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Grants to promote racial equity are coming to the Inland Northwest through the Innovia Foundation

UPDATED: Sat., Dec. 12, 2020

Protesters shout “Hand up, don’t shoot” at Spokane police officers during the Occupy Spokane nonviolent protest for Breonna Taylor Sept. 26 in Spokane.  (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
Protesters shout “Hand up, don’t shoot” at Spokane police officers during the Occupy Spokane nonviolent protest for Breonna Taylor Sept. 26 in Spokane. (DAN PELLE/THE SPOKESMAN-REVIEW)
From staff reports

A new grant fund to promote racial equity is coming to the Inland Northwest through the Innovia Foundation.

The foundation’s Racial Equity Grantmaking Fund for Eastern Washington and North Idaho will “support the vital work of organizations addressing racial injustice, structural inequity, and economic disparity,” the organization said in a press release.

The Ballmer Group gave the fund an initial $100,000, and the first distributions will center on reducing the impacts of COVID-19 in communities of color in Eastern Washington.

The news of the foundation’s grant fund comes as it also partnered with the Spokesman-Review to pay for a racial equity reporting position.

“The matching challenge for the Racial Equity reporter, and the Racial Equity Grantmaking Fund provide tangible ways for generous individuals, families and organizations to join us in the important work of advancing racial equity throughout our region,” Innovia Chief Executive Officer Shelly O’Quinn said in a statement. “The reporter position will give voice and raise awareness on the important issues around racial equity, while the grantmaking fund provides an opportunity to put that voice into action by funding solutions.”

The fund will have two parts: one for current grants to support organizations or projects aiming to end systemic racism and foster inclusive communities, and an endowed branch to generate sustainable funding for such initiatives going forward. Both will be funded evenly, the foundation said.

“Now, more than ever, philanthropy must invest in organizations serving those who have been historically marginalized and underserved, ensuring they have the resources to fulfill their highest potential,” Betsy Wilkerson, Spokane City Council Member and a member of Innovia Foundation’s Board of Directors, said in a statement. “This is important work, and I am proud of Innovia for making a commitment, not just to the urgent, immediate needs of communities of color, but the long-term work of eliminating systemic racism and disparities to ensure that every person in our region has the opportunity to thrive.”

You can donate to the Racial Equity Grantmaking Fund at www.innovia.org/racialequity, or by sending contributions to 421 W. Riverside Ave. Suite 606, Spokane, WA 99201.

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