Special note: The Fund has exhausted our 2017 budget of $450k with grants and pledges to incredible projects and programs. Go to OUR GRANTS page for details. We will begin our 2018 grant cycle in February.

Be a job creator! Help Mohammad stay employed & grow Global Neighborhood

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund matching campaign!

Earlier in the year the Fund supported Global Neighborhood to purchase another truck (to augment the one that used more oil than gas lol) and increase their number of trainee employees.

Previously an electrician, Mohammad is from Syria but spent three years in Jordan before coming to Spokane with his family in December of last year. Mohammad is one of the hardest workers we’ve ever had and has an endless positive attitude and always a warm smile to offer. When asked what his biggest challenge in the U.S. so far was, he said the language. “it’s like being blind and deaf and dumb.”

Now we’re excited to support them again with a MATCHING CAMPAIGN!

Global Neighborhood is unique in that they’re a non-profit who’s mission is to hire refugees to work in their community businesses (a thrift store, recycling service and more). Our newly settled neighbors receive a paycheck to help feed and house their families which allows them to focus on the job skills training they’re receiving. At the end of their training, they are ready for other jobs and their trainees get them at the rate of 90%. These are people deemed unemployable by others, especially because of language barriers. Not so as evidenced by Global Neighborhood!

Enter Mohammad, a Syrian refugee, husband, father of 8 (4 who came to Spokane with him) and one of the best trainees they’ve had in six years. The best placement for Mohammad when he finishes his training the end of this month is at Global Neighborhood where he will help expand their recycling operation.

Enter you! Global Neighborhood’s business plan shows they can self-sustain his position beginning September but they need help filling the $14,000 salary gap in the interim. We’ve pledged to match all donations up to $7,000.


We’re already on our way with $2,175 donated. Please help get the rest of the way there so Mohammad and his family can breathe a little easier this holiday season and Global Neighborhood can start executing their plan.


It’s time for Spokane Public Schools to get real about sexual health education

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund community action!

Spokane middle school youth deserve medically accurate, age-appropriate, comprehensive and inclusive sexual health curriculum that meets state standards. It’s been two years of inaction while there’s a professional, proven solution available. Stop letting a few uninformed, regressive and ideologically opposed individuals who will forever disagree with advancements in state standards for sex education hold our youth hostage from great tools for responsible decision-making and improved communication skills for healthy relationships, inclusivity and consent. Follow our FB page for ongoing updates:

Spokane Public Schools Sexual Health Curriculum 20171112

Correspondence since initial contact:

On Nov 12, 2017, at 6:45 PM, Sue Chapin:

Dear Sharon,
Thank you for contacting the School Board with your concern. All members of the Board and the Superintendent have received your message and are included in this reply.
The most important thing for me to tell you is that you appear to have misinterpreted the information that came out of last Wednesday’s Board work session.
Spokane Public Schools has in no way rejected medically accurate, science based, age appropriate sexual health education for our students.
The announcement that was made by Dr. Adam Swinyard, our Chief Academic Officer, only referenced using multiple sources to address the state learning targets instead of relying on any one single source.
Spokane Public Schools will develop a curriculum that covers all the content outlined by the State of Washington from a variety of sources, Get Real and HealthSmart (among others) are still on the table. Our final product will be inclusive and respectful of all the students we serve and provide them with the factual content your group advocates for. Developing curriculum from multiple sources is not new to our district.
I understand you are passionate about this topic, and appreciate your enthusiasm, so please be patient as this process continues. The Board and the District want the same things you advocate for. The health of our community’s children is important to us all.

Susan Chapin
School Board Vice President
On behalf of the School Board

On Nov 13, 2017, at 3:56 PM, Sharon Smith

Thanks very much for your quick reply, Sue, as always!

As funders of the coalition working with the Spokane school district and board to reduce the high rate of suspensions and expulsions of Spokane school students (compared to statewide), we have been encouraged by and remain grateful for the sincere desire everyone has shown to make necessary improvements. We know how hard you all work and yes, it’s been evident that the health of our community’s children is important to us all.

We are seeing something different and less transparent in this situation, however, so possibly the following information will help us begin to better understand the district’s position. We understand from what has been relayed to us from the last board meeting that there were Human Growth & Development – Community Advisory Committee changes causing a need to change the process. That said, focusing on more recent committee actions since March, 2017, and what has been accomplished since then, we have the following questions.

In the March, 2017, HGD-CAC minutes it was determined by the Committee that one program was the better solution as it is “better to fill some gaps than piece together a curriculum, which could be costlier and harder to train on and establish consistency with.” When was this direction deemed incorrect and that is was better using multiple sources to address the state learning targets instead of relying on a proven single source, why and by whom? When was this discussed with the Committee that that should/would be the direction?

Also in March, 2017, the HGD-CAC minutes reflected the process would be coming to consensus on one curriculum to bring to the Executive Board for review and determination. When was it decided the process would change to be determined and approved by staff/administration, with whom was this discussed on the HGD-CAC and when?

The HGD-CAC recommended Get Real 11-0 in May, 2017, and again 9-3 in September, 2017, (as we understand it – minutes are not posted for September). Why were their consistent recommendations ultimately denied, when and how was the committee told and by whom?

The Get Real program has a professional web site with very detailed yet easy to understand information including information on every module. Therefore, it seems like this should now be the basic expectation for any program implemented by Spokane schools. Should you determine it best to invent something custom for Spokane schools from multiple resources, when do you anticipate having the teachers give input about the selections, having this web site up and running so the public and parents can access it, the teachers trained, and the classes implemented? What will be the cost difference between selecting the modules from Get Real and developing a custom curriculum from multiple sources with the same tools and resources available to the public?

We’re sure that it has to be frustrating for everyone involved that there is still no solution that meets state standards and the needs of our middle school youth after two years. This, actually, is why we can’t imagine why the district isn’t moving ahead with the highly recommended and proven Get Real program available now, pulling the handful of modules necessary from their vast offerings and getting started.

In closing, thank you for understanding our passion surrounding sexual health and education in our community. The Fund exists in the arena of the “working poor”. Its nearly 60 grants of about $450,000 in 2017 went predominantly to the basics of food, shelter, health care and education and it was barely a drop in the growing bucket of need. The sooner we implement education that will help strengthen our youth’s responsible decision-making and improve communication skills for healthy relationships, inclusivity and consent, the sooner we will know they’re on their way to leading safe and healthy lives necessary for sustainable well-being.

Thank you for your commitment to our youth’s education and our community!

On Nov 13, 2017, at 8:00 PM, Sue Chapin

You have excellent questions and I completely understand why.
The best person to get these answers from is our Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Adam Swinyard.
Adam has worked closely with this committee and can best describe some of the process problems (from both the staff side and from within the committee) that ultimately led to where we are today.
Adam and or his staff have been actively involved in the meetings. I have not been able to attend any of the HGD committee meetings due to my work schedule.
I have CC’d Adam in this response to facilitate your contact.
Susan Chapin

Date: November 14, 2017 at 11:45:41 AM MST Adam Swinyard

Hi Sharon,

We would be happy to meet with you and discuss your inquires. Is there a specific day or time that works best for your schedule? In preparation for our conversation, I have also included an outline of the adoption process for your reference.

Take Care,


On Nov 14, 2017, at 12:09 PM, Sharon Smith

Thank you, Adam, for your reply. We are traveling for an extended period. We would prefer the responses in writing please but if you require a discussion at this juncture, we can do it over the phone or Skype.

Again, thanks!

Sharon Smith

Elevations gives kids a chance at an active life

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund funded organization!

Much of the Fund’s budget this year was spent on the most basic needs of food, shelter and health care. Sometimes it can get us down when we see so much need but then we hear from non-profits we fund like Elevations with testimonials like this and we’re inspired again. Many thanks to Elevations for helping children with special needs reach their full potential by providing access to the resources and support they need to improve their families’ overall quality of life.

“Hearing the news that one of our sons would have a permanent life long disability was a crushing and heartbreaking event. We didn’t appreciate the gravity of the situation until his twin brother began to run around and play and talk to us, while Parker was relegated to our arms or the floor. Bathing was difficult, and being a part of social gatherings was nigh-on impossible.

We received a very generous and life-altering gift from Elevations in the form of a Firefly Friends Go-to-seat and Splashy. The Go-To-Seat has enabled us to share experiences and Parker with family members like never before. He was unable to sit unassisted previously, and now he can participate and be a part of everything like his brother. The Splashy was also a remarkable change. Bath time went from a tedious chore to a time to form precious memories. Parker has the ability to play in the tub with his brother without worrying about him slipping under the water. The sight of them splashing together and laughing is a gift greater than words can express.

