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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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COVID-19 fund provides much-needed help; Innovia, partners give relief during world health crisis

Rev. Walter Kendricks of the Morning Star Baptist Church is a recipient of the The Innovia Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund that will support local organizations during the pandemic. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Rev. Walter Kendricks of the Morning Star Baptist Church is a recipient of the The Innovia Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund that will support local organizations during the pandemic. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

For the Spokane Ministerial Alliance, meeting the needs of its congregation became much greater as the coronavirus pandemic forced closure of businesses and took an economic toll on the community.

Now, however, with a $15,000 grant from the Innovia Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund, the alliance of 16 churches is able to provide emergency food, clothing and housing assistance to its members.

“I can’t express how grateful we are, because, now, we can help even more people,” said the Rev. Walter Kendricks of the Morning Star Baptist Church and president of the Spokane Ministerial Alliance.

The Spokane Ministerial Alliance was one of 80 organizations in Eastern Washington that received a grant from the Innovia Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund.

The fund has provided more than $514,500 in grants to Eastern Washington organizations impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Next week, an additional $110,000 will be awarded to Eastern Washington tribal communities, and the North Idaho COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund is anticipated to disperse more than $200,000 in funds.

“We have dollars going out to counties in Eastern Washington and North Idaho supporting everything from local food banks, domestic violence services to churches and economic development councils, which are supporting the rural business community,” said Shelly O’Quinn, CEO of the Innovia Foundation.

The Hispanic Business/Professional Association received a $15,000 grant, which will likely go toward establishing a food bank and supporting Latinx organizations and churches in need during the coronavirus pandemic, association President Isabel Mazcot said.

The grants, which will be released on a rolling basis, are administered in partnership with a regional community advisory group consisting of residents and leaders from health, economic and human services sectors.

The Innovia Foundation partnered with the Empire Health Foundation and the Spokane County United Way to create a COVID-19 response fund in Eastern Washington. The organization also partnered with the Idaho Community Foundation, Equinox Foundation and Avista Foundation to create the North Idaho fund.

The COVID-19 Response and Recovery Funds garnered more than $1.6 million in donations from businesses, philanthropic organizations and individual donors, including two donations of $250,000 each from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust.

“Addressing challenges like those presented by the COVID-19 pandemic require a deep understanding of the unique needs of an individual community, an ability to nimbly activate resources and a willingness to collaborate with diverse partners to serve the common good,” Steve Moore, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust executive director, said in a statement. “We are incredibly grateful to organizations like Innovia Foundation that are working tirelessly to help serve the urgent needs of individuals, families and communities across the Inland Northwest.”

Innovia’s additional funding partners include The Avista Foundation, BECU, Better Health Together, Burlington Northern, Community Building Foundation, Delta Dental of Washington, Health Sciences & Services Authority of Spokane County, Itron, Lewis-Clark Valley Healthcare Foundation, MultiCare Health System, Perigee Fund, Premera Blue Cross, Providence Health Care, Umpqua Bank, Wells Fargo and Women Helping Women Fund.

“While our healthcare systems, public health professionals, and local government agencies are doing everything in their power to support our community, we know that gaps remain. Thanks to the generosity of our funding partners, we can step in to address some of those gaps through grants to organizations serving our most vulnerable populations,” O’Quinn said in a statement. “We are pleased to support the incredible work our community partners are doing to ensure the well-being of our region.”

Innovia Foundation invests more than $7 million annually in scholarships and grants for organizations within a 20-county area in Eastern Washington and North Idaho.

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