Learn More

Community Partner Videos

If you’re interested in a greater community, you’re not alone.

Meet some of the people who are building a stronger Pierce County through these videos of GTCF partners.

Youth Philanthropy Board

Since 2011, GTCF’s Youth Philanthropy Board (YPB) has provided young people in Pierce County an opportunity to identify, explore, and address their concerns for their community by using philanthropic resources to support change.
This year, the YPB identified youth returning to community after court-involvement as a major issue they wanted to address. The process they took in funding organizations to better serve those youth centered around a special convening with organizations who serve court-involved youth. YPB members learned more about the work the organizations were doing and shared ideas from their lived experience about programs and policies.

Spark Grants

Tacoma-based arts organizer Clarissa Grace Gines and local chef Jan Parker struggled to find events in Pierce County that celebrated their Filipino heritage. After years of driving to Seattle to attend events, they recently applied for – and received – a Spark Grant to help create their own event locally.

Sandra Smith received a Spark Grant to help launch Merry on Main, a youth-led, holiday-themed community decorating project on Main Street in Buckley. 

Chelsea McElroy received a Spark Grant to support her work with Vision of Eastside, a youth program that uses step as a vehicle to foster sisterhood and a sense of community with students in Tacoma’s Eastside neighborhood.

Lisa Bitney, manager of the Kobetich Branch of Tacoma Public Library, received a Spark Grant to fund a mural by artist Chelsea O’Sullivan celebrating the history and community of the Northeast Tacoma library.

After learning about the hardships faced by refugees in the Spring of 2016, Erin Guinup was moved to launch the Tacoma Refugee Choir, a place for people to sing together to find harmony.

GTCF Spark grants are micro-grants of up to $1,500 awarded to individuals. Spark grants are designed to bring people-powered ideas and dreams to life in Pierce County. Recipients spark positive social and neighborhood change through the efforts of grass-roots leadership.

Trisha Tracy received a Spark Grant to support her work at Mt. Tahoma High School. She took a group of young on a team building retreat to a nearby camp.

GTCF Spark grants are micro-grants of up to $1,500 awarded to individuals. Spark grants are designed to bring people-powered ideas and dreams to life in Pierce County. Recipients spark positive social and neighborhood change through the efforts of grass-roots leadership.

Learn how a $1,500 Spark Grant help start the Tacoma Tool Library and see how they are keeping tools and equipment out of the landfill and back into the hands of Pierce County residents who are working to improve their homes and neighborhoods.

The Key Peninsula Wood Bank was started when  a caring couple saw how a little bit of firewood could make a huge difference in the quality of life for their low-income neighbors. Checkout this short video to see how a little bit of time and compassion combined with some hard work can inspire an entire community to take care of each other during the cold winter months.

Pacific Lutheran University art student Saiyare Refaei returned from a study abroad trip to Oaxaca, Mexico, inspired by the power of engaging community through art. Her proposal to create a mural as a way to engage Parkland residents in sharing their stories quickly took root. The mural showcases the unique memories and ideas of the community.

Dietrich Baker’s Literacy for Life project used a young adultfiction novel to unite Ford Middle School around the fun ofreading. For some of its 900 students, this was the first bookthey ever owned.

Ben Warner is passionate about putting a positive face to Tacoma’s skate culture. Through Alchemy Skateboarding and Education community outreach, he watches youth volunteers act as role models while teaching skateboarding to elementary school students.

GTCF's Women's Economic Opportunity Initiative

Greater Tacoma Community Foundation’s Fund for Women and Girls has been dedicated to providing better opportunities in Pierce County since 1999. The Fund for Women and Girls’ Women’s Economic Opportunity Initiative is a community-driven approach to developing more services and supports for female heads of household on the brink of financial security.

Through two workshops in 2017, leaders from nonprofit, business, academics, and service organizations offered a more detailed picture of what it will take to improve economic opportunities for female heads of household in Pierce County.

THE NONPROFIT LIFE: A Local Expertise Exchange

HIDDEN GIFTS: Theresa Power Drutis
Executive Director, New Connections

Theresa Power Drutis runs a tiny organization, but a remarkable intern inspired her to take a risk to grow the good New Connections is doing in the community.

