About Us

Hello 253!  You know who you are.

We are Chiara Wood and Kate Stirling~Founders of the Happiness Initiative Project ~ Tacoma/Pierce County.  Although we’ve been interested in and following the progress of The Happiness Initiative in other parts of the country and world for quite some time, we’ve come together now to promote an economy of Well~Being in our own community.  In August 2012, we became official Happiness Index Trainers after participating in the first training by The Happiness Initiative in Seattle.  HIPinthe253! is now part of a national and global Happiness movement!

Why does this matter, you ask?    It is our desire to promote community awareness, enthusiasm, and demand for using the Happiness Initiative Project survey to measure local strengths and concerns of the people who live and work in Tacoma/Pierce County.  It is our intention to gather the data from as many diverse segments of our community as possible.  With this analyzed data, we hope to encourage policy makers toward positive change based on a New Economy Of Well~Being.

Who wouldn’t want to be HIPinthe253?

Everyone wants to be happy and enjoy a sense of well~being.  Minimally we all need food, shelter, work, and good health as a basic starting point.  But when our basic needs are met, Happiness or Well~Being is then, often something more than money can buy.  Important aspects of lifestyle factor into our overall satisfaction and contentment.  Things like our physical health, work/time balance, environmental quality and access to education, arts and cultural activity are just some of the more profound ways we experience personal as well as social well~being. To measure our quality of life in the 253, we now have a tool to help neighborhoods, schools, businesses, organizations and government define more clearly what that is.  As we begin to collect and analyze the survey results, we hope to host community conversations to harvest the wisdom of our friends and neighbors and create solutions that reflect our common good.

Thank you for finding us!  Consider joining us.  We’re HIP Chicks and Dudes, exploring what it means to promote HIPinthe253.  Stay tuned!  We have much more to share!

We invite you to Take The Survey.


An economy of well-being that meets a broad range of community needs, and results in thriving individuals, families, neighborhoods, and cities.


  • Use the Happiness Index survey to identify local strengths and needs.
  • Be a vehicle for community engagement, connection, and dialogue.
  • Work with other community members, organizations, and policy makers to create a new economy of well-being.

Who we are

HIP in the 253 (Happiness Initiative Project in Area Code 253) is a volunteer organization based in Tacoma, Washington.  Founded in 2012, it is part of a regional, national and international movement to promote greater happiness and build an economy of well-being.

Our primary tool for assessing happiness and well-being is the Happiness Index survey that asks about nine life domains:

Our goals are to raise community awareness about the survey, encourage a wide range of people who live and work in Pierce County to take the survey, and share survey results at community gatherings.  This will provide a platform for Pierce County residents to identify and articulate what enhances, and what detracts from, their own lives and those of their neighbors.  We believe that this awareness is empowering.

How we use this collective wisdom will largely be guided by the community itself.  We hope that it will be used by individuals and organizations in decisions about how to allocate their resources.   Our ultimate goal is to help transform our economy from one that is driven by short-term material gains to one that supports the human quest for happiness and well-being. 

Want to learn more…?  Take the survey at HIPinthe253.com

The questions encourage reflection about nine domains of life, and at the end you’ll receive a summary of how you scored on the different domains.

With the preloaded “2532013” code we can get a community-wide summary once many people who live and work in the 253 take the survey.  The summarized results will be used for discussion and to influence decision making.

For us this is not about individual results, self-help or pop psychology.  It’s about identifying community strengths and needs, learning how to help grow an economy that works for more of us, meets human needs more equitably, and is environmentally sustainable 

Why this survey? The survey is grounded in research about what contributes to our happiness and well-being and ways to measure objective and subjective well-being.  It has been modified and tested.  More information on the survey methodology is at www.happycounts.org/survey-methodology/

Do we need a new economy?  The answer to that question lies in what you and other members of our community report in the survey.   Its purpose is to determine whether YOU think we need a new economic vision and to ascertain whether the economy is working for you and your neighbors.

Our own perspective is that, although the current economic system provides immense material wealth for some, it fails or falls short in many ways.  It over-relies on market valuation, such that many of those things that matter most in life –family, friends, economic security, civic engagement, environmental sustainability – languish.  All of these issues are explicitly addressed in the survey.  Around the world, various countries are incorporating these factors into their economic measures to broaden and deepen the traditional measure of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).   Moreover, with these alternative measures, we have a new yardstick for the success of our economy, one not solely based on the market, but inclusive of these important factors of well-being.

We’re not alone.  Leaders and communities around the world see the need to shift to a new economy:  Nobel Laureates Stiglitz and Sen, UN Secretary Ban, Great Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron, many communities around the United States and Canada, and others are committed to this. 


Chiara Wood and Kate Stirling convened as the founding HIP Chicks for The Happiness Initiative Project ~ Tacoma/Pierce County, Washington. 

We are pleased to include Marianne Seifert to our growing Circle of HAPPY friends. 

Get HIPinthe253!  Join Us.  Take the Survey and help us SHIFT The 253 Toward An Economy Of Well~Being.

Chiara Diane Wood, is a healing artist and founder of The Turning Point Integrated Therapies, Tacoma, WA.

Chiara’s reason for becoming a HIP Chick:

Key words:  burning desire for a transformational economy of well-being.  She sees utilizing the data from The Survey as an impetus to host conversations that matter to people in our community and mining the collective wisdom within it to solve our local problems.  She looks forward to discovering what matters most to our neighbors and why.  What issues mobilize folks to action?  She hopes that with information gathered from The HIP Project, we will find the best ways to support and turn to one another in these times of rapid change, breakdown and transformation.  From there she intends to encourage and enlist the support of influential policy makers who can initiate the changes we desire in a timely manner.

Dr. Kate Stirling, PhD is a professor of Economics at The University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA.

Kate’s reason for becoming a HIP Chick:

Key words:  Promoting and sustaining HAPPINESS!  To paraphrase Calvin (as in Calvin and Hobbes), happiness is everywhere — in books, surveys, academic research, and alternative measures to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).   Her interest in happiness stems from her concern that GDP is a poor measure of well-being, instead it only captures when the market economy is successful.  The Happiness Survey – like the one used in Bhutan to measure Gross National Happiness — can provide a much more comprehensive picture.   She is interested in collecting and providing information and using The Survey as a means to learn what members of our community are saying about what is working for them and what is not.  She sees this project as a way of sharing a sense of our hopes and needs.  She believes we will be able to expand the awareness of our community’s needs to inform local policy makers.

Marianne Seifert, is Community Liaison with the Tacoma/Pierce County Department of Health.

Marianne’s reason for becoming a HIP Chick:
Key words:  dialogue and empowerment.  Her work at The Health Department is focused on improving community engagement, transparency, environmental health measures, communications and more.  What are our routes from apathy to empowerment?  How can we impact the system?  She want to help provide a forum or place where people can question whether our society/structures/systems are working for us, and work together to improve them. She says she wants a Revolution….well ya know…we all want to change the world…Transformation as Revolution.


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