Tacoma Rotary makes major donation for Goodwill Youth Center

The Tacoma 8 Rotary Club will give $100,000 to Tacoma Goodwill for its Youth Career Development Center, the collaborative centerpiece of a new building planned to support a tripling of the nonprofit agency’s services in Pierce County over the next five years.

Pete Taylor, Tacoma 8 Rotary president, said Goodwill’s proposal best represented the goals club members wanted for their one Centennial Fund Grant. The club reached its decision June 7 after an extensive application and review process.

“Helping Pierce County’s at-risk young adults obtain life and job skills is a priority for our Rotary members,” said Taylor. “This grant is Rotary’s way of providing a significant gift to participate in Goodwill’s mission to help change lives through work.”

Taylor noted Goodwill has already received Rotary support. Twenty-one Rotarians are currently board members of Goodwill, members of Goodwill’s senior management team or special friends of the organization, and have already pledged $440,000 toward the project.

The grant will have major impact on Goodwill’s own efforts, according to Tacoma Goodwill CEO Terry A. Hayes.

“Rotary’s selection of Goodwill is a significant statement of approval from the community,” she said. “Rotary’s involvement will add to the growing momentum not only for fundraising but for programming that will take place in the new center.”

Tacoma Goodwill plans to build a 65,000-square-foot Work Opportunity Center on its 6-acre campus, at the corner of Tacoma Avenue South and South 27th Street. Inside, on the first of two floors, will be the Youth Career Development Center, a collaboration of 10 agencies serving at-risk youth to provide counseling and job placement.

The agencies involved in the YCDC include Bates Technical College, Centro Latino, Job Corps, Metropolitan Development Council, My Service Mind, Tacoma Community House, Tacoma Pierce County Employment & Training Consortium, Tacoma Public Schools, and Vadis.

Taylor said the grant was only a “formal beginning” of Rotary’s involvement with the youth center. Future participation could include mentoring and counseling of young adults, classes on business entrepreneurship and other youth programs at the center.

“Rotary’s participation means valuable leadership for young adults needing help that can be a model for efforts across the region and nationally,” Hayes said.

A University of Washington Tacoma study estimated 13,000 young adults ages 16-21 will need job skills and guidance services by 2010, when the center is planned to open. The Youth Career Development Center is expected to serve at least 3,000 young adults early in its operation.