Extraordinary support from the Tacoma Housing Authority allowed us to hire a second part-time employee and to expand our partnerships and services beyond anything we could have imagined without the THA grant. We are grateful for this and for the opportunity to partner with an organization with a long history of providing affordable housing and supportive service to our most vulnerable neighbors.
Thanks to Immanuel Presbyterian Church we have an office space! Irma’s House no longer does triple duty as office, meeting space, and living room for the shelter. The change makes Irma’s House more of a home and the new office allows us to meet with interns, volunteers, and other agencies at any time. We are grateful for the incredible gifts of space and community. Additional support was provided in 2016 through grants and IPC also hosted the Women ‘n’ Blues Vespers as a fundraiser for our programs. Our thanks to Pastor Dave, church staff, and the compassionate, welcoming congregation of IPC!
Thanks to the Greater Tacoma Community Foundation, for their generous grant in support of New Connections! We are also indebted to GTCF and Megan Sukys for the storytelling workshops and events provided to New Connections and other local non-profit agencies. Here is the story they helped us tell: The Nonprofit Life: A Local Expertise Exchange; New Connections.
Both Irma’s House (Irma Gary House) and Annie’s Cottage (Ann Flagg Cottage) are owned by the Tacoma Catholic Worker (TCW) and provided for use by New Connections without charge. Our partnership with TCW is at the heart of every welcome we offer to women as they rebuild their lives after incarceration.
St Leo Church: Gifts for the Journey
St. Leo parishioners supported New Connections when it was only a dream and continue to provide support through the annual Gifts for the Journey donations, volunteering, and support and advocacy for the women of Irma’s House and Annie’s Cottage.
New Connections’ Pea Patch Volunteers
History: Our garden is part of the Tacoma Catholic Worker’s Urban Village Commons; TCW has provided community garden space to a variety of organizations and individuals for decades. In May 2012, a great group of volunteers transformed the New Connections pea patch from a jungle of weeds to four raised beds, complete with plants and seeds. Many thanks especially to the enthusiastic employees of the Stewardship Foundation and Fiduciary Counseling Inc., based in downtown Tacoma, who made our pea patch a thing of beauty! They were such hard workers that they completed the project and went on to reclaim the much overgrown herb garden and tomato hoop house garden beds as well!
Special thanks also to:
- Gray Lumber who donated all lumber and hardware for the beds.
- Tacoma Catholic Worker who provided the pea patch space and will supply water throughout the life of the garden.
- Mike Elliot who loaned his truck to haul top soil and compost.
- Neighborhood residents including Catholic Workers & Guadalupe House.
- New Connections staff, board members, and residents of Irma’s House and Annie’s Cottage.
- Board member and founder of Share the Wealth Organics, Sass Ruthven, for designing the garden and donating many of the starts and seeds needed
- Operation Rice Bowl (Archdiocese of Seattle) for funding additional starts and seeds for the project
The project was labor intensive but hugely satisfying and garden volunteers continue to help through the years. We plan to continue improving the community garden space and to share the bounty with those living at our shelters as well as our neighbors experiencing homelessness who join us at Guadalupe House for Tuesday meals.
Other Essential Individuals and Organizations
Important support was also provided in 2016 by the Seattle Foundation, the Peterson Trust, St Charles Borromeo Parish,the Exodus Project, the Hilltop Madrinas, the West Coast Companeros. and the New Upper Zion Christian Church.
Our programs also benefit from the great interns who come to us each year and from the supervision provided through the colleges and universities they attend. Special thanks go out to Tacoma Community College’s Human Services program for sending so many capable students our way.
Many other individuals and agencies work with New Connections to advocate for policies and provide services that reduce barriers to employment, housing, and reintegration for people returning to our community after incarceration. Our thanks all of to our amazing partners, donors and volunteers. We couldn’t do it without you!