Our History

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."

Our original logo, 1989

The Original Community Foundation Logo from 1989

Past logo

Past logo

Past Logo

Past Logo

Our logo today

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 120 separate funds and serves three counties. The assets we steward have grown to $38 million, and we have awarded more than $25 million in grants and scholarships over the years.

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 $1 Million in COVID-19 relief funds through our Resilience Fund, and distributed another $1 Million in CARES Act funding, deepened our commitment to equity, and unrestricted most grants to support our communities through a challenging year

"At any age, we all have assets to share. Small amounts make a difference. And we really are all in this together.”

- Janet, Community Foundation Fund Holder

“Philanthropy is an important piece of helping to sustain a thriving, healthy community... the dividends are a healthier, vibrant community.”

- Give Local Donor

"I know I can pick up the phone and call the CommunityFoundation and they'll take our call... I've been incredibly impressed with the generosity and sense of togetherness I've encountered in the South Sound. This community is strong because of that and only because of that."

- Brian, Local Nonprofit Leader