Our family was forever changed in a positive way from this experience and would highly recommend seeking assistance from Elevations.”

Seeing Spokane through the eyes of vulnerable teens and former refugees

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund funded project!

 In the hands of homeless teens and refugees, cameras offer a different view of Spokane in Terrain’s ‘Snapshot’ exhibit

By Audrey OverstreetFor The Spokesman-Review
Fri., Sept. 8, 2017, 3:46 p.m.

If you go:
‘Snapshot: A Look at Spokane Right Now’
What: Works by professional and amateur photographers reflecting their views of Spokane.
When: Continuing through Sept. 30; opening reception for Crosswalk youth is 5-8 p.m. today, and Global Neighborhood is 5-8 p.m. Sept. 15. Regular gallery hours: 5-7 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays
Where: Terrain Gallery, 304 W. Pacific Ave., in the Washington Cracker Co. building

Anti-refugee posters popped up around Monroe Street and Riverside Avenue earlier this year, and the Spokane City Council recently approved piling sharp rocks under bridges to deter people seeking a place to lie down. When organizers of Terrain’s latest exhibit “Snapshot: A Look at Spokane Right Now,” conceived of the project, they didn’t know it would be so timely, as the city grapples with ways to serve two communities: the homeless and refugees.

This photograph, taken by a homeless teenager in the Crosswalk program in Spokane, is joining the “Snapshot” show at Terrain. (Courtesy photo)

The question becomes: Does art have the power to soften hostility? Can pictures provide a window for understanding?

The nonprofit arts organization Terrain put cameras into the hands of a dozen members of two often overlooked communities: local homeless teens and former refugees living in Spokane. The results will be displayed alongside that of local professional photographers taking part in the “Snapshot” exhibition. ” The display that continues through September.

The foundation of the show, which opened in July, was built on the works of six local photographers of diverse races, ethnic backgrounds, ages and sexual orientations, who were invited to share images of the Spokane they see every day.

These established artists – Rajah Bose, Robert J. Lloyd, Laree Weaver, Kristen Black, Grace Lindsey, and Young Kwak – have been joined by dozens of amateur photographers whose works were plucked from Instagram with the hashtag #snapshotspokane. The result has been a celebration on Terrain’s walls of Spokane’s emergence as a hotbed of creativity and diverse experiences.

Terrain took the show further this past week after reaching out to two local nonprofits: Crosswalk, an emergency shelter and school drop-out prevention program, and Global Neighborhood, focused on using business to provide former refugees with development opportunities.

Terrain Gallery curator Ginger Ewing said that the reasoning behind having local refugees and homeless teens participate in “Snapshot” was to include more voices in exploring what Spokane means. “My hope is that these under-represented members of our community feel empowered and proud of the work that they’ve contributed,” Ewing said. “The idea behind this exhibit as a whole is making sure that everybody has a voice.”

Artist, photographer, and Spokane Falls Community College art professor Carl Richardson, who serves on Terrain’s advisory committee, volunteered to teach a crash course to a dozen budding photographers. He also developed the resulting photos and helped curate the show.

While having lunch this summer with six teens at Crosswalk, Richardson handed the youths new Vivitar cameras (provided through funding from the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Foundation), and talked about what makes a good picture.

“Then after walking with them on the streets for an hour I just turned them loose,” Richardson said. “I told them ‘You’ve got 600 pictures you are able to take on this thing, so don’t be afraid. There is no wrong picture, so just do your thing.’ ”

One of the resulting photos currently on display is a black and white image of a street sign that all the Crosswalk teens see every single day on their way out of the organization’s building downtown. Most prominent is a single arrow stamped “ONE WAY.”

John Robertson, the assistant director of homeless youth programs at Volunteers of America/Crosswalk, said that the directional sign photo struck him as a symbol of a the new path that homeless teens can take if they are willing to walk it. “Crosswalk provides an environment where you can get out of survival mode and start to set goals and a better direction for yourself,” Robertson said.

Another Crosswalk teen photographed a circle of her friends’ feet. “They were just fooling around together and having fun,” Richardson said. “I wanted to make sure this project didn’t exploit anybody … These are typical teenagers just like anybody, and I want people to see that.”

“If just one of these kids goes on to enjoy art in their lives, then it’s a win,” Richardson said.

Richardson had to use the services of an interpreter to lead the tutorial he gave to a group of five refugees from Global Neighborhood. He worked with Mohammed and Athraa, a married couple recently arrived from Iraq; Mahsumeh, a mother from Afghanistan who is now Global Neighborhood’s assistant manager at the thrift store; Farah, who is from Sudan and is now lead driver for Global Neighborhood; and Mohammed, formerly an electrician from Syria.

“They seemed really excited to participate once I was able to communicate where and why the photos would be shown,” Richardson said.

The teenagers’ works debut tonight with a reception from 5-8 p.m. The Global Neighborhood cameras are due back on Tuesday. The former refugees’ additions to the show will launch with an opening reception at Terrain on Sept. 15 at the Cracker Co. building from 5-8 p.m.

Jen Landis, Global Neighborhood’s communications director, was gratified that Terrain chose to include the perspectives of former refugees “simply because they are Spokane residents,” she said. “For Spokane residents who are not former refugees, Global Neighborhood’s ‘Snapshot’ Spokane reception is one of those opportunities to listen, learn and see our city through new lenses.”

Y.E.S. expands to 3 more counties thanks to grant

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund funded project!

Youth Emergency Services (Y.E.S.) is a nonprofit organization located in rural Pend Oreille County, Washington. Their mission is to support children in making choices that will help them find and keep safe living conditions.

The Fund’s grant allows Y.E.S. to expand into neighboring Stevens, Ferry and Lincoln Counties. Program services are broad including:

Basic Needs: clothing, food, personal hygiene items, school supplies, educational support and court advocacy assistance

Health Services: access to medical, dental, mental health and vision care, over the counter medications/medical supplies and prescription glasses, assistance applying for coverage, contacting providers and arranging transportation,

Housing and Support: Y.E.S. offers safe, emergency, short and long term housing assistance, access to therapeutic counseling services, support groups and case management services.

MentoringU coming soon!

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund funded project!

The Fund just made a super cool grant to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Inland Northwest to establish an innovative program called MentoringU. This program will connect underserved high school youth with career mentors both electronically and in-person; equipped with this trusting mentor and the power of technology, youth will gain real-life insight into the workplace, their future, and careers in a way that cannot be achieved through traditional school counseling alone. And not only will MenoringU serve Spokane but neighboring counties as well. Yay!

Grant helps grow refugee job training and employment

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund funded project!

UPDATE 7/19/17: This happened at Global Neighborhood with a grant from the Fund:
a truck to double the goods they retrieve and/or deliver for their thrift store, recycling business and other revenue generating entities. The grant also allows them to double the number of refugees they employ!! This is Farah who will soon go from part to full time as a driver. Global Neighborhood is such a cool entrepreneurial philanthropy model and we’re so grateful for their work in the Inland NW!

People coming to Spokane as refugees are some of our city’s most vulnerable citizens. Global Neighborhood believes that reducing poverty amongst former refugees comes through empowerment. That’s why they have spent years building a business that can provide refugees with training, education, dignity, and support – as well as a paycheck.  63 refugees have worked for Global Neighborhood and 89% of those completing their program have gone on to find work in the community.

The Fund’s $26,000 commitment to Global Neighborhood will allow them to hire additional refugees and grow their recycling and thrift store capacity. In the world of recycling, redistributing, and thrift stores, acquiring and processing donations is the fuel that keeps the engine running. This funding allows them to double their donation pickup capacity by purchasing a second box truck, while also vastly expanding their capacity to process those donations through various sales channels by building out their new warehouse space. With their current rate of placement success, this expansion would mean that 11 refugees per year would transition from “unemployable” status to working, earning an income, and supporting their families.

To learn more about Global Neighborhood, visit

Special event benefiting Friends of the Black Lens!

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund partner project!

Membership Drive

Friends of The Black Lens is sponsoring a membership drive from June 1 – 15.
Friends of the Black Lens
Introductory Membership: $25** 

(**through June 15)

Become an introductory member of Friends of the Black Lens and join us for our first member-only event, a private screening of the Tupac Shakur movie, “All Eyez on Me,” June 15 at 7pm. Seating is limited.

