.345.4173
VP Communications, GTCF   


The PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund announced its latest round of funding with $250,000 going to 2 local organizations addressing emerging needs related to COVID-19 conditions. This brings the total funding through PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED to $3.4 million.   

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

The following received fund support to continue meeting urgent needs and to address important emerging needs as well 



Seth Kirby, VP Community Impact, Greater Tacoma Community Foundation “As PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED shifts to focus on emerging needs related to COVID-19 conditions, we are receiving a wide range of urgent requests from across the county. The funding distributed this week to Helping Hand House and RAIN Incubator highlights the broad range of system issues our community has the opportunity to reimagine and design so that impacted communities are prioritized from the beginning.” 


Kevin M. Bates, CEO, Helping Hand House, The onset of the COVID-19 crisis has led to increased anxiety and tension within families that were already under significant pressure. To provide one of life’s basic necessities, a safe temporary home, while they work to address other life challenges has been an honor.  

“The funding provided from PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED has allowed us to significantly increase the amount of emergency shelter and other housing solutions to families in our community, ending their crisis of homelessness, even during a time where there is a shortage of permanent housing units available. We have been able to extend stays in our Open Hearth Motel Emergency Shelter Program from an average of 10 days to up to 90 days, offering families the safety and security of a roof over their heads while they make progress toward securing their new home. 


David Hirschberg Ph.D, Founder & Catalyst RAIN Incubator “In March RAIN pivoted all resources to addressing the impact of COVID-19 infection, recognizing early the devastating effect this pandemic could potentially have on our community. The COVID-19 virus is exposing the inequity and disparity that exists in America today which is reflected in the fact that Black, Latinx and Native Americans are dying at higher rates, both from COVID-19 and systemic racism. At RAIN, equity guides our work in science education and evidenced based action, however we are committed to recognizing our personal biases, and we will take focused action to provide opportunities for people of color. Providing greater access to COVID-19 solutions is just one small step. We are grateful to PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED in providing funding for this important work. 

PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funding for vulnerable populations under COVID-19 conditions is made possible through generous contributions from 302 individual donors and 54 philanthropic funding partners. So far, contributions to PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED total a combined $7.2 million.

Tacoma-based Columbia Bank is one of the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funders. Columbia Bank’s contribution is part of its COVID-19 Community Relief Campaign to support community recovery efforts in addition to the support they were already providing for small businesses. Clint Stein, CEO, Columbia Bank, “Our communities were some of the first hit by the pandemic and to experience its economic impact. As such, we feel it is important to provide additional support for our region beyond the relief resulting from our PPP efforts.” 


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
Rotary 8
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.