Willie Stewart Scholarship Reception


Dona Ponepinto President & CEO
United Way of Pierce County Tacoma, WA 98402
253-272-4263 (Main)
Please email natasha@mosaicmarketingstudio.com for all Media Inquiries

24th Annual Willie Stewart Community Service Scholarship Honors 15 Pierce County Seniors on June 4

June 6, 2024 – Pierce County, Wash. — This year marks the 24ᵗʰ anniversary of the annual Willie 
Stewart Community Service Scholarship. From the very beginning, United Way of Pierce County (UWPC) 
has supported this scholarship program as a means of recognizing a select number of Pierce County 
high school seniors who demonstrate a commitment to volunteering in their community.

This year’s cohort of 15 recipients hail from high schools across the county, including Annie 
Wright Schools, Curtis Senior High School, Emerald Ridge High School, Graham-Kapowsin High School, 
Harrison Prep, Lincoln High School, Mount Tahoma High School, Sound Christian Academy, Sumner High 
School, Stadium High School, and Steilacoom High School. Recipients were selected based on their 
leadership, impact and commitment to service beyond high school. These 15 students performed over 
8,740 combined hours of community service. One student completed over 1526 hours on their own!

United Way and local leader Willie Stewart granted $2,500 to each scholarship recipient. Recipients 
will use their awards to help pay tuition at colleges and universities across the country. On 
behalf of the entire community, United Way congratulates the following students for their 
dedication to giving back through volunteerism: Genesis Arias- Villalobos, Harli Barker, Divine 
Boyd, Nevaeh Dawkins-Watson, Emara Henderson, Ilee Lewis, Sophie Nguyen, Jeonghyun Park, Louisa 
Paulsen, Amanda Peterson, Kobe Rodriguez, Nichole Sienkiewich, Serina Su, Brianna Tunwar and Grace 

United Way has partnered with Willie Stewart for all 24 years of the scholarship’s existence to 
celebrate the Pierce County high school seniors most dedicated to community service. Stewart

and his good friend, the late Karl Anderson, started the program after Stewart ran for the Tacoma 
School Board in 1999. Anderson was his campaign treasurer. When the successful campaign was over, 
they had funds leftover, and Anderson suggested they be used to start a scholarship program for 
young volunteers in the community. Stewart wanted a large, recognizable organization to oversee the 
administration of the program, so he took the idea to UWPC’s CEO at the time, Rick Allen. Allen 
loved the idea. In 2000, the program honored its first cohort of seniors.

As an educator, a veteran and a community leader, Stewart continues to be an inspiration for 
generations of Pierce County students. “The future of this nation is going to be based on 
volunteerism,” Stewart says. “We need more people born with heart and compassion. The only way 
we’re going to get out of the situation we’re in is with love and respect and getting involved 
Community service is the first step.”

United Way of Pierce County collaborates to break the cycle of poverty by removing barriers and 
focusing on long-term solutions. By helping build strong families and successful kids, we create a 
community that will thrive.