The Fig Tree was founded in 1984 as a monthly publication covering and connecting the faith and nonprofit communities in the Inland NW (Eastern WA and Northern Idaho). The first issue was published May 1984. It began under the auspices of the former Spokane Christian Coalition / later Spokane Council of Ecumenical Ministries.
In 2000, The Fig Tree became an independent nonprofit, covering stories of people living their faith and values, connecting diverse people and encouraging respect and listening, and inspiring people to action both locally and globally.
The Fig Tree is supported by donations of sponsors, individuals, congregations, regional faith communities, and ecumenical and interfaith organizations, some grants, area universities and nonprofits, and by advertisers and underwriters. It is also supported by volunteers, who help with all phases of planning, writing, editing, and distribution, and promotion.
The first issue in 1984 was eight pages with 37 inches in ads. The current issues contain 12 to 16 pages with 280-420 inches in ads.
A monthly newspaper published by first Wednesdays of September through June. It reaches 24,000 readers through 9,000 copies distributed by mail and in bulk to congregations, community organizations and grocery stores in the Inland Northwest.
The Fig Tree website at www.thefigtree.org includes monthly updates and archives of issues from 2004 to the present. In addition to the feature stories, it contains information about the Fig Tree's approach to covering religious and community news, special projects, videos of events, and links to information in the annual Resource Directory: Guide to Congregations and Community Resources. The Fig Tree also shares links to stories on Facebook and Twitter, and includes local/regional religion news, a calendar of events and comments from readers and faith leaders.
This annual directory is published with the support of community partners Banner Bank, Providence Health Care Services, Innovia, Empire Health, Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Catholic Charities of Eastern Washington, Second Harvest, Aging and Long Term Care of Eastern Washington, D.C. Cronin Law Offices, The Community Building, Greater Spokane County Meals on Wheels, St. Luke Lutheran, Washington Nonprofits, Washington Trust Bank, anonymous individuals, and 117 advertisers.
It includes information on includes congregations, ecumenical and interfaith ministries, multi-service agencies, human services, children/youth/family services, medical/health care resources, senior/retirement resources, justice action/multicultural resources, environmental programs, arts and culture programs, civic services, and emergency contacts. Each year, more than 16,000 copies are printed and distributed throughout the community, used not only by organizations listed and service providers, but also by people in crises, emerging from crises, seeking opportunities and wanting to volunteer.
Annual Educational and Dialogue Events foster dialogue, discussion and reflection on issues involving media, journalism, faith and justice in the region. The Fig Tree works with the Faith Action Network, Catholic Charities, and other programs for racial and social justice to plan and present the annual Eastern Washington Legislative Conference. The next one is January 22, 2022. Videos of the event available here.
The Annual Benefit Lunch, Evening and Breakfast will be March 4 and 9, 2022. Volunteers are sought to help with planning and to serve as hosts inviting guests to attend in-person or virtually.
The Fig Tree is also holding an annual Fall Festival of Giving during October and November, ending with Giving Tuesday.