Celebrating Over 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."
Started in 1989 as a response to a community “visioning” session called Olympia 2010, the Community Foundation was initially created to build permanent funding sources to achieve this vision.
Originally an all-volunteer organization, the Community 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 100 separate funds and serves three counties. The assets we steward have grown to $40 million, and we have awarded more than $19 million in grants and scholarships over the years. We distributed over 2.4 million dollars in grants and scholarships in 2020, and administered another $1 million in CARES Act relief funds.
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, build community assets, and strengthen the South Puget Sound.
Community Foundation Milestones
Founded as Greater Thurston County Community Foundation
First scholarship distribution: Set up by L&E Bottling Co.
Established revolving loan fund to enable child care workers to achieve more formal credentialing to enhance the professional nature of their businesses
Hired first full-time Executive Director (Colleen Gillespie)
Name changed to the Community Foundation; expanded service area to include Mason and Lewis Counties
Reached $1 Million in assets; ended reliance on Greater Tacoma Community Foundation for asset management
Initiated endowment building campaigns with $10,000 match per nonprofit
Name changed to the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound
Hired past President & CEO Norma Schuiteman
Received National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations accreditation—a rigorous review of community foundation operations, policies, and procedures
Assets under management reached $5.5 Million
Irving A. Lassen Foundation, a private foundation, converted its $5.5 Million in assets to a discretionary fund at the Community Foundation
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
Launched Environmental Grantmaking initiative; renewed accreditation for National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations
Distributed more than $1 Million in grants and scholarships in one year for the first time; received second grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Launched Give Local—an effort to increase community philanthropy through online giving
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
Hired current President & CEO, Mindie Reule
Raised COVID-19 relief funds, distributed CARES Act funding, deepened our commitment to equity, and unrestricted most grants to support our communities through a challenging year