CLICK HERE TO BECOME A FRIEND OF THE BLACK LENS (and reserve your seat to the private screening!)

Friends of The Black Lens is a non-profit, membership organization whose mission is to improve the well being of the African American community through print and media communication. Learn more HERE.


Improving foster care and ending youth homelessness

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund 1st quarter update!

The Mockingbird Society’s May Spokane Chapter Meeting

One of the Fund’s grantees, The Mockingbird Society, works to improve foster care and end youth homelessness. Their vision is for all young people to reach adulthood healthy, supported, and with full opportunity to thrive in life.

Here the Spokane chapter youth are at it again this year brainstorming to choose advocacy topics to focus on for the remainder of the year. The chapters submit their topics as part of the process of choosing their statewide advocacy priorities for the 2018 legislative session. To learn more about The Mockingbird Society, visit


Off and running in 2017

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund 1st quarter update!

Some highlights of what we’ve committed so far this year:

Peace & Justice Action Conference: Sponsorship of 8th annual conference to build skills, analysis, and relationships of everyday volunteer activists.

Spokane Alliance: Capped off our two year commitment to the Spokane Alliance for their leadership in a coalition working to establish a jail diversion facility in the Spokane area.

Hillyard Senior Center: Supporting another great event to help the center continue it’s active and important work for seniors in the Hillyard area.

Team Child: Supporting youth programs such as juvenile record sealing and ensuring that the juvenile justice system does not become the default mental health provider for children struggling with mental health issues.

International Women’s Day Spokane: Event sponsorship to foster community among women and to share knowledge and resources focused on the advancement and empowerment of women.

Weekend Food for Kids: Providing food for weekends during summer to children living in food-insecure circumstances in Moscow, Idaho.

Spokane Sidewalk Games: Our second year supporting this public program advancing the concept that a community that plays together stays together.

KYRS Thin Air Community Radio: Sponsoring a new program “Science of Poverty” and local news programing.

Leadership Spokane: Our 3rd year partnering with Transitions providing two scholarships, one for a person in a life transition and another for a non-profit service professional.

Refugee Connections: Sponsoring community-wide World Refugee Day in Spokane on June 17 celebrating with international food, song, dance and art.

Elevations: Assisting families of special needs children who could be helped by therapy but have limited or no resources to meet the cost of care.

The Mockingbird Society: Supporting improving the lives of the children and youth who rely on the Washington state foster care system including multiple youth and young adult programs.

Spokane Edible Tree Project: Our second year supporting this start-up produce-recovery and gleaning program that helps local hunger-relief agencies become more self-reliant in sourcing local surplus produce for their clients.

Center for Justice: Growing the ongoing Women’s Relicensing workshops for women whose driver’s licenses have been suspended or revoked to regain their licenses and receive other support necessary to achieve sustainable well-being.

Other multi year pledges ongoing:
New Planned Parenthood Spokane Health Center
ACLU School to Prison Pipeline project
WSU Health Actions project
WSU Community Partnership project
Transitions Supported Housing project
Green Schoolyards
Mobile Market
MLK Family Outreach Center


Grant aims to change the way schools discipline kids

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund funded project!

By Sherry Jones

The Spokane School District has a discipline problem—but it’s the opposite of what people might think.

Although school disciplinary rates in Spokane are more than twice the average for Washington—8.4 percent of the district’s students were suspended or expelled last year as opposed to an average of 3.3 percent statewide—increasingly, child-advocacy groups and parents are saying the discipline itself is part of the problem.

“Suspensions and expulsions don’t work,” says Nikki Lockwood, parent of an autistic child and a member of the Every Student Counts Alliance, a consortium of parents, educators, and advocacy groups re-thinking the way Spokane schools deal with student misbehaviors.

Working with the Spokane School District since the start of the year, the alliance has pushed reforms of ages-old policies and practices that send problem students home— or, in some cases, into the criminal justice system.

“What we’re doing right now isn’t working,” Vanessa Hernandez of the ACLU of Washington says. “Our goal should be to keep kids in school and prepare them for success.”

Schools, after all, are in the business of education, not criminal justice. But when students disrupt class—a misdemeanor under state law, Hernandez says—teachers’ first inclination can be to remove the problem, which means sending the child to the principal’s office. Too many times down the hall can result in a students’ suspension.

One suspension, more often than not, leads to another, she says.

“Students who are suspended are more than two times as likely to get suspended again. Taking them out of school isn’t teaching them a lesson.”

Breaking the cycle

These efforts have just gotten a boost from the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund’s recent $25,000 award to the ACLU for its Youth Policy Project, which coordinates the Every Student Counts Alliance.

The award dovetails nicely with the fund’s focus on alleviating poverty in Spokane, Fund administrator Sharon Smith says.

“We’ve become increasingly aware of how for a growing number of students — particularly the most disenfranchised – the path to incarceration begins in school. Our eyes were really opened, though, when we learned how great the issue is in Spokane, with more than double the suspensions and expulsions than anywhere else in the state in 2015,” she says.

“The Fund’s primary mission is eradicating systemic injustices that lead to poverty and incarceration, and there’s no better place to start than with our children.”

In Spokane as elsewhere in the U.S., students of color, those with disabilities, and those deemed at-risk—most often from low-income households—suffer the most from punitive practices at school.
Studies indicate that, in Spokane, black students are twice as likely to be disciplined and those with disabilities get suspended or expelled three times as often. In other words, they’re being singled out.

Virla Spencer didn’t need a study to tell her that. A black mother of seven children, she has fought what she says are unfair disciplinary measures against four of them.

Most recently, she says, her 15-year-old son was handcuffed and nearly charged with criminal trespassing while waiting outside a middle school for his sister to get out of school—while, according to a video, his white schoolmates standing in the same area were neither detained nor told to leave, she says.

The wrong lessons

“We trust as parents that when we send our kids to these institutions that they’re actually going to learn,” Spencer says. “But there’s been more damage than good. Now what is my son going to think of law enforcement? He felt like an animal. He felt nasty.”

And events and incidents affect a teen differently than they would an adult, she points out. “They define who you are.”

Adolescent brains do change at an astonishing rate, Hernandez agrees. Between ages 10 and 25, the human brain develops as much as during the first three years of life— making the school years a make-or-break time for future success, she says.

“There’s a tremendous capacity for change and growth, and we should be working to harness that instead of ‘throw the bad kids out.’ We know what that does: dropping out, failing grades, youth and adult criminal justice involvement. It’s not accomplishing what we want, and we can do better.”

Instead of the punitive approach to discipline, the Every Student Counts Alliance supports:

Behavioral supports and intervention, teaching students how they are expected to behave, rewarding students when they achieve those goals, and providing more targeted support for students who need help;
Restorative practices, focusing not on punishment but on what has happened, its effects on the school or community, the needs and responsibilities of all involved, and how to make amends and repair harm; and,
A trauma-informed approach, understanding that children suffering trauma at home or in other areas of life may react and respond differently than adults might expect and adapting expectations or behaviors to avoid triggering them—while also teaching the student better ways to deal with their “triggers.”

“Instead of pushing them away,” Hernandez says, “we’re pulling them in.”

It takes a community

Although such sweeping changes will likely take years to fully take effect, the alliance is already making a difference. Spokane Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Shelley Redinger has signed a resolution recognizing the negative effects of the district’s existing policies, and convened a working group of school administrators, community members, teachers, and parents to oversee a two-year reform initiative.
Staff training in Positive Behavioral Intervention Support (PBIS) also has begun, with 80 percent of the district’s schools implementing the program and the remainder set to do so this year, says Adam Swinyard, Secondary Schools Director for the Spokane School District.

Also, the Spokane School Board recently approved a new discipline policy that emphasizes restorative practices.

Hand-in-hand with these approaches is a commitment to funding a “cultural inventory,” Redinger says, aimed at helping teachers and staff identify their cultural biases.

“As our schools have become more diverse, we can’t reach students we’re not relating to,” she says.

That includes autistic children, whose numbers continue to grow, says Dawn Sidell, founder and executive director of the Northwest Autism Center, an alliance member. For dealing with these students as well as those with other disabilities, staff and teacher training is key to success, she says.

“As you see the population of students with special needs increase—and, in particular, students with ASD—you see how stretched districts become, and how unprepared many of the staff are for taking in these students,” Sidell says.

