Greater Tacoma Community Foundation

OVERVIEW: This funder supports a variety of causes in Pierce County, Washington. Major topics of interest are local youth, women and girls, and nonprofit capacity building.

FUNDING AREAS: Community neighborhoods, youth, arts and culture, nonprofit capacity building, women and girls

IP TAKE: This is a good local funder for general operating support. Such grants range up to $20,000, depending on your organization’s budget. The foundation hosts drop-in office hour events to help nonprofits learn about funding opportunities.

PROFILE: The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation (GTCF) is one of the largest grantmakers in Washington. Three community members came together in 1977 with an idea for a community foundation, and it became official in 1981 with $10,000 in assets and a $36,000 commitment from a local private foundation. Those assets have grown to over $100 million, and the foundation manages more than 450 donor funds.

In a 10-year period, GTCF supported over 500 nonprofits, giving $7.3 million to local groups in the county in a single year. Current financial data can be viewed here.

GTCF’s Spark Grants program supports grassroots leadership and awards microgrants up to $1,500 to leaders improving their neighborhoods. GTCF awards Spark Grants twice per year with a continuous application period.

It has supported nonprofit capacity building efforts with $150,000 in annual grant funding. Capacity building grants are up to $30,000 each: Examples of the types of efforts GTCF supports are here.

Approximately $450,000 per year goes to local nonprofits’ general operating funds. These grants range from $5,000 to $20,000.

A top cause for this funder is opportunities for youth. It regularly gives to after-school programs, summer learning programs, professional development for teachers who work with youth, and a youth philanthropy board.

GTCF is committed to supporting women and girls in participating equitably in community life. The Fund for Women and Girls provides one-year grants of up to $7,500.

The Foundation of Art Award, established in 2008, recognizes professional artists in the region. The foundation awards scholarships and works with nonprofit endowments as well.

The foundation is run by a staff of about 14 and a board of directors of about 15. This is an approachable and accessible foundation that regularly hosts information sessions to give potential grantseekers the opportunity to ask questions about funding opportunities in a personalized setting. These events are typically held at local coffee shops. The application process is conducted entirely online, and deadlines can be found on each of the grant program’s pages on the funder’s website.

Staff email addresses are on the People and Partners page. General contact details are info@gtcf.org and 253-383-5622. The senior program officer, Kathryn Zetzer, is the best contact regarding funding opportunities. Keep up with the funder on its news page.

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