Mark and Wendy Holcomb create a legacy inspired by a family of caregivers


By Kortney Scroger

What does it mean to leave a legacy? To Mark and Wendy Holcomb, it means leaving your community better than you found it.

“Both of us really believe in Tacoma and care about creating a healthy community,” Wendy says. “Your health and wellbeing are the foundation for your life. We think that access to health care is a strong piece of equity that all people should have.”

Mark and Wendy both grew up surrounded by generations of caregivers. Mark’s mother found her calling as a pediatric nurse after returning to school later in life.

“My siblings and I were very proud of our mom for going back to school and getting her nursing degree,” Mark explains. “We knew how important it was for her to help others.”

Wendy’s father was a physician and hospital administrator, her mother was a pediatric nurse practitioner and her sister is a hospice nurse.

“We both come from strong connections to health care,” Wendy says. “I think that’s what inspired both of us to become advocates within the health care field and support strong health care because we value that as a key component to a healthy community.”

Over the years, their support has taken many different forms. Wendy is a longtime Mary Bridge Brigade member and Mary Bridge Children’s Festival of Trees volunteer. Looking back on her history with Mary Bridge, one of her most impactful moments was when she was part of a student mentor program that connected youth to careers in the health care field and introduced them to the importance of philanthropy.

KellyG.jpg“I met a young woman who was part of a youth philanthropy program,” Wendy explains. “Being able to connect her talent and passion back to Mary Bridge, to watch her get inspired — that’s what it’s all about.”

That young woman was Kelly Gutierrez, now a pediatric nurse in the Mary Bridge Children’s Emergency Department. She’s the first in her family to work in health care.

“Wendy is the most generous person I know. She led me to this path of nursing, whether she realizes it or not,” Kelly explains. “I strive to be as giving as she is through the patients I treat every day.”

Mark is also an advocate for health care in the South Sound.

With the nudge of his law partner, former Board Chair and now Board Emeritus, Jim Morton, Mark became a member of the Mary Bridge Children’s Foundation Board. He served as Board Chair for several terms and helped found the Professional Legacy Advisory Council (PLAC), which educates the broader community on the personal and financial benefits of legacy giving and estate planning.

“While I was on the board, one of the more inspiring and rewarding things was the legacy gifts that would come through unexpectedly,” Mark explains. “I was always touched by that. It didn’t matter the dollar amount; it was people that felt very strongly about giving to Mary Bridge at the time of their death because of the care they or a loved one received. A gift at the time of death places emphasis on one’s life-long priorities. It says a lot that Mary Bridge has been the recipient of such generosity over the years.”

Legacy gifts and stories like these motivate the Holcomb’s to continue to give and to inspire others to join them.

“I think about the collective impact we can have,” Wendy says. “By ourselves we may feel like a small drip in the pot, but together, we can make a huge difference. Leaving a legacy is a strong message that we get to share about what we value and care about.”



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