The solutions promoted by the Every Student Counts Alliance and the ACLU have been shown to work: in Denver, instituting restorative practices reduced school discipline by 46 percent, says Rosey Thurman of Team Child, a youth legal-advocacy program and alliance member.

“We’re getting such great community involvement that wasn’t there before,” Thurman says. “And we’re all thrilled by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund’s role.” The grant will be crucial for increasing parent training and involvement as well as youth involvement, she says.

“We’re grateful the school district and a terrific local coalition are working together to create and implement a better model of education equity,” the Fund’s Sharon Smith says, “so all students stay in school and get the education they deserve.”

North Central High School leads the way, with results

A teen walks up to the North Central High School dean of students, Mary

Wendy Bromley, assistant principal at North Central High School in Spokane, and Maryo Gustafson, dean of students

Wendy Bromley, assistant principal at North Central High School in Spokane, and Maryo Gustafson, dean of students

O. Gustafson, during lunchtime.

“I don’t need anger management any more,” he says.

“Why?” Gustafson says.

“My anger is way down.”

Standing nearby, assistant principal Wendy Bromley grins. “This is the kind of conversations we have.”

Formerly special education teachers, Bromley and Gustafson two years ago spearheaded the use of Positive Behavioral Intervention Support (PBIS) at the school, making NC the first in the Spokane School District to shift its disciplinary focus away from punitive suspensions, expulsions, and arrests to, instead, teaching valuable life skills such as anger management and conflict resolution and requiring students to atone for harm they have caused.

“We’re looking at how to improve not just discipline, but behavior,” says principal Steve Fisk, who credits the women with crafting the school’s two-year-old PRIDE model, an adaptation of PBIS.

Described in posters throughout the school and explained to pupils in the classroom, PRIDE—Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Dependability, and Excellence—sums up the school’s expectations, backed by a commitment to help students meet these goals.

“We’re all here for every kid who walks through our doors,” Gustafson says.

To illustrate how the new approach works, Bromley offers an anecdote: a P.E. teacher reminded a student of school rules, and the student cursed at her. Speaking privately after class, the teacher told the girl that she didn’t like being spoken to that way and explaining the rule the girl had broken. The student apologized, and left the office on good terms. Chances are, Bromley said, the teacher won’t have trouble with that student again.

Or there was the time Bromley became incensed by a student’s fabrication. She accused the girl several times, wanting to hear her admit that she’d lied. At home that night, she realized that she’d been out of line.

The next day, she approached the student and apologized. “She was dumbfounded,” Bromley says. “No adult had ever apologized to her.”

The key, Fisk says, lies in understanding that conflicts and student misbehaviors are so often about relationships. Students lash out at teachers; they fight with their friends; they come to school upset by trauma at home, and take it out on those around them.

“This should be a place where we teach them,” Fisk says. “Because when they leave here, all bets are off.”

Not all conflicts are easily resolved; nor are all infractions minor. When students today need a “time out,” though, the school only rarely sends them home. Instead, they’ll study and reflect in the Intervention Room, whose teacher also serves as counselor. And once a week, the teachers, staff, and administrators meet as a large group to discuss “kids of concern” and develop individualized “service plans” for them.

“It’s a whole-child approach,” Bromley says.

And, so far, it’s working. Since the school implemented PBIS:

Short-term suspensions dropped from 140 during the 2014-2015 school year to 40 last year.

Attendance has risen 2.5 percent—an increase Fisk called “significant.”
Graduation rates have risen 3.5 percent, to 89.5 percent last year. Fisk expects

that figure to reach 92 percent in 2017.
Test scores have risen by 14 percent.

These results are important not just for the students who’ve improved but also for the program’s continued existence. PBIS doesn’t come cheaply, not at first: teachers and staff must be trained, more counselors hired, and more time spent with every struggling student: “We go a bit slower for quality work, so every kid feels they have a place here,” Fisk says.

Over time, Bromley says, the costs will recoup themselves as teachers and staff work to resolve problems so they don’t recur.

“When you repair those relationships up front, you save money on the back end,” she says.

Sherry Jones is a freelance writer and author living in Spokane. Contact her at


 Tackling food insecurity

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund funded project!
Spokane Public Schools logo


August 29, 2016

Grant aims to tackle food insecurity in THEZONE

An $85,000 grant from the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund will help two new projects in THEZONE get started this spring.

The Mobile Market in THEZONE will be modeled after a successful Mobile Market out of Minneapolis, the Twin Cities Mobile Market.

The Mobile Market in THEZONE will be modeled after a successful Mobile Market out of Minneapolis, the Twin Cities Mobile Market.

Both projects, THEZONE Mobile Market and Green Schoolyards, focus on providing access to healthy and affordable food, as well as the knowledge of how to grow and prep these foods. This kind of access is often a challenge in areas of high poverty. The average poverty level in THEZONE is 32 percent, with some census tracts tipping 50 percent.

In addition, much of THEZONE is considered a food desert due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.

THEZONE Mobile Market will coordinate with local grocers, farmers and 2nd Harvest to obtain foods that will be sold at or below market prices. A retro-fitted public transit style bus will become a grocery-on-wheels that will make three stops per week in THEZONE at high density, low-income housing complexes.

Green Schoolyards in THEZONE will create schoolyard gardens and

This spring THEZONE project will pilot Green Schoolyards. Green Schoolyards America is a national model that is research based.

This spring THEZONE project will pilot Green Schoolyards. Green Schoolyards America is a national model that is research based.

greenhouses to grow fresh foods for school kitchens. Staff, students, and community members will learn about gardening as well as food prep and nutrition. The gardens also will provide a summer employment opportunity for students via a partnership with Project Hope.

“Providing a critical need to highly collaborative and dedicated

community partners, who are laser focused on a specific area made this a very easy decision for the Fund,” said Sharon Smith co-founder of the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund. “We are sincerely grateful to be a part of THEZONE and these great projects.”

These projects rely on many community partners, who are providing support in numerous ways: Spokane Community College, City of Spokane, Spokane Regional Health District, Gonzaga University, 2nd Harvest, Project Hope, Applied Insight, Empire Health Foundation, Catholic Charities, and Spokane Food Policy Council.


Spokane Edible Tree Project Funded

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Fruit-mapping intiative takes root in Spokane

Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund awards grant to Edible Tree Project

by Sherry Jones, July 1, 2016

Got fruit? Pat Coleman does—more, sometimes, than he knows what to do with.

Evidence of June gleaning

Evidence of June gleaning

Twelve hundred pounds of unpicked organic apricots on his Found Barn Farm last year might have been left to rot. Instead, Coleman donated all that luscious fruit to the Spokane Edible Tree Project, which in turn fed it to people in need.

And he didn’t even have to pick the fruit: the Edible Tree Project’s volunteers harvested it and carried it away from Coleman’s farm, on Green Bluff.

“Awesome,” he said. “It’s a wonderful organization.”

Now, the Spokane Edible Tree Project wants to do the same thing for the rest of Spokane County.

Since its inception in 2013 by founder and board president Kate Burke, the Edible Tree Project has worked primarily with larger growers on Green Bluff and elsewhere. Now, with the help of a grant from the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, the project is expanding its fruit-forward ambitions. Its team aims to chart every tree in Spokane County that bears fruit and nuts, as well as berry bushes. That’s a lot of fruit: 7,500 trees mapped so far, and it’s only the beginning. (See the map here.)

“Our first season, we got more than 35,000 pounds of fruit,” Burke says. “I’m confident that we can get hundreds of thousands of pounds.”

Cherry gleaning in July

Cherry gleaning in July

As inspiration, she points to the Portland Edible Tree Project in Oregon, 10 years old, that collects some 43,000 pounds of fruit each season. The Portland organization is one of the Spokane project’s primary partners, along with the Washington State University Extension Service, Second Harvest, The Lands Council, and Rotary First Harvest, contributing volunteers and other resources to get the food where it’s needed: into the mouths of hungry people—whose numbers appear to be growing in Spokane County.

“The need for food is growing throughout our community,” says Shawn Lepisi, food resource developer at Second Harvest. “Every year, we see an increase in need.”

In 2015, some 3,000 pounds of Edible Tree Project fruit went to Second Harvest patrons, “produce that would otherwise to go to waste,” Lepisi said. The food bank provided 11.5 million pounds of produce last year, nearly half its total distribution, he said.

The project’s “highly collaborative” approach to alleviating hunger helped it win the grant. Administered by local philanthropists Sharon Smith and Don Barbieri, the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund provides aid to projects aiming at reducing poverty in Spokane County.

