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April 2017 News Reports

Fig Tree staff grateful for gifts and volunteers

The Fig Tree’s 2017 Benefit Lunch and Benefit Breakfast on March 10 and 15 in Cataldo Hall at Gonzaga University drew nearly 400 supporters and people curious to learn more about The Fig Tree and Resource Directory.

Framing comments around the theme, “Beyond the News: Reflecting Community,” people who were interviewed during 2016-17 shared why they value these media.  Their comments are summarized on page 10.

Whitworth intern Austriauna Brooks prepared the promotional video, which will soon be online at, interviewing Roberta Wilburn of Whitworth, Phil Tyler of the NAACP Spokane, Jim McPherson of Whitworth, Liz Moore of the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, and Roger Hudson of Covenant United Methodist Church.

Fifty friends of The Fig Tree hosted tables of eight guests.  Underwriters included Gonzaga University, the Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province and Mark Kinney/Thrivent Financial.

About 250 donors—including 58 new sponsors—have given  $25,220 as of March 31, plus there are more than $2,000 in pledges toward the goal of $30,000.

“Many thanks to the planning committee, the hosts, the board, the volunteers, the donors, the underwriters and those providing door prizes for making the events a success,” said editor Mary Stamp.

Those interested in making donations can make them online at > donate or by mail.

For information, call 535-1813 or visit

Earth Day Spokane will display art on the elements

“Come Together:  It’s Elemental” is the theme for the two-day Earth Day 2017 in Spokane.  It will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, April 22, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 23, at Riverfront Park Pavilion, which will be removed as part of the new plans for Riverfront Park. 

EarthNight Spokane will feature performances from 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday. 

Artists will bring pieces and prepare installations on the elements—earth, wind, water and air. 

Entertainment will include musicians, children’s groups and comedians.  The Procession of the Species begins at 1:30 p.m.,  Saturday, after face painting by the Shriners beforehand.

Past organizers asked Tara Williamson and friends to coordinate Earth Day.

Tara, who was a preschool teacher at the Blueprints for Learning Child Care Center at the Community Building and has volunteered with the Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, was stage manager the past three years for Earth Day.

The mission of Earth Day is to raise environmental awareness, celebrate the planet and its natural resources and promote sustainable, healthy living for people, said Tara. 

There will also be electric cars, vendors and workshops on gardening, eating naturally, early learning, yoga, body philosophy and more.

Since 2007, the Lands Council has helped plan Earth Day. 

“We need to come together to talk, find solutions and join efforts. The goal is to empower ordinary people to do something,” said Tara.

Tara believes recent protests and marches are a sign people want to be involved.

For information, call 202-9368, email, check the Facebook event listing, or visit

In Cheney, Eastern Washington University (EWU) will celebrate Earth Week, before Earth Day, Saturday, April 22.  The festivities include “Sustainability Talks,” a film festival and EWU’s Earth Day Fair at the Campus Mall. 

For information, visit

The Coeur d’Alene Earth Day Fair, “Environment and Climate Literacy,” will be held from noon to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 22, at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library, 702 E. Front.  It will include educational vendors, music, arts and crafts, a one-mile fun run, a yoga mob, birds of prey demonstrations and more.

Organizers with the Kootenai Environmental Alliance say it’s a day to learn how to take steps to protect and preserve the environment 365 days a year. 

For information, call 208-667-9093, email or visit

In Pullman, the Palouse-Clearwater Environmental Institute and the City of Pullman host their annual stream clean-up beginning at 10 a.m., Saturday, April 22, rain or shine, at Spring Street Park. 

Participants will walk along streams in Pullman to clean and beautify them.  The first 100 people will receive Stream Clean-up tee shirts.  The day will end with music, food and beverages donated by local business partners. 

