Our History

30 Years of Trusted Service

Celebrating 30 Years of Trusted Service

Whether adjusting to changes in community needs, or looking beyond those needs to foster a deeper knowledge of philanthropy itself, for thirty years the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound has made a lasting impact. See our anniversary book "The Practice of Giving: 30 Years of Community Giving."

Boys and Girls Club of Thurston County
Ballet NW Dancer
Neddie Rose Farrington
Boys and Girls Club of Thurston County
Ballet NW Dancer

Begun in 1989 as a response to a community “visioning” session called Olympia 2010, the Foundation was initially created to build permanent funding sources to achieve this vision.

Originally an all-volunteer organization, the Foundation relied on the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation to manage the funds it created. Its initial focus was on building the capacity of existing local nonprofits through trainings for boards and staff, and assisting with fundraising for operating expenses.

Today, the Foundation holds over 95 separate funds, serves 3 counties, distributes more than one million dollars in grants and scholarships each year, and assets under management have grown to $25 million. Since its inception, the Community Foundation has awarded more than $13 Million in grants and scholarships.  

Our growth is a tribute to our community’s recognition of the value of philanthropy, and the vital role nonprofits play in creating a thriving community. Thanks to the generosity of thousands of local donors, the Community Foundation has evolved to become a place to address unmet needs and build strong, lasting community assets so that people want to live, work, and stay here—now and for years to come.

Milestones

1989: Founded as Greater Thurston County Community Foundation

1993: First scholarship distribution: Set up by L&E Bottling Co.

1994: Established revolving loan fund to enable child care workers to achieve more formal credentialing to enhance the professional nature of their businesses

1996: Hired first full-time Executive Director (Colleen Gillespie)

1997: Name changed to The Community Foundation; expanded service area to include Mason and Lewis Counties

1999: Reached $1 Million in assets; ended reliance on Greater Tacoma Community Foundation for asset management

2000: Initiated endowment building campaigns with $10,000 match per nonprofit

2002: Name changed to The Community Foundation of South Puget Sound

2004: Hired current President & CEO (Norma Schuiteman)

2008: Received National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations accreditation—a rigorous review of community foundation operations, policies, and procedures

2009: Assets under management reached $5.5 Million

2010: Irving A. Lassen Foundation, a private foundation, converted its $5.5 Million in assets to a discretionary fund at the Community Foundation

2012: Received 4-year $500,000 grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to address poverty alleviation; received generous bequest from Neddie Farrington for the benefit of the Westport area

2013: Launched Environmental Grantmaking initiative; renewed accreditation for National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations

2016: Distributed more than $1 Million in grants and scholarships in one year for the first time; received second grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

2017: Launched Give Local—an effort to increase community philanthropy through online giving

2018: Bequest of $5.6 Million from the estate of Hal Marcus received for designated charities and areas of interest determined by the Marcuses; Foundation assets reach $25 Million