The Spokane Edible Tree Project, Smith says, helps ensure “that food insecure individuals and families have on-going and reliable access to healthy produce.

“Hunger-related malnutrition is a serious issue, especially among the elderly and children, that may have long-term and even permanent physical, emotional and mental effects,” she says.

Spokane Edible Tree Board of Directors

Spokane Edible Tree Board of Directors

As Spokane County’s hunger grows, the Spokane Edible Tree Project hopes to satisfy it in a number of ways, says Kendra Dean, a Harvest Against Hunger Americorps VISTA member working full-time with the project. Among the plans: offering classes in tree health and pruning (for greater harvests and healthier fruit) and in fruit preparation and preservation, a “Give a Box” program at Green Bluff where consumers may pick fruit to donate to the project, and a “fallen fruit” program where volunteers glean fruit from the ground to be processed for sale or giveaway.

Dean also envisions organizing neighborhoods to harvest their own trees and share the fruit with one another.

“Ten, twenty years down the road, I’d love for us to bring volunteers to a tree and there’d be no fruit on it,” Burke says. “I like the idea of taking out the middleman.”

The Spokane Edible Tree Project’s next event, a Cherry Glean, takes place July 10. For more information or to volunteer, go to

Sherry Jones ( is a Spokane author and freelance writer.


Critical Therapy for Spokane Children Expands

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The only service of its kind in Spokane, Elevations Foundation was established by committed medical professionals, families and community members who see too many children with physical and mental challenges who could be helped by therapy, but who have limited or no resources to meet the cost. Elevations works with licensed professionals throughout the greater Spokane region to identify uninsured and under-insured children and provide them access to therapeutic services in the community. Many children who could benefit from therapeutic services in the greater Spokane area don’t have access to the full range of care that could help them overcome and cope with physical, speech and mental challenges. Outstanding therapy resources are available for children in our community, but financial and insurance limitations are restricting families’ access to needed therapies.

Let The Games Begin

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Spokane Sidewalk Games cultivate a healthier community in Spokane by brining GIANT board games to the sidewalks, parks, and public spaces in downtown Spokane this summer to facilitate connections, get people talking, spark laughter, and create a vibrant and healthier community for all who live, work, and play here. A community that plays together, stays together!

Summer Teen Program Strengthens

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Summer Teen Program at South Perry Learning Center located in the Emmanuel Family Life Center. Kids ages 13-17 from diverse backgrounds engage M-F to participate in a wide range of activities including visits to colleges, businesses, Math SAT Test preparatory course, Responsible Renters Class, Spokane Police Department PAL Program, technology training, student participation in mentor and leadership community service, field trips and a healthy youth initiative program on “Making Proud Choices.” All this for free!

Coalition Support For Spokane School Reforms

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Spokane Public Schools tries active but patient approach to decrease suspensions

By Eli Fvrancovich, SUNDAY, MAY 22, 2016, 4 A.M.

When David Staley was caught with marijuana at school for the third time, he figured he was done. A short, muscular, 17-year-old junior at North Central High School, Staley had a reputation for breaking the rules.

Just weeks before being caught with weed, he “flipped out on my teacher,” he said, swearing and storming out of the classroom.

Staley is quiet and – despite his rabble-rousing reputation – sweet, said North Central’s Dean of Students Mary O Gustafson.

“He was a mess,” she said of Staley after his third drug violation. “But malicious? No.”

Disproportionate discipline

The composition index measures whether grouping of students are suspended/expelled at a rate proportionate to their representation in the total population. Numbers greater than one mean members of the group are suspended/expelled more often than their representation in the general population.

Out-of-school short and long term suspensions and expulsions
Interactive chart at:

Staley wasn’t kicked out of school. Instead, Gustafson and others sat down with him and tried to work out why he was acting out. Staley wrote “accountability essays” that broke down what he’d done wrong, and how he could make amends. He turned over his cellphone to the school office staff at the beginning of each school day. He started going to drug and alcohol counseling sessions. He spent time at North Central’s dedicated intervention classroom, designed to give students who have gotten in trouble a place in school to work.

North Central has embraced restorative discipline, which puts a premium on relationships. The approach addresses persistent discipline issues including the disproportionate discipline of minorities and special-education students.

Gone are the days of zero tolerance, Gustafson said.

With the new policies in place, the school cut its out-of-school suspension rate by two-thirds.

“We’re going to keep our kids,” Gustafson said. “We’re not going to throw them out.”

Staley stayed in school, until late April, when he left campus to smoke a cigarette, an act Gustafson said was motivated largely by his addiction. Still, it was the last straw and Staley was suspended, she said.

Even now, however, Staley still has chances. The school has set him up with a drug and alcohol counselor, whom he meets with every day. Additionally, his teachers are sending him his schoolwork so he doesn’t fall too far behind, Gustafson said.

“That’s more important now, getting clean and stuff like that,” she said.

And Gustafson, for her part, fully expects to have Staley back at school in September.

“I really love this school,” Staley said. “Most of my teachers have really helped me out.”

Minorities, those with disabilities suspended more often

The districtwide push toward restorative discipline practices, like those used at North Central, is connected to an effort started five years ago to lower the district’s dropout rate, which was about 30 percent at that time, said Fred Schrumpf, the district’s director of on-time graduation.

Schrumpf and others started focusing on ways to provide children with academic options. Since then the dropout rate has been cut in half – it was 15.5 percent in 2015.

The closer the dropout rate gets to zero, though, the harder it becomes to reach the remaining at-risk students, Schrumpf said. Those students typically suffer from trauma, mental health issues or other deeper-seated problems that are mostly out of the school’s direct control, he said. Often those children who need to stay in school the most are being suspended and expelled, Schrumpf said.

“I always hate blaming a school because they can’t help who walks through the door,” he said.

Spokane’s discipline rate was the highest in the state in 2015, with roughly 8 percent of all students in the district being suspended or expelled. But even more troubling, Schrumpf said, is who is being disciplined.

Black students are suspended or expelled almost two times as often as other students, while students with 504 plans – those who have disabilities, which can include learning or attention issues – are suspended or expelled three times more often. Schrumpf believes restorative discipline practices would bring equity back into discipline, as would additional training.

“I think as a district our teachers and administrators need more training in cultural competency,” he said.

Teachers don’t disagree with Schrumpf’s assessment and are largely on board with restorative discipline efforts, said Jenny Rose, president of the Spokane Education Association union. But teachers, particularly at the elementary level, don’t feel they have the support they need.

The kind of total involvement required by restorative discipline asks more from teachers and administrators. And if the support isn’t there, in the form of additional staff and resources, staff and students are put at risk, Rose said.

Right now there’s not much consistency from school to school, she said.

“We have some schools that have a discipline plan in place. We have other schools that do not,” Rose said.

“Our current system is not working,” Rose said at the May 11 Spokane Public Schools board meeting. “There is not a week that goes by that I don’t hear a story about a staff member being injured on the job by the students.”

Childhood stress, exposure to violence blamed

Michaela Jones teaches third grade at Lidgerwood Elementary in north Spokane. On a recent Friday, Jones was decompressing from a week in which one student called her a name she refused to repeat and another said, “I hope you die in a fire.”

Jones said she doesn’t take such insults and threats personally, instead seeing the outbursts as a symptom of a larger problem.

“It’s not actually (aimed) at me,” she said. “I know this kid loves me and that I love him.”

The students Jones sees are increasingly traumatized and angry, she said. Jones believes these classroom behaviors can be blamed on an increase in childhood stress and exposure to violence. Her third-grade students often bring up terrorist attacks as a persistent fear.

Prior to teaching at Lidgerwood, Jones worked in a behavioral intervention room with students who couldn’t be in general education classes because of behavioral issues. She said she sees the same kind of problems now among the third-graders in her general-education class.

“There have been days when I worry for my kids’ safety in my classroom,” she said. “We don’t have the staffing. We don’t have the people to actually help them.”

Jones believes that restorative discipline practices are fundamental to addressing these behavior issues. However, the schools aren’t providing the necessary time, space or training, she said.

When she has a disruptive student, her only option short of asking for his or her suspension is to send that student to another teacher’s classroom, Jones said. This is known as a buddy room, and is an informal agreement between teachers. The students aren’t integrated into the class, and are often not even the same age as their classmates.

“Our major belief is we don’t want to send kids home,” Jones said.

