On June 13th, the Employees Community Fund (ECF) of Boeing announced that they would donate $500,000 to support Tacoma Community House’s work assisting immigrant, refugee, and low-income families in Washington’s South Sound. This half-million dollar grant is made possible by the generosity of hundreds of Boeing employees who choose to pay out of their paychecks each month, knowing that their dollars will go toward important causes.
ECF is an employee-owned charitable giving program that has been awarding grants to organizations since 1951. Recently, we were invited to visit Boeing’s Auburn facility to present our work to rooms full of current and prospective ECF participants. A member of the ECF leadership told the crowds of his personal commitment to the fund, recalling a time when his family fell on hard times and needed to use a food bank. Now on solid footing, he’s happy to “pay it forward” by donating what he can each month to help those in need. Judging by the size of ECF’s gift to TCH, he’s not the only one.
This $500,000 grant will support our $11,000,000 expansion plans to construct a new, two-story, 27,000 square foot building. Our current facility is simply too old, cramped, and outdated to continue serving the 3,500 individuals we see each year.
Space is a big issue. We do not have enough classrooms to accommodate demand for our English language, GED preparation, and Citizenship classes. Students have nowhere to study or relax in-between classes, and we have no rooms to offer our Hilltop neighbors and community members for special events. We even have a manager working out of a converted bathroom!
An updated, spacious, and energy-efficient building will mean the world to our clients—many of whom are on the verge of homelessness, fleeing war-torn countries as refugees, or struggling to navigate a new culture without being able to speak the common language.
Because of Boeing of WA’s philanthropy, we will be able to offer safer, more comfortable spaces for these individuals to take classes, receive job search assistance, consult with immigration specialists, and work with legal advocates. The outcome? More people who can advocate for themselves in English; more people with GEDs, jobs, and U.S. citizenship; and more people with renewed senses of confidence, safety, and belonging.
From the bottom of our hearts, the Tacoma Community House staff thanks Boeing employees for trusting in the power of their dollars to change lives.