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Innovia Foundation launches Sandy Williams Fund to benefit Carl Maxey Center

Sept. 20, 2022 Updated Tue., Sept. 20, 2022 at 9:54 p.m.

Wilhelmenia Smith-Williams, Sandy Williams’ mother, remembers her daughter during a celebration of life on Tuesday at the First Interstate Center for the Arts in Spokane.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Wilhelmenia Smith-Williams, Sandy Williams’ mother, remembers her daughter during a celebration of life on Tuesday at the First Interstate Center for the Arts in Spokane. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

The Innovia Foundation has launched the Sandy Williams Fund, an endowed fund to benefit the Carl Maxey Center.

Innovia along with Washington Trust Bank, Avista Foundation, Empire Health Foundation, STCU and the Cowles Company together gave $60,000 to seed the fund, according to a news release from Innovia. The Spokesman-Review is owned by the Cowles Company.

Williams, a well-known activist, journalist and community leader in Spokane, died earlier this month in a plane crash near Whidbey Island. All 10 people aboard the plane, including Williams’ partner, Patricia Hicks, are presumed dead after the Coast Guard said no one could have survived the crash.

Last week, hundreds of community members gathered to honor Williams’ “radical empathy” and lifelong dedication to her community at a celebration of life and legacy organized by the Carl Maxey Center, where Williams was the executive director.

“Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of Sandy Williams, a courageous journalist, activist and beloved member of our community,” said Shelly O’Quinn, CEO of Innovia. “Her voice was a powerful force for change, and she will be deeply missed and long remembered.”

Williams was heavily involved in Innovia’s LaunchNW program, an initiative to award scholarships to help most students in the Inland Northwest pay for college or vocational training.

“We are devastated at the loss of Sandy Williams who so tirelessly served our community with wisdom and clarity of vision,” said Ben Small, executive director of LaunchNW. “Her dedicated life of service leaves us with a profound sense of both loss and gratitude.”

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