Jones and other teachers said adding intervention rooms at the elementary school level would be a tremendous help. Additionally, Jones believes teachers need more training in de-escalation tactics, as well more training about restorative discipline.

The district wants to emphasize restorative discipline, she said; “This sounds fabulous, (but) how do we do it?”

“We have responded”

District officials agree that teachers need more support, and they say they are taking steps in that direction.

“I think often in education, and in business too, when you do something new there can be an implementation dip,” said Brian Melody, elementary school director. “We have some catching up to do.”

Melody and elementary school director Jennifer Keck agree that teachers are dealing with more extreme behaviors in the classroom. That’s partly because the types of students the district is serving are changing dramatically. An increase in students from group homes and foster care often comes with more behavior issues, they said.

To address that, the district has nearly tripled the number of mental health counselors at schools, Melody and Keck said at the May 11 school board meeting. The district also is hiring more principal assistants and school behavior specialists, and working closely with a variety of local social service organizations.

“We have responded,” Melody said.

Melody said district officials are trying to address the consistency concern raised by Rose by developing school discipline plans for each elementary.

Implementing change in the state’s second-largest school district will take time, Keck said.

“I think it’s more challenging when the behaviors are more extreme,” Keck said.

A numbers game

Some question the district’s commitment to restorative practices and suspect the district is more interested in lowering discipline rates than in making real change.

Rosey Thurman, the staff attorney for TeamChild in Spokane, believes the district is playing a numbers game.

“I think the community agrees with the teachers that the district has not fully committed to restorative discipline,” Thurman said.

Thurman believes the district has put teachers in an untenable position by expecting fewer suspensions while not providing the necessary resources. She said she sees this regularly with her clients in her work providing legal aid to youth.

One of her clients, for example, is a student with an IQ of 48 who is regularly disciplined. Yet Thurman doesn’t believe the student is learning anything useful from that discipline. What’s more, he shouldn’t be held responsible for the behaviors prompting the discipline because of his intellectual disability, she said.

She believes that’s indicative of a system more interested in the easy fix that suspension can provide.

Mona Ammon, a sixth-grade teacher at Roosevelt Elementary, said she’s willing to work individually with problem students, if she had the time and support.

“What is happening with your other 27 kids when you’re stepping out to deal with this student one-on-one?” Ammon said. “I’m supposed to be teaching but instead I’m giving a counseling session.”

Gustafson, North Central’s dean of students, agrees that without the correct support, restorative practices are not effective. Up until this year, North Central didn’t have a dedicated intervention room. Now that they do, Gustafson said they are much better equipped to work with students.

Wide buy-in necessary for the model to work

Sitting in a small, windowless office at Chief Garry Middle School, James Wilburn is one part of the district’s response to the discipline question.

Wilburn, the former president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, is the supervisor and sole staff member of the Youth Initiatives and Community Parent Involvement office. Wilburn is an employee of the school district and the city of Spokane. His role, he said, is to work with struggling children and their families.

“You’ve got to fix the whole thing because the systems are connected,” Wilburn said.

Wilburn primarily works with students of color. Typically those students come from high-poverty, high-trauma backgrounds. Their behavior in the classroom is often directly motivated by their home-life experiences and their experiences as a minority student.

“Teachers have to stop taking it personally,” he said. “Many teachers don’t know how to say, ‘Oh wait, OK. I’m going to be the adult in the room.’ ”

Wilburn says he’s seen good things happening in the district. Superintendent Shelley Redinger is supportive of efforts to lower the discipline rate and there is an increased understanding of the issues minority students face.

Recently the district hired an outside firm, the Burns Institute, to review its discipline data. Malachi Garza, director of Community Justice Network for Youth, which is part of the Burns Institute, said Spokane has problems when it comes to equitable discipline. However, teachers and administrators were receptive to change.

“Every teacher we talked to was very forthcoming and forthright about having disparities in school discipline,” Garza said.

Garza said the willingness is a good start, but it needs to be followed up by support.

“There were a lot of clear requests for training,” Garza said.

It appears that when the efforts are supported they work. But, as evidenced by Staley, it’s not easy, or guaranteed. Gustafson said the only way restorative discipline can be effective is if the entire school, from administrators to janitors, buys into the program.

At North Central, Principal Steve Fisk and Assistant Principal Wendy Bromley are actively engaged and supportive of Gustafson’s efforts.

“I think it was just a commitment that we were going to do everything possible not to suspend a kid,” Bromley said.

Jones, the third-grade teacher from Lidgerwood Elementary, agrees with Bromley.

“It’s going to cost the schools more upfront, but if we teach these kid these skills we will spend less money on jail,” Jones said.

Meanwhile, David Staley, the North Central junior, is attending school twice a week and going to drug and alcohol counseling.

“I”m trying to make it easier on them,” he said of school administrators and teachers. “One less student they have to worry about.”


New Spokane Planned Parenthood Health Center Underway

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund funded project!

Planned Parenthood breaks ground on new $5M Spokane facility

By Kip Hill, Spokesman-Review, FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2016, 2:28 P.M.

In the midst of attacks both political and potentially criminal, the local chapter of Planned Parenthood broke ground this week on a new $5 million health care facility.

The Smith-Barbieri Center, named for principal donors Don Barbieri and Sharon Smith, is expected to open next door to the health care nonprofit’s existing location at 123 E. Indiana Ave. in winter 2017. Planned Parenthood’s new building will be slightly smaller than the existing center, which is a modified office building the organization moved into in the 1980s.

“This is much more than just another building,” said Karl Eastlund, chief executive at Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho. “Obviously, we needed to update this structure. It’s old. It’s inefficient. This is really going to allow us to expand our services into the next 50 years.”

The new health center will feature nine exam rooms and two surgical suites, where services such as cancer screening, ultrasounds and abortions can be performed. It also will feature a community classroom and education center that will host classes, including sex education for teenagers and health programs for young families. Planned Parenthood has raised $1.3 million of its $2 million goal in private donations for the project, and will continue to accept gifts through December 2020 to cover the cost.

The construction begins just a few months after Planned Parenthood’s location in Pullman reopened, following a suspected arson in September. The FBI has been investigating the incident, but, as of this week, no arrests have been made.

The National Abortion Federation announced last month that death threats against abortion clinics increased in 2015, following the release of undercover videos by a group against abortion they said showed Planned Parenthood profited from the sale of fetal tissue, a claim the nonprofit has repeatedly denied.

In January, a Texas grand jury indicted members of the Center for Medical Progress, the organization that published the video, but took no action against Planned Parenthood.

Smith, who said she was treated for cancer while in her 20s thanks to screenings performed at Planned Parenthood, acknowledged the heated political climate that has produced multiple protests at the Spokane location, but said she felt compelled to “stand up and do what’s right.” The Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund donated $500,000 to the project, its largest single gift to date, Smith said.

“It’s troubling to me that the people who need health care have to think about it,” Smith said of the political opposition, which has turned violent in places other than Pullman. In November, a gunman entered a Planned Parenthood location in Colorado Springs and opened fire, killing three people. The suspected gunman said he was “a warrior for the babies.”

The undercover videos have prompted congressional investigations. A bill that would have removed federal funding for Planned Parenthood reached President Barack Obama’s desk in February, but he vetoed it. Congress failed to override the veto on a party-line vote.

Local author Jess Walter, who introduced the main donors of the project at a ceremony Thursday night, said supporting the nonprofit shouldn’t be political.

“This is about family, and about fairness, and what kind of community we want to live in,” Walter said.

Other major donors include the family of Robert L. Nielsen, a physician who served on the organization’s board and was a graduate of the University of Washington.

The Harriet Cheney Cowles Foundation donated $250,000 to the project. Betsy Cowles and Stacey Cowles spoke on behalf of the foundation and their mother, Allison Cowles, who served on Planned Parenthood’s board and was an early advocate of reproductive rights and family planning.

“We all would say Allison would be pleased, wherever she is, and we’re very pleased to be able to honor her with a gift to this great new building,” Betsy Cowles said.

The Cowles family owns Cowles Co., which publishes The Spokesman-Review. Betsy Cowles is the chairman of the company, and Stacey Cowles is the publisher of The Spokesman-Review.

The new building will allow Planned Parenthood to serve 50 percent more patients over five years, according to the nonprofit. In 2015, the Spokane clinic treated 9,778 patients, according to the organization’s annual report.

Abortions made up about 3.8 percent of the services rendered to visitors to the Greater Washington and North Idaho Planned Parenthood last year.

