MultiCare Health System recently awarded grants totaling $322,500 to 31 local nonprofits through its newly established Community Partnership Fund.
Of those 31, three are based in Puyallup: Communities in Schools of Puyallup, The TEARS Foundation and Step by Step.
Bill Robertson, chief executive officer and president of MultiCare, set aside $500,000 to establish the Community Partnership Fund last spring.
Grants were awarded to community-based nonprofits promoting health and vitality in areas such as health improvement, economic well-being, education and the arts.
“MultiCare has a long tradition of partnering with the community and this is an exciting next step in that important work,” Robertson said. “We know that there are many determinants of health beyond access to health care and we are committed to collaborating with organizations that also are focused on improving the quality of life for all of our neighbors.”
Jan Mauk, executive director of Communities in Schools of Puyallup, said receiving a $5,000 grant symbolizes the continuation of a long and successful partnership with MultiCare.
Communities in Schools of Puyallup’s partnership with MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital started in 2002 when the Good Samaritan Readers program was established. The program started with 22 students at Stewart Elementary paired with adult volunteer mentors. With the program expanded to Karshner, Sunrise, Pope and Waller Road, there were 167 students served in the 2014-2015 school year. This school year, Woodland Elementary was added.
The $5,000 grant will go toward strengthening site coordination at Karshner, Stewart and Sunrise, where comprehensive services are offered like weekend backpack programs, after school activities, parenting workshops and other resources to help students and families, Mauk said. Grant dollars would specifically support staff costs.
“Our largest expense is staff,” Mauk said. “They’re the ones helping to coordinate all the resources and partners.”
The TEARS Foundation is also another Puyallup-based nonprofit proud of a continuing successful partnership with MultiCare.
Sarah Slack, executive director and founder of The TEARS Foundation, said a $10,000 grant received from MultiCare will help further its mission to support bereaved parents who lose an infant with funeral, headstone and cremation costs.
“This lifts the financial burden and supports them,” Slack said.
MultiCare’s Tacoma General Hospital regularly refers parents who have a lost a baby to The TEARS Foundation, Slack said.
“I think this is a good fit and a good partnership with MultiCare,” Slack said.
Slack founded the nonprofit in 2002 following the stillbirth of her son Jesse Curtis Slack on Nov. 14, 2000. Slack sought to transform her personal tragedy into a positive opportunity to reach out to other parents grieving the loss of their baby and whose financial burden is high.
Since its founding, The TEARS Foundation has helped thousands of families with financial support and bereavement support services like grief support groups and peer companions. The Washington chapter office is at 11102 Sunrise Blvd. E., Suite 102. Today, there are chapters in 16 states and Puerto Rico.
The Puyallup nonprofit Step by Step received a $15,000 grant from the MultiCare Community Partnership Fund. Founded in 1997, Step by Step helps approximately 1,500 at-risk women annually in Pierce, King and Snohomish counties with resources to help deliver a healthy child into a healthy, nurturing home.
Krista Linden, founder and executive director of Step by Step, along with her staff, are now in the process of purchasing nearly seven acres of the Van Lierop bulb farm property in east Puyallup, which they hope to utilize to expand job skills training opportunities for the women they serve.
Linden said the grant will help to offset the cost of purchasing the property, as well as expanding the nonprofit’s job skills training services.
“We will be taking those clients we have relationships with and teach them skills to help them be more independent and help them provide for their children,” she said.
Andrew Fickes: 253-503-3965