PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Distributes Second Round Of COVID-19 Rapid Response Funding


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

Released 4/10/20 8:00am
Media Inquiries Contact:
Megan Sukys, 253.345.4173
VP Communications, GTCF


The PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund announced $200,000 in rapid response funding on Thursday, April 9, 2020 to support populations greatly impacted by COVID-19. This funding comes a week after an initial $1 million was distributed. The next round of rapid response funding will be announced next week. Further requests for funding are now being accepted. Details are available at GTCF’s website.

The following received fund support to provide immediate services:


City of Puyallup – Housing & Shelter

MultiCare – Support for Healthcare Providers

The Islamic Center of Tacoma – Food Access, Housing & Shelter

YMCA of Pierce and Kitsap Counties – Housing & Shelter


While Governor Jay Inslee’s Stay-at-Home order and other social distancing measures are showing effectiveness at reducing the spread of COVID-19, some populations are more vulnerable to economic, housing, and other impacts of COVID-19 disruptions.

In the City of Puyallup, a sudden surge of persons experiencing homelessness led the City to mobilize resources to create a Temporary Emergency Location (TEL). Brenda Fritsvold, Public Information Officer for the City of Puyallup, “We know that persons who are homeless are at special risk of sickness and infection. The temporary emergency location includes a hand washing station, which is critical for maintaining good hygiene to ward off highly communicable diseases such as COVID-19.

Additionally, the temporary emergency location requires that all tents and vehicles be situated at a distance from each other. As we’ve seen, severely curtailing social contacts helps deter the spread of COVID-19. The temporary emergency location allows this distancing to occur not just by offering the physical space needed, but also by providing essential basic facilities and meals on site.”

The YMCA will open their downtown Tacoma Center shower facilities for young adults staying at the Beacon Center. Run by Comprehensive Life Services, the Beacon Center is a homeless youth and young adult drop-in center and a young adult shelter providing shelter for young adults experiencing homelessness in Pierce County. Serving folks from the ages of 12 to 24, the Beacon Center offers clothing, food, and hygiene services, but the shelter doesn’t have on-site shower facilities for young people staying there.

Kim Zacher, CEO of Comprehensive Life Services, “We are so appreciative of the efforts of PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED to support our local homeless community and service providers. Access to showering facilities is important for our youth to ensure we are doing all we can to keep the shelter a safe, healthy environment during the COVID pandemic. It is also a matter of human dignity.

In this moment, when many of our comforting routines and coping activities aren’t available to us, those activities we can count on become even more important. For young adults living in a shelter, access to laundry, showers and other basic services provides a sense of safety and normalcy that all of us are craving.”


Rapid response funding for populations vulnerable to COVID-19 is made possible through generous contributions from 146 local and regional foundations, businesses, and individuals. So far, contributions to PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED total a combined $5.1 million.

Erin Shagren, Executive Director/Trustee Names Family Foundation, Trustee Tom & Meg Names Family Foundation, shared why they supported PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED, “We are living in unprecedented times and uncertainty. This is the very time for the philanthropic community to rise up to the occasion and help bridge the gap for the many non-profits in the Pierce County community. This is why the Names Family Foundation and the Tom and Meg Names Family Foundation see this as a time to go outside our normal giving parameters and partner with other foundations in Pierce County through the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation’s PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund.  It is through this fund that the most immediate needs of our community will be able to be met. I would encourage anyone who is looking for a way to help Pierce County and the meet the needs of its most vulnerable citizens to please give to the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund.”

Allison Campbell is another funding partner, “It was our pleasure to contribute to the connected fund.  Our community is so lucky to have you all leading the charge.  Making a gift to a single organization who we trust will distribute the funds where they are needed most brings such peace of mind, which right now is a very precious thing.”

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, 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 Emergency Response Fund. Information about the funding opportunity can be found at the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Emergency 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, 146 local and regional foundations, businesses and individuals have donated a combined $5.1 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 Fund, Corry & Donna J. McFarland Foundation, Elevate Health & OnePierce Community Resiliency Fund, Foundation for Tacoma Students, JayRay, JP Morgan Chase, KeyBank, Medina Foundation, MJ Murdock Trust, MultiCare, Names Family Foundation, Pacific Source, Perigee Fund, Premera Blue Cross, Propel Insurance, Puget Sound Energy Foundation, Roy & Patricia Disney Foundation, Ruth Foundation, South Sound 100 Women, 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, Whisper Foundation, Woodworth Family Foundation