Smith and Barbieri said their key concern was making sure patients had a safe place to receive health care.

“The patients that come here deserve dignity,” Smith said.

Spokane Volunteer Lawyers Program Productivity Boost

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Spokane Volunteer Lawyers Program provides select legal services to low-income individuals and families who may otherwise be denied adequate representation or access to the civil justice system, and to encourage local attorneys to fulfill their duty to provide pro bono services. Volunteer attorneys provide free legal assistance in civil matters (non-criminal) to qualified low-income individuals in Spokane County and the seven outlying counties. Their volunteer attorneys assist qualified individuals either in groups at their clinics or individually through direct representation.

PASSION for Justice

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swan single flier

Story of Wanrow (Criminal Law Stories)


See full story here:


Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund: Focused on poverty, quality of life > Spokane Journal of Business

Spokane passes Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, January 13th, 2016
CONTACT: Jim Dawson, 360-292-8540,
Nikki Lockwood, 509-638-7555,

Spokane Alliance applauds passage of Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance

Over 180 people came out in support of a stronger ordinance.

– After nearly three years of organizing, research, and collaboration, the Spokane
Alliance is celebrating the passing of an earned sick and safe leave policy in the city. The
Alliance – a group of congregations, unions, school and community groups, along with over
30 businesses, worked tirelessly for over 2 years advocating for a sick and safe leave policy
in Spokane.

“We at the Spokane Alliance commend the six members of the council who voted for and passed this landmark policy, which will improve the lives and health of tens of thousands of people in Spokane. We especially want to recognize Councilmember Snyder for his strong advocacy, and Council President Stuckart for his leadership throughout this process. We are glad the city council responded to the outpouring of community support for 5 days of sick and safe leave,” says Carol Krawczyk, lead organizer for the Spokane Alliance.

The Council Chambers were packed with over 180 people supporting the ordinance. Of the 52 individuals testifying about the policy, 40 were in favor. Many shared powerful stories that represented a vast array of perspectives and groups, such as military veterans, domestic abuse survivors and advocates, teachers, parents, business owners, non-profits, and service workers.

Healthcare providers also shared why this is a victory for personal and public health. “When my patients are sick, I advise them to stay home. Yet so often I hear that they can’t afford to, due to a lack of paid leave. This decision from the City Council means that more people – especially the most vulnerable members of our community – will be better able to take care of themselves and their loved ones without risking their economic security,” says Bill Lockwood, a Spokane physician.

In his closing statements supporting the policy, Council President Stuckart referenced the heart wrenching testimony of Rebecca Moffitt a single mom with two young kids. “I’ve seen this issue from many sides – as a business owner, employee, and single mother. I was proud to offer earned sick and safe leave to my employees, and always understood its importance. Yet, after a change in career, and losing this benefit myself, I truly understand the difficult and heartbreaking situations a lack of paid leave puts people in. At the hearing I shared the guilt I felt as a mother sending my children to school sick because I can’t afford to miss work. No mother should have to choose between their income and taking care of their children. So on behalf of myself and other working parents, I commend the City Council members who voted to pass this life-changing policy,” says Moffitt.

Numerous small business owners spoke in support of a 5 day sick and safe leave policy including Brent Hendricks with Global Neighborhood. “As the founder of a small business in Spokane I know that not only is sick and safe leave the right thing to do it also helps my business succeed. The small cost of the policy is more than paid for in employee morale, productivity, and reducing turnover. I applaud the city council for passing this common sense policy that protects the health of our community.” Said Brent Hendricks founder of Global Neighborhood.


The Spokane Alliance is a countywide organization of diverse religious intuitions, education associations, unions and community groups representing over 20,000 local residents. It is driven by the belief that these Mediating Institutions must be strong because they are the cornerstones of a vibrant democratic society and hold the key to mending and reweaving the social fabric essential for strong families, healthy communities and a just world. The Alliance has two primary goals: 1. To help strengthen each member organization 2. To serve as a vehicle for member groups to act in the public arena with sufficient power for justice and the common good.

Two Community Champions Lead Efforts to Fund New Spokane Planned Parenthood Health Center

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund special capital campaign!

SPOKANE – Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho (PPGWNI) is pleased to announce plans to build a new, state-of-the-art Health and Community Education Center in Spokane, replacing the current facility on Indiana Avenue. The $2 million capital fundraising campaign for the $5 million project is underway, with the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, A Charitable Foundation and the Harriet Cheney Cowles Foundation providing the two lead gifts.

**** “Thanks to Planned Parenthood, thousands of men and women in our region have maintained and improved their reproductive health and well-being through critical cancer screenings and sexually transmitted infection testing. With their focus on prevention, Planned Parenthood has also helped thousands of women and men prevent unintended pregnancies. The Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund is a 501c3 charitable foundation with the primary mission of reducing poverty and ensuring vulnerable people in the Inland Northwest have access to tools and resources to achieve sustainable well-being. Access to birth control and comprehensive family planning services directly impacts a person’s ability to plan their future and achieve their dreams. The new Planned Parenthood Health and Community Education Center will allow expansion of vital health care services and education programs, fostering a healthy and thriving community. The Fund is pleased to help launch this campaign with a $500,000 gift toward the new building.” Sharon Smith and Don Barbieri on behalf of the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund

**** “A woman’s right to choose and to have access to basic quality health care is fundamental to a just society. Allison Cowles worked on the campaign decades ago in this state to affirm a woman’s right to choose well before Roe v. Wade got to the Supreme Court. This made Washington State a leader for choice.  Over the subsequent decades, our local Planned Parenthood has done wonderful work as an education resource, as a healthcare provider and as an advocate for women.  In honor of our mother Allison Cowles, we are pleased to help launch this campaign with a $250,000 gift toward the new building.” Stacey and Betsy Cowles on behalf of the Harriet Cheney Cowles Foundation

After a comprehensive facilities analysis, PPGWNI found that constructing a new health center would be more cost-PP Spokane Clinic Renderingeffective than renovating the existing facility. In addition to aesthetic improvements NAC Architecture has incorporated into the 16,000-square-foot design, the facility itself will be significantly more efficient in the way space is utilized and in its environmental footprint. Enhanced medical facilities, streamlined office space, energy-efficient lighting, and a more resourceful HVAC system are among the many upgrades. And most importantly, the new Health and Community Education Center will include features to ensure a positive and empowering patient experience, including significant measures to protect patient privacy and dignity.

“We are immensely grateful to the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund and the Harriet Cheney Cowles Foundation for their leadership and dedication to ensuring that everyone in our community has access to the expert health care and resources they choose. We are honored to be the provider of choice for nearly 28,000 people throughout the region, and this new state-of-the-art Health and Community Education Center will allow us to continue to provide the exceptional care our patients rely on,”  said Karl Eastlund, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho.

Meridian Construction will finalize building designs and begin site work for the new center this fall, which will be located on the lot just east of the current health center.

The new building will feature:

  • Nine exam rooms equipped for comprehensive reproductive health services, family planning, and complementary medical services.
  • Two surgical services suites for a full range of procedures, including cervical cancer screening and treatment, colposcopy, ultrasound, abortion, and sterilization.
  • An Education Center to plan, design, and implement medically-accurate, health and sex education curriculum including the nationally-recognized Teen Council program and evidence-based Teen Pregnancy Prevention programs.
  • A community classroom, providing health education programs to families, youth, and community groups.
  • A Public Affairs Center, advancing public policies protecting access to reproductive health services and reproductive justice, conducting voter education, and community outreach.
  • Our Customer Care Center, a centralized hub for incoming patient calls, texts, and emails across our nine regional health centers. Along with one other Care Center, this hub handles over 150,000 inquiries annually.
  • Our Administrative Headquarters, home to our CEO, executive leadership, and administrative staff

Construction Timeline:

  • Fall/Winter 2015: Finalizing the building design and begin preliminary site work
  • Spring/Summer 2016: Break ground
  • Winter 2017: Grand opening

Community members and organizations interested in learning more about this exciting project and to get involved are encouraged to contact Joy Peltier, Vice President of Development at PPGWNI, at


Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho (PPGWNI) is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization and the leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable reproductive health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the primary provider of sexual health education in the region. With nine health centers serving 20 counties across Central and Eastern Washington and nine counties in North Idaho, PPGWNI has been dedicated to serving all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment since 1967. Through comprehensive preventive health services, education programs in schools and communities, and online resources, PPGWNI is a trusted reliable source of quality, honest health care – empowering people to make informed health decisions – to take charge of their lives, plan their futures, and achieve their dreams.

