Germaine Korum, 74, who has been battling lung cancer for years, recently enjoyed a pre-grand opening celebration at Step By Step’s new Germaine Korum Center for Women and Children in Puyallup. They hosted the event to ensure Korum and her family could celebrate the achievement of its near completion together.

Step By Step has been helping low-income and at-risk mothers have healthy pregnancies and get a good start to parenting for more than 21 years. The organization has helped more than 10,000 women break free from poverty, abuse, neglect, and more to create better futures for themselves and their kids. Step By Step recently completed the $10 million capital campaign for the center that will continue to empower mothers and strengthen families in the local community. The Korums are the family behind the well-known car dealerships with the same name.

The Germaine Korum Center for Women and Children is located in Puyallup on the site that was once the Van Lierop Bulb Farm. The property soon will be open and feature Farm 12 Restaurant and Events, which has a 400-seat banquet event hall, a 2,000-square-foot training kitchen, and an onsite bakery and restaurant. The business will employ some of the women in the Step By Step program and the proceeds will be donated back to support the charity. The property also includes a retail greenhouse, Bee Kings honey, educational classrooms, and a counseling center. Onsite programs will include job-readiness training, mental health counseling, life skills, parenting classes, money management, and more.

The groundbreaking was celebrated in September 2018. The Korum family donated $500,000 in 2015, helping kick off the campaign in a big way. Other major donors for the center include the Gary E. Milgard Family Foundation, Bamford Foundation, Franciscan Foundation, Columbia Bank, Ben B. Cheney Foundation, the Boeing Employees Community Fund, and others.

Over the years, Germaine Korum developed a passion for helping others, especially children. “It was her vision to empower and enrich the lives of kids who might otherwise not have a chance,” said Sophia Korum-Hall, Germaine’s daughter.

Germaine Korum said, “I think it will be really amazing and go on to help generations.”

Krista Linden, Step By Step’s executive director, said her goal for the center goes beyond just education and employment skills: She wants to build strong families.

Linden is incredibly grateful for the support of Germaine Korum and her family. “It’s one thing to have a big vision, but it’s another to paint the picture so others will join you,” Linden said. “I’m tremendously grateful to the Korum family for investing in the vision before there was much to see. I always wanted the site to be named after Germaine, someone who clearly has a heart for motherhood and children. It’s a perfect fit … This place will honor Germaine’s legacy and serve women and children, in her name, for generations to come.”

For more information, visit legacyinmotionproject.org.