Over the past 15 years, Tacomans have donated $85,000 to $100,000 to support cultural and infrastructure projects in the city’s sister city in Cuba, says Frances Lorenz, a longtime member of the Tacoma-Cienfuegos Sister City Committee.
The committee raises funds at an annual “Taste of Cuba” event featuring a Cuban meal and a silent and verbal auction. Each of Tacoma’s 13 sister-city committees raises its own funds and chooses where to spend it, Lorenz said.
The Tacoma-Cienfuegos committee, with 15 members, meets monthly on the third Thursday at the Center for Spiritual Living, 206 N. J St. The city’s umbrella Sister City Council meets at the downtown municipal building on the third Wednesday of the month.
The Cienfuegos committee chooses projects to support.
“It’s by consensus,” Lorenz said. “We look at the possibilities, and we make a commitment to a specific project.”
At present, the committee is considering establishing a four-week exchange to allow up to four students from Tacoma to attend the University of Cienfuegos.
The committee also will consider helping the Cuban National Champion Cienfuegos rowing club find new equipment.
Over the years, Cienfuegos has offered Tacoma musical and artistic presentations. Informal delegations from Tacoma typically visit Cuba annually.
Committee volunteers are welcome, Lorenz said.
“We are always up for meeting new people,” she said.