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

Released 6/25/20 7:00pm
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 to support the Whole Child Summer Day Camp Partnership. This brings the total funding through PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED to $3.6 million.

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

The following organizations received funding for the Whole Child Summer Day Camp Partnership to address the emerging need of youth programming for children of working parents under COVID-19 conditions:

Boys & Girls Club
MetroParks Tacoma

Tanya Durand, Executive Director at Children’s Museum of Tacoma, powered by Greentrike, “Due to COVID-19 conditions, there are thousands of day camp spots that won’t be offered this summer. Joining forces with Boys & Girls Club, MetroParks Tacoma, and YMCA enabled all of our organizations to continue meeting our missions by sharing our superpowers. 70% of our summer day camp attendees will be youth who qualify for free and reduced-cost lunches at school. This means our partnership will be able to help working parents feel secure about their children as they provide essential services in our community.”

Holly Bamford Hunt, Director of the Bamford Foundation and a member of the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Funding Committee, “PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED appreciates the collaborative co-design of this new model of summer day camp programs for preschool through school-age children. It acknowledges the social-emotional well-being of each child, the needs of their parents working in essential services, and the necessary public health guidelines. This kind of adaptive and collaborative approach can be a resource as community organizations and school partnerships across Pierce County work to respond to needs for programming to support children and families in anticipation of what this coming school year will look like. Not only are the Whole Child Summer day camps addressing an urgent need for child care spaces for families, but they will also be engaging, connecting, and supporting children in ways that may help them transition to a different-feeling school experience in the Fall.

“The child care industry has been, in the words of Child Care Resources Executive Director Phoebe Anderson, ‘deeply underfunded and overburdened for decades.’ Then, COVID-19 brought even greater financial strain on families and providers caring for young and school-age children. COVID-19 has created a situation in which providers – including home-based child care centers and school-age organizations – must maintain their high quality of care along with stringent public health practices while caring for limited numbers of children, placing an even greater financial burden on the providers. Some providers have had to close their businesses. Parents seeking care have more limited options due to these conditions. Many children in Pierce County have traditionally been cared for by families, friends, and neighbors. There is a need for more resources for these caregivers to continue caring for children under COVID-19 conditions. I am grateful for Pierce County’s commitment to providing child care vouchers for families and relief funds for providers. I acknowledge the need will continue to grow in this area.”

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 $7.3 million.

The Seattle-based firm Laird Norton is one of the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funders. Laird Norton’s contribution greatly aligns with their continued commitment to support community, especially in times of crisis. Jeff Vincent, CEO of Laird Norton Company, “We understand our long-held values of community care and partnership are even more important during these times, and we will continue to do what we can in support of our communities, partners, employees, and family members who have given so much to our enterprise over seven generations. We’re grateful to the Laird Norton Family Foundation for initiating Laird Norton’s collective Stronger Together response and proud to support PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED.”

Tacoma-based drive-in restaurant and donor Frugals values the importance of community engagement. Through their various fundraisers and food bank donation programs, Frugals continues to provide hope and support to our community. Frugal’s representative Rachel Clifford, “Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, Frugals has been truly fortunate. At the same time, we recognize that there are many who have not been so lucky and want to do whatever we can to give back to the communities that have treated us so well over the years. We hope that our contributions can help make the “new normal” a little easier for everyone.”


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 funding opportunity can be found at the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Emergency Response Fund webpage.

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 JayRay
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.