Learn more about the Community Foundation and the work of our grantees, donors and community partners.
Discover the mission, work and impact of Greater Tacoma Community Foundation in this 2 minute video. Quickly learn about our goals, priorities and organizational values and how our efforts to bring people, data and resources together are helping to make Pierce County an even better place to work and live.
THE NONPROFIT LIFE: A Local Expertise Exchange
HIDDEN GIFTS: Vania Kent
Co-Founder, Co-Director, SKY Yoga
Running a nonprofit yoga studio that serves people of all incomes and abilities was rewarding, but exhausting, for Vania Kent and her team. She found that restructuring the organization’s internal structure helped create a more sustainable operation, and also helped teachers and students meet in a place of mutual benefit.
HIDDEN GIFTS: Andy Buelow
Executive Director, Symphony Tacoma
Andy Buelow of Symphony Tacoma shares how he learned that asking a little more for a long-time dream project can return gifts for the whole community.
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.
TECHNOLOGY: Wes Bailey
Board Member, Center for Dialog & Resolution
Wes talks about the power of investing in the people who use technology in order to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of our digital tools. Wes gives an example of working with a colleague who was not supporting the needs of the organization in a timely and thoughtful manner. Wes discovered his team member was not lacking motivation or commitment, but rather professional training and support on how to properly use the tech tools made available to them. As Wes states, “sometimes you have to look beyond what people are telling you to see what they are really communicating.” In this case, Wes clearly articulates that our technology is only as good as the people who are trained to use it.
TECHNOLOGY: Seth Kirby
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.
Rainier Therapeutic Riding provides what in some cases is life-saving equine therapy for soldiers suffering from physical and psychological battlefield wounds. Executive Director, Elisia Mutter describes how the program attracts a community of service members from all branches of the military whose “common bond is their love for and service to our country.”
Click here to learn more about Rainier Therapeutic.
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.
“Giving has to be a part of you, a part of your lifestyle. It starts with the small things.”
— Lea Armstrong
“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.
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.
Promoting the arts and economic development of Hilltop through performances and family-friendly activities that encourage people to share their interests, talents, and hobbies. Watch highlights of the event.