PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Distributes $545K To Support Vulnerable Populations During COVID-19  


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

Released 4/30/20 5:00pm
Media Inquiries Contact:
Megan Sukys, 253.345.4173
VP Communications, GTCF  


The PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund announced its fifth round of rapid response funding totaling $545,000 to 31 organizationsagencies, and entities serving communities across Pierce County. This brings the total funding through PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED to $3.1 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: 


  • AHAT Homecare – Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • Bates Technical College Foundation – Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • Bethel School District Foundation – Childcare for Essential Workers, Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • Empowering People in Communities (EPIC) – Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • Children’s Museum of Tacoma – Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • College Success Foundation – Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • Communities in Schools of Tacoma – Food Access 
  • Cowlitz Tribe – Food Access 
  • Crystal Judson Family Justice Center – Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • Exodus Housing – Housing & Shelter 
  • FabLab – Food Access, Housing & Shelter, PPE  
  • Greater Gig Harbor Foundation – Food Access 
  • Habitat for Humanity – Housing & Shelter 
  • HopeSparks – Food Access 
  • House of Matthew  Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • LASA – Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • Making a Difference Foundation – Food Access 
  • Mom & Me Mobile Medical Clinic – Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • Mountain View Community Center – Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • Multicultural Child and Family Hope Center – Childcare for Essential Workers, Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • Neighborhood Clinic – Housing & Shelter 
  • Northwest Immigrant Rights Project – Housing & Shelter 
  • Olive Crest – Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • Orting Food Bank – Food Access 
  • Plateau Outreach Ministries – Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • Spana-Park Senior Citizens Organization – Food Access 
  • The Coffee Oasis – Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • Treehouse – Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • Trinity Lutheran Feeding Ministry – Food Access 
  • United Way of Pierce County – Food Access, Housing & Shelter 
  • World Relief Seattle – Food Access, Housing & Shelter 


After five weeks of funding, Dona Ponepinto, United Way of Pierce County President & CEO and co-chair of the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funding committee observedThe needs are shifting as organizations look ahead. Alongside the community, the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED funding committee is beginning to shift its focus from rapid response to emerging needs. The requests funded this week represent the wide range of food access, housing and shelter support, and childcare needs that families are navigating across the county, as well as the adaptive and responsive solutions organizations are using.”  

FabLab Tacoma Co-owner/Director of Marketing William Davis, “As normal supply chains were unable to keep pace with the growing demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), FabLab Nonprofit leveraged open-source designs, locally sourced materials, a team dedicated to volunteers, and crowdsourced funding to deliver scarce masks and face shields to the local essential workers who needed it most. 

“Thanks to the generosity of the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED fund, we will continue to engage in the production of PPE. As the local hospitals begin to catch up via traditional supply chains, we will focus on the individuals and organizations that are further down the supply line. We will emphasize distribution to tribal communities, essential workers that do not have current access to PPE, area shelters, social workers, and senior care providers.”  

Mountain View Community Center primarily serves residents of Edgewood, Fife, Milton, Puyallup and Sumner. Executive Director Jesie Holden, We are seeing families impacted on a scale that has not been seen in a generation. One parent explained, Due to COVID-19 I lost my job soon after the announcement was made. Then my husband’s hours were cut, then he lost his job entirely! We have four children and taking care of them was never a problem until now. It is clear that this pandemic will have a lasting impact for many years to come and will widen the gap between those that have strong relationships, resources, and support and those that do not. That is why the need to be a good neighbor and work together to strengthen community will be needed now more than ever.  

Thanks to the support from the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund we are now distributing close to 600 weekend food packs for students each week and assisting families with housing and other essential needs through the creation of The Good Neighbor Fund. Together, thanks to our partners and donors, we are distributing HOPE one neighbor at a time. Hope is not canceled.” 

Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity CEO Maureen Fife, While we’d certainly never wish for a new reason to talk about affordable housing, the COVID-19 pandemic serves as a poignant reminder of just how much home matters. There are families depending on us: families waiting to escape rent-burdened, over-crowded living situations; families who are too often making difficult choices between paying rent or providing for daily life and emergent needs. Our Habitat Homeowners who have never been a day late with their mortgage need help. Those choices become even more urgent and impactful in times like these 

No matter the challenge we face as an organization we hold tight to this certainty: Tacoma Habitat will continue building for families who need the strong foundation of safe, affordable housing so long as there is need. I am grateful to the PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED Fund and its donors who help make that possible.” 


Rapid response funding for populations vulnerable to COVID-19 is made possible through generous contributions from 203 individual donors and 43 philanthropic funding partners. So far, contributions to PIERCE COUNTY CONNECTED total a combined $6.8 million. 

Premera is one funding partner. “The breadth and impact of this virus make this an unprecedented time, and collective action is our only solution,” said Premera President and CEO Jeff Roe. “We’re committed to working with our many partners in Pierce County and in all of our communities to help us all manage this health emergency.” 

Another funding partner is MultiCare Health Systems. “Many of the organizations provide critical services, such as shelter and food for those in need, and childcare for the children of first responders and health care workers,” says Lois Bernstein, Chief Community Executive for MultiCare. “We are thankful for the work that these organizations do in our community, and we want to help them continue their work, particularly during this uncertain time. 


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. 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, 2020The 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 

Since the launch, 246 local and regional foundations, businesses, and individuals have donated a combined $6.8 million.  

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. 





AmazonBallmer GroupBates Family FoundationBeardsley Family FoundationBECUBen B. Cheney FoundationBill & Melinda Gates FoundationCampbell Family FoundationCampbell/Loan Family Charitable FundCHI FranciscanCorry & Donna J. McFarland FoundationElevate Health & OnePierce Community Resiliency FundFoundation for Tacoma StudentsJayRayJP Morgan ChaseLT Murray Family FoundationKeyBankKorum for Kids FoundationMedina FoundationMJ Murdock TrustMultiCareNames Family FoundationOscar T and Olivann Hokold FoundationPacific SourcePerigee FundPremera Blue CrossPropel InsurancePuget Sound Energy FoundationRoy & Patricia Disney FoundationRuth Foundation, Satterberg FoundationSouth Sound 100 WomenStewardship FoundationStolte Family FoundationThe Baker FoundationThe Bamford FoundationThe Russell Family FoundationTodd & Teresa SilverTom and Meg Names Family FoundationUmpqua BankUnited Way of Pierce CountyWells FargoWhisper 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.