FIRCREST, Wash. — The Names Family Foundation, which has supported health and wellness projects in the region for many years, is pledging a $3 million gift to support the new Fircrest Pool and Community Center, the largest gift in the city’s history.
The City of Fircrest is replacing the nearly 60-year-old pool and community center complex. The Fircrest-based Names Family Foundation’s gift is a huge boost to the city’s effort to raise $8.5 million in philanthropic gifts and public grants toward the $18 million project.
The Names family announced the pledge on Aug. 17 during a community celebration of the existing pool’s history. The pool closed on Aug. 18, and the contractor is beginning to mobilize equipment for the 10-month project.
“I am excited for the young people who will get to make their own childhood memories in Fircrest,” said Rick Names, the Names Family Foundation’s Vice President.
The foundation was started in 1996 by Sis and Scott Names, who ran the successful Scott’s Athletic Equipment store in Lakewood for 42 years. Their family’s mission is to enrich the community by awarding grants to organizations that emphasize health, wellness, and physical education in the Tacoma and Pierce County area.
Five generations of the Names family have grown up in Fircrest and they have fond memories of participating in classes and sports at the community center, swimming at the pool, and enjoying their youth at Fircrest Park. “Fircrest will always have a special place in my heart, and I am truly excited to see what the future looks like for the city,” said Monica Names King, a granddaughter of the founders and secretary of the foundation. Added Paula Larkin, a foundation trustee and daughter of Scott and Sis: “I love Fircrest. I feel honored that the Names Family Foundation can be part of this community project.”
After nearly 60 years, the pool and community center are well past their useful lifespans. Last April, 79 percent of Fircrest voters approved a park bond to fund most of the replacement of both facilities, starting with a new pool that will be under construction this fall and open next summer. The community center will be replaced in 2021.
“The Names family has an incredible legacy of investing in gyms and recreational facilities throughout the region, and we’re honored that they are making such a historic pledge here in the city,” said Fircrest Mayor Hunter George. “Generations of residents of Fircrest and neighboring areas have grown up in our recreational facility. The Names Family Foundation is helping us ensure that future generations have the same opportunities to grow.”
The City of Fircrest has also received a $1 million pledge from the Bill and Joyce Edwards Foundation, which was founded by another local family with deep ties to the community center.
The city also has been awarded grants totaling $1.75 million from the Washington Legislature, and the city is committing $750,000 from its own reserves. Thanks to the Names and Edwards families, the city has $2 million left to reach its $8.5 million fundraising goal.
More information about the project is available at www.FircrestCommunityCenter.org.