Our History

30 Years of Trusted Service

Moving Philanthropy Forward

Whether adjusting to changes in community needs, or looking beyond those needs to foster a deeper knowledge of philanthropy itself, for more than a quarter century the Community Foundation of South Puget Sound has made a lasting impact. Begun in 1989 as a response to a community “visioning” session called Olympia 2010, the Foundation was initially created to support the local nonprofit sector in achieving this vision.


Boys and Girls Club of Thurston County

With a perspective gained from 25 years of charitable giving, The Foundation is uniquely poised to address the deepest needs, ideals and opportunities of the three counties it serves. Our approach is to inspire philanthropic efforts to enrich our communities. We move philanthropy forward.  Through our deep community knowledge, we empower and activate local networks, which concentrates our ability to forge effective partnerships. We wish to be known as the foundation that inspires the awakening of potential in others, the yet-to-be-imagined solutions, and the far-reaching initiatives that shape our community bedrock where future generations will stand.

1996  to 2010

Ballet NW Dancer

Between 1996 to 2004 The Foundation earned a reputation for fiscal sponsorship and assistance in capacity building, with agencies such as the Senior Action Network and South of the Sound Community Farm Land Trust gaining strength and independence due to this early support. During that time The Foundation hired its first fulltime executive director and acquired its current name. It also grew assets to $1.9 million, and expanded its service area to include Mason and Lewis counties. Beginning in 2004, the board of directors led a shift in the way The Community Foundation supported its ever-widening scope of work. It moved into a broader role of philanthropic leadership, primarily by expanding its asset base. Assets reached $5.5 million, as new donors grew to trust The Foundation’s local knowledge and flexible giving options.


Neddie Rose Farrington

In October of 2010, The Foundation acquired the Irving A. Lassen Foundation, formerly a private foundation, nearly doubling its assets to $11 million. More importantly, this provided a significant source for unrestricted grantmaking in Thurston County. Through 2013 The Foundation achieved other milestones, including the acquisition of the Jack and Neddie Rose Farrington estate, valued at approximately $1.4 million. Another vote of confidence came with the receipt of a $500,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Building Community Philanthropy program. At the end of 2013, The Foundation’s total assets exceeded $16 million.