For information, call Amanda Argona at (208) 882-1444 or email

The Chelan Earth Day Fair from 9 a.m. To 4 p.m., Saturday, April 15, at Riverwalk Park will include gardening demonstrations, educational displays, hybrid and electric vehicles, solar power, recycling, green building, emergency preparedness, conservation and more. 

For information, visit

In Kittitas County, the Earth Day Family Festival and Salmon Run 5K and 10K will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 22, at Central Washington University, Dean Hall and Dean Lawn. 

Co-sponsored by the Museum of Culture and Environment, the Yakama Nation Fisheries and the Kittitas County Solid Waste, activities and booths will feature student groups and community organizations that focus on the environment and sustainability. 

For information, call Kittitas County Chamber of Commerce at 509-925-2002.

The Earth Day Fair at Moses Lake runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 22, at Jamison’s Event Center, 605 E. Nelson Rd. 

It will feature organic/natural goods and produce, green services and information on saving the planet, children’s activities and more. 

For information, call 509-361-3703 or email

In Lewiston, Lewis Clark Recycler’s 12th Annual Earth Day Celebration will be from 4 to 7 p.m., Thursday, April 20, at the corner of Capitol and 3rd St.  It is geared to educate the neighborhood about the earth’s natural resources and what people can do to help preserve them.  There will be food, fun, live music and educational activities for children and adults. 

For information, email

March for Science events coincide with D.C. march

Adjacent to the Earth Day festivities in Riverfront Park, there will be a March for Science in the Central Meadow.  The March for Science is selling merchandise to raise funds for education in STEM, science, technology, engineering and math.

There are also March for Science events on Earth Day in Pullman-Moscow and in Yakima, among 429 satellite marches globally.

The events coincide with a rally and teach-in on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., with speeches, music and marches defending the role science plays in the world by protecting air and water, preserving the planet, saving lives with medicine, creating new industries, putting food on tables and safeguarding the future.

For information, visit

Faith Action Network voices concerns in Olympia

As the Washington State legislative agenda progresses and hate crimes emerge, the Faith Action Network (FAN) voices concerns of the faith community.

“Our state budget is a moral document that reflects our values and priorities for state government.  FAN supports investments that fund education and strengthen our safety net programs for the poor and vulnerable,” said Paul Benz, co-director of FAN.

 Co-director Elise DeGooyer said FAN prepared statements of solidarity related to recent hate crimes. “FAN’s interfaith leaders are creating circles of protection around neighbors who have been targeted by hate crimes and executive orders. Faith communities across our state are saying: hate has no place here,” she said.

Rabbi Aaron Meyer, a member of FAN’s board and associate rabbi at Temple de Hirsch Sinai in Seattle, calls for people of faith to “maintain constant vigilance toward the array of fires before us.”

He is concerned about the new executive order banning refugees and immigrants from six Muslim countries; the shooting of a Sikh in Kent; nationwide threats to Jewish communities, including a bomb threat at the Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island, and the hanging of an African-American Muslim teen in Lake Stevens.

“The common thread uniting us is our vigilance, decrying these injustices, and offering care and solidarity for our neighbors,” he said.  “We need to come together to address the problems leading to such acts of violence on our streets and in our places of worship.”

FAN’s Interfaith Leaders Council has prepared statements and collected 635 signatures to challenge the rise of hate, xenophobia, racism and white nationalism.

Considering a threat to one group a threat to all, the leaders are committed to stand in solidarity in the face of threats to Sikhs, Jews, Muslims, immigrants, refugees, African-Americans and LGBTQ communities. 

Elise added people can keep up with status of bills on FAN’s bill tracker at

For information, call 206-625-9790 or visit

Food for All hosts its annual plant sale

Catholic Charities Food for All is hosting their annual “Buy One-Supply One” plant sale this spring so families, individuals and community gardens can start gardens earlier and have access to healthy, local and affordable food.

By donating one plant to community gardens for each plant purchased during the sale, Food For All enables plant sale customers and their purchases to go further in supporting local access to healthy food for individuals and communities throughout Spokane, said Connor Beck, community food resource specialist and Jesuit volunteer.

