Courtesy Karie Hamilton, Fair use image
Join Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity and Friends of the late Dr. Thomas in building the Dr. Claudia Thomas Legacy House. The house will be part of a 12-unit development in the Tillicum neighborhood—a home to a future Habitat homeowner, someone for whom homeownership would not be possible without support from generous people like you. In celebration of Dr. Thomas, help us provide the stability and self-reliance achieved through home ownership for a family in need.
A public servant at heart, Dr. Claudia Thomas led an extraordinary life, marked by a number of achievements and a calling to better her community. Claudia was an educator, activist and civic leader. She enrolled at Bennett College at the age of 15 to earn a teaching degree and later married Harry A. Thomas, a military officer, which gave her the opportunity to travel and teach in the U.S. and overseas. Claudia and her husband settled in Lakewood in 1963 when he retired from the military. With a Master of Science degree in Educational Administration from Seattle University and a Doctorate in Organizational Development and Management from Union University,
Claudia served 42 years in public education and retired as the Assistant Superintendent of Public Instruction for the Bremerton School District. She then worked to incorporate Lakewood as a Washington city. From those efforts, she was elected as one of the original members of the Lakewood City Council. She was then elected by the Council as Deputy Mayor. In 2006, Dr. Thomas was elected Mayor of Lakewood by the seven-member city council, becoming the first African American woman mayor in Washington State. She continued serving on the Lakewood City Council until 2011. Throughout her life, Claudia continued to serve the Lakewood community by leading and participating in many local organizations, including the Lakewood Human Services Collaboration, the Tacoma Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce and the Tacoma Urban League. She was also responsible for initiating the City of Lakewood’s practice of dedicating 1 percent of its general fund to human service organizations. In addition, Claudia’s insistence on engaging and empowering Lakewood’s youth led directly to establishment of the Lakewood Youth Council and Lakewood’s becoming a model community for America’s Promise, the National Youth Movement initiated by General Colin Powell.
Today, 1 in 7 Washington households is cost-burdened, paying more than half their income toward housing. This means several of your neighbors may not be able to afford both a roof overhead and groceries on the table. Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity has been working for over 35 years to keep entry-level homeownership affordable in our region. We started working in Tillicum in 2012, following an announcement by the City of Lakewood that it would use its share of federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding to provide affordable homeownership opportunities in the community. With more than 30 homes built there, Habitat is ready to return in the fall of 2022 and develop a complex of 12 units—American Townhomes off of Boat Road SW in Tillicum. In partnership with Habitat for Humanity, the Friends of Dr. Claudia Thomas are proud to sponsor one unit of the Tillicum 12-Unit project.
We are looking to our community to provide $100,000 toward building the Dr. Claudia Thomas Legacy House.
Thank you for honoring Dr. Claudia Thomas with a gift to Tacoma/Pierce County Habitat for Humanity. This donation will help hardworking families move from survival to sustainability through affordable homeownership.
The road hasn’t always been easy for Habitat families but, with a hand-up from you, children have a safe place to play, homeowners have the financial tools they need to succeed, and hope flourishes.
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