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Editor reflects on 50 years of sharing resources, transforming lives


Malcolm Haworth is directory editor.

The Fig Tree family includes those whose photos have been on the cover of directories, those who have used the directory to help themselves or someone else, those who are on staff or volunteer with The Fig Tree and those who have their organization listed, story told or advertise. 

It's hard to believe this year's Resource Directory will be Volume 50, representing 50 years of its reliability and ongoing service to the faith and nonprofit communities of the Inland Northwest.

We look forward to "Sharing Resources, Transforming Lives" in the region for many years to come. 

Meanwhile, we realize that directory listings capture a moment in time. Services continually change. Updates are needed each year and sometimes multiple times a year. A number of agencies have closed in 2022.

Informing people of changes allows me to make a difference in lives of individuals and enables me to network caring people to strengthen services.

The Fig Free is rooted in what we describe as peace or solutions journalism that differs from corporate mass media. It's about listening with sensitivity to nuances of who people are, not isolating them as a category or issue. We see real people in their contexts. 

As I do research for each edition of the directory, I strive for it to be comprehensive and inclusive because I know it transforms lives. Our directory is uniquely suited as a self-help tool. Because we offer a wide scope of services, people use the directory for varied needs at varied stages of their lives. 

When people are referred to us, we listen to their stories to discern where to direct them based on their specific need and where they live, so we can direct them to an agency in their neighborhood.

Because we know the resources and community of care, we can make relevant connections. 

Over the years, we have partnered with other directories that focus on one category. We learned much as the Community Colleges of Spokane Headstart/ECEAP directory merged into ours. They and other single-focus directories appreciate that we connect people with a wide array of services to improve their lives—including faith communities, justice advocacy and ways to build community and give back. 

In addition, I consult with coalitions on transportation, food security, homelessness and youth mental health, for example, to learn needs and concerns of those communities and let them know the scope of resources available.

Being attuned to the faith communities, I inform secular agencies of intersections and invite collaboration.

With that in mind, The Fig Tree is exploring a Networking Initiative to build communication among people in congregations, so they know what other congregations are doing, and then build awareness among nonprofits of how services of congregations overlap with their work. By building connections, we seek to strengthen the network of services. We are also looking at new ways to partner with local and state governments to better serve.

The Fig Tree mission with the directory is to bear fruit by enhancing the community so everyone can live under their vine and fig tree in peace and unafraid. Our approach is healing for individuals and restores wholeness to the community.

We are grateful to the many who contribute to our work helping with research, ads, editing, deliveries and donations to bring the community this book of hope, care and life.

Malcolm Haworth - Directory Editor  

Copyright@ The Fig Tree, April 2023