Customers can visit the online store at Food For All’s website,  They can pick up plants May 6 or May 14 at the Food For All Greenhouse at 820 N. Summit.

For information, call 952-288-5370 or email

Spokane Gives month recruits volunteers

April is Spokane Gives month, a time to support what Spokane County United Way says is “already impressive volunteerism and compassion in our community.” Spokane Gives month establishes a network of volunteer opportunities on

Since it was founded in 2014, more than 34,000 volunteers have given nearly 170,000 hours of their time, which has an estimated impact that is valued at more than $4 million.

Designating a month means there are more volunteers doing more projects with more impact.

A service is anything from donating clothing to a local shelter to mowing a neighbor’s lawn.

Those interested in volunteering can browse options, sign up for Spokane Gives Projects at and then share their action on Facebook.

For information, call 838-6581.

Workshop tell how to craft proposal stories

Washington Nonprofits and Spokane County United Way will present a workshop on “How to Craft a Creative and Successful Proposal Story” from 2 to 4 p.m., Monday, May 15, at Spokane County United Way, 920 N. Washington.

In today’s challenging grant-seeking environment, presenter Cheryl Clark, author, trainer and fund-raising consultant, will help nonprofit leaders become effective in telling their stories to potential grant makers.

She said it’s not necessary to be a novelist to adapt storytelling techniques to proposal writing. 

Cheryl held development positions at the University of San Francisco and its law school.  She is the author of Storytelling for Grantseekers: A Guide to Creative Nonprofit Fundraising and co-author with Susan Fox of Grant Proposal Makeover: Transform Your Request from No to Yes. 

For information, call 855-299-2922 or email

Whitworth students give back to Spokane

GIVEAPALOOZA! is a project of Beyond the Pines, Whitworth College’s student-run public relations agency, in partnership with the Spokane County United Way.

In 12 hours on Saturday, April 29, students seek to give back to the greater Spokane community with projects to help nonprofits do their work  They will help with brochures, logos, social media and other PR  projects.

For information, email Erica Salkin,

Ripples Thrift Store will fund anti-human trafficking effort

Prompted by spring cleaning and minimalism to reduce clutter, a local group invites people to join in” Purging for a Purpose” to raise funds for The Jonah Project, a Spokane anti-human trafficking organization.

They are starting Ripples, a thrift store, where purchases will help rescue, house, advocate for and rehabilitate survivors of teen sex trafficking in the Spokane area.

Ginger Lyons, owner of Buffalo Girls Salvage, a Spokane business, has donated rent to cover Ripples Thrift at Monroe and Euclid during 2017.

Ripples Thrift is set to open in April.

Drop off locations for donations are at True North Empire, 319 W. Hastings Rd., and Rainmaker Creative, 107 S. Cedar St.

For information, call 994-3341, email, visit or connect with social media hashtags #RipplesThrift, #StopTraffickingStartActing or #PurgeForaPurpose.

More than 100 GU students serve around nation

As part of Gonzaga University’s “Mission: Possible,” more than 100 students, plus staff and faculty, spent spring break in March at nine sites to serve nonprofits.

Mission: Possible, a program started in the 1990s by Gonzaga’s Center for Community Action and Service-Learning, focuses on student-learning and community impact.

The projects were refugee resettlement in Denver, accessible housing in Knoxville, Tenn., underrepresented communities in Montgomery, Makah Reservation support in Neah Bay, women and children impacted by incarceration in New York City, homelessness services in Portland, Ore., habitat restoration in San Francisco, and adults with developmental disabilities in Tacoma.  

Another 16 students had immersion opportunities with previously incarcerated people in East Los Angeles.

Through the professional services firm Deloitte, four Gonzaga students joined a national team of accounting majors to network with professionals to do community service in Atlanta. 

 For information, call 313-6396