TALENT: Rebecca Sadinsky
Executive Director, PCC Farmland Trust

Rebecca discusses how growth and impact happens when collaboration and partnerships are at the forefront of your work. She tells her secrets to building a strategic plan and relationships together in order to maximize resources. Her and her team’s efforts have proven successful with the organization’s ability to preserve hundreds of acres of farmlands throughout our community.

TALENT: Maureen Fife
Executive Director of Tacoma-Pierce County Habitat for Humanity

Maureen shares how the power of a high-quality team of staff and board members can set the stage for a robust strategic plan that delivers meaningful results. She discusses inheriting an organization with a rich history and a challenging infrastructure. While it took her grit and resilience to get her organization where it is today, she also learned and gained a ton of insight, ideas and best practices that are shared in this video.

TALENT: Jeff Klein
Executive Director,
Sound Outreach

Jeff shares that an unwavering belief in the mission of your work and being vulnerable and transparent in your conversations with community partners can propel innovative ideas into reality. In this video, Jeff talks about his idea of bring innovative financing solutions to at-risk, low-income and vulnerable populations and how his revolutionary and creative strategies not only saved his organization but also opened a world of new possibilities. His authentic and contagious passion has not only captured the hearts and minds of conservative banking institutions but also funders, board members and community leaders.

TECHNOLOGY: Naomi Villano
Executive Director, New Phoebe House Association

Naomi shares that with determination, a game plan and help from some computer savvy volunteers, family members and VISTA staff she was able to turn around her organization. When she took over the organization in 2009, Naomi was faced with the challenge of an organization in the red and in desperate need of a turnaround. While the board was ready to close the doors, Naomi used her skills as a critical care nurse to breathe new life into the program. She credits her willingness to roll up her sleeves and to find free technology tools and services as keys to her success. Today, New Phoebe House is thriving thanks to Naomi’s passion of putting technology to work for her mission.

Executive Director, Oasis Youth Center

Seth discusses how Oasis’ young clients provided new ideas about how to use cloud-based tools and how a well-managed database improved community connections and increased fundraising for his organization. Seth’s organization was presented with a serious challenge when the landlord of their facility did not pay the mortgage and the property they were renting was sold and they were given just a few days notice to move. It was this event that led the organization on an 18-month adventure that would ultimately lead them to new partnership opportunities and an even better facility to serve more youth. It was during this adventure that Seth realized that Oasis really needed to upgrade its technology infrastructure to better serve its clients, funders and community partners.


Stellar Industrial Supply was the presenting sponsor at Greater Tacoma Community Foundation’s 35th Anniversary Celebration on Friday, September 9, 2016. This video highlights Stellar’s commitment to Pierce County and the Wiborg family’s involvement with the Community Foundation since it was founded in 1981.

Jim Walton, Col. Willie Stewart, and Patricia “Pat” Talton tell the story of the Tacoma Urban League Legacy Fund and the collective vision behind its inception.

“I was raised in a culture based on sharing and support, at a time when the community took responsibility for you.”
–James “Jim” Walton

Click here to learn more about the TUL Legacy Fund.

Lea Armstrong shares her background and philosophy of giving. Her dedication to supporting students underscores the importance of education for creating a better future at the individual and community level.

“Giving has to be a part of you, a part of your lifestyle. It starts with the small things.”
— Lea Armstrong

Click here to learn more about the Lea Armstrong Scholarship.
An environmental education organization, Harbor WildWatch works to foster stewardship of the Puget Sound ecosystem. They welcome people of all ages with free or very low-cost events that put residents in contact with marine life.

“Our hook is the animals…our goal is to create an emotional connection so that people will feel inspired to want to protect these animals”
–Lindsey Johnson, WildWatch Executive Director

Friends of Lakewold, dba Lakewold Gardens, joined as a supporting organization in 1987 and celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2014. During this milestone year, Lakewold Gardens dedicated the Donald & Mary Williams Garden Room—a two-year project funded by a grant through the Community Foundation—and was named to the National Register of Historic Places.Hear the history of Lakewold Gardens.

Mick Flaaen, who filmed each of these videos, was a University of Washington Tacoma intern at the Community Foundation in 2013.