Leadership Spokane Life Transition Scholarships

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund funded support!

This scholarship is awarded to an incoming member of the adult Leadership Spokane program who demonstrated a passion for his/her community, who is making a lasting life transition and who has a desire to step up to leadership. The candidate awarded had  financial need that otherwise made Leadership Spokane tuition a barrier to participation in the program.

Words from a friend and colleague about the scholarship …

“A few weeks ago I attended the Leadership Spokane dinner/auction.  Megan Curren, who was the recipient of a scholarship your Foundation provided that enabled her to go through Leadership Spokane, asked to have a few minutes to speak to the audience to express her gratitude and tell her “story”.  If I recall correctly, Ms. Curren had recently been homeless and had had a drug addiction, before finding herself at Transitions in Spokane.  Obviously, she is a very strong and determined person that realized the path she was on would not lead her to hear goals and dreams, and so she sought support through this organization.  Ms. Curren, who had to be nervous presenting in front of 400+, was incredibly articulate, sincere, organized, professional, thankful, and seemingly very motived to make the most of the “boost” she has been afforded, to put her life on a path she is proud of.  She received a standing ovation that lasted far larger than any other presenter that evening.  Much of the audience was moved to tears with her story of struggle and perseverance.  It would appear that the investment made in this young woman is likely to pay great dividends.”

Leadership Spokane classmates make two women’s individual journeys possible

Strangers until a week ago, two Spokane women have tickets on a 6 a.m. Saturday flight to Colorado for a journey that isn’t about sightseeing.

For Megan Curran and Kitara Johnson, it’s about fulfilling dreams and experiences they didn’t even know they shared until Leadership Spokane colleagues connected dots. The group’s 2016 leadership class then collectively arranged the travel and pitched in $1,500 for their trip.

Curran, 35, who is in that leadership class, had simply shared with a few people a desire one day to visit her parents’ graves near Denver, part of navigating toward recovery from years of heroin addiction and homelessness.

“I’m in recovery and part of recovery is you make amends,” Curran said. “Part of that for me is going to see my parents’ graves.”

Johnson, 37, is a 2008 Leadership Spokane alum and Army veteran who spoke Jan. 8 to Curran’s class on diversity and leadership skills forged after a troubled youth around drugs and gangs. She teaches how to work with children who have adverse childhood experiences and has a background in counseling and working with PTSD.

The two didn’t meet that day. But three days after her talk, Johnson shared a Facebook wish to fulfill a dream to watch her college-aged son wrestle Jan. 31 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Elysia Spencer, also in the leadership class, saw that post. She sent a copy of it in an email to Brian Newberry, the program’s executive director, along with, “Thoughts?”

They called Curran and Johnson, who agreed to travel together if class members could come up with a plan.

“I kind of put two and two together,” said Spencer, who works at WSU Spokane. “It’s like, why not now? There are 53 in the class aside from Megan. We thought we could all pitch in $25.”

She emailed the class Jan. 15 explaining the scenario and a desire to have someone accompany Curran “so she is not facing her past alone.” She outlined a budget.

Within an hour, she received class pledges totaling $700. Soon, a member pre-purchased the airplane tickets. Another classmate arranged a Friday night stay at Northern Quest Casino & Resort after the Leadership Spokane Gala there, so the women could take an early Saturday airport shuttle. The same classmate arranged bargain lodging in Colorado.

Someone else found a car rental dealership allowing debit transactions, and other details fell into place. As soon as they land, Curran and Johnson plan to spend Saturday as “Megan’s day,” visiting the cemetery together. Jan. 31 is “Kitara’s day,” with both women cheering for Johnson’s son, Terrance McKinney, a wrestler at Chadron State.

“My friend is making us a T-shirt to cheer for Terrance,” Johnson said. “The shirt will say ‘Leadership Spokane Class of 2016’ on the front, and on the back, ‘Teamwork makes the dream work.’ It means a lot to me to see him wrestle.”

Johnson said when she first was asked to be Curran’s “wingman,” it took her a minute to identify with the Air Force term. “In the Army, we say battle buddy so when I thought about it, I said OK, yes, it all makes sense now. Absolutely.”

“It was meant to be,” Johnson added. “I went astray as a teen. I know what it feels like when you have to make amends. It’s not easy to open up and share your story; internally it’s a battle in your mind. I really value the opportunity to be of service for Megan.”

Curran traces her turnaround to January 2014, when she left Deaconess Hospital and promised doctors for her heart valve replacement surgery that she’d work to stay clean from drugs.

“It came with the doctors’ choice to give me a surgery,” she said. “They didn’t have to because it was related to my using, so that is the biggest gift I’ve ever received.”

She entered treatment and then moved into Miryam’s House, a program of the nonprofit Transitions, to recover. Today, Curran lives on her own and works as a receptionist. She received the Smith-Barbieri Fund Scholarship for Leadership Spokane tuition this past fall.

Another class member, Mark London, said he, Spencer and Newberry first talked at the Jan. 8 session about how to help Curran get to Colorado. London shared a thank-you note Curran had written to him that day for a speech he’d delivered.

“I spoke on the language of grief, and how grief can hurt and imprint your life,” London said. “She wrote about her own loss, that she had a similar experience. It’s a pretty special note. I showed it to Elysia and Brian, and that sparked a conversation to find a way to fulfill her wish.”

Spencer added, “We’ve all been inspired by Megan’s story, what she’s overcome, what she’s giving back. Now, we’re doing something that potentially will have an impact on two people’s lives for the rest of their lives.”

Curran said before Leadership Spokane, accepting the gift of this trip would have been difficult, describing herself as someone who has so much to pay back to so many.

“I’m learning that servant leadership is only effective if we allow each other the opportunity to serve and build each other up.”

“As servant leaders, we take turns,” she added. “I’ll get to pay forward the amazing love and generosity my classmates have shown in ways I don’t even know about yet. This journey of servanthood is lifelong.”

54 grants valued at over $360,000

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund special message!

By the end of this year, the Fund will have made 54 grants worth over $360,000 to 36 direct service providers. The grant payments ranged from $100 to $47,000 each and this doesn’t include the future year pledges toward large, multi-year projects. The Fund’s first two full years since our mission expansion from affordable housing have yielded nearly $600,000 in funded grants and we’re on track to hit $1 million next year.The vast majority of the Fund’s resources still comes from us personally. But to those who have placed your trust in us and our community’s dedicated service providers to help improve the quality of life for many people in need, we sincerely thank you for your donations!But all good things must come to an end and for us that means our funds are exhausted for the year and our grants process is now closed for 2015. We will of course continue to fulfill our eight outstanding pledges and matching campaigns and manage other business. We will be accepting new requests beginning in early 2016.We will remain in touch in the coming months to spotlight some of the really great projects that are underway like the new AICC education center and computer lab below! We remain incredibly grateful to support such professional and dedicated service providers. We are more committed than ever to reducing poverty, expanding affordable housing and fostering a more dynamic and knowledgable constituency in the Inland Northwest.Best wishes for a peaceful and happy fall!

Best wishes,

Sharon & Don

Calling all university faculty, students, staff, alumni and regents/trustees!
Double your donation!

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund special matching campaign!

If you don’t by now know about the firebombing of the Pullman Planned Parenthood health center, you might just live in a cave. Hey – no judgement! That seems like a pretty peaceful option these days.But it did happen and now it’s time to rebuild.Since so many of Planned Parenthood’s patients are young and low income people and the Pullman clinic sits just a stone’s throw from one of Washington’s great public universities, the Fund is tying it all together and leading a matching funds campaignEvery dollar donated by any WA or ID university student, faculty, staff member, regent/trustee or alum will be matched. The Fund absorbs all overhead costs through other donations so every gross dollar is matched one to one!

So please visit our Donate page and designate your donation to the Planned Parenthood Pullman Matching Campaign. If you have no university affiliation, no problem! Just forward this to someone you know who does. The out-of-pocket estimate to rebuild is $250,000 so we best get it going!

Thanks in advance for your generosity and support of quality and affordable reproductive health in Eastern WA!

Best wishes,

Sharon & Don

p.s. There are still no suspects but the Arson Alarm Foundation and NW Insurance Council are offering a $10,000 reward for information about the arson that leads to an arrest. More info here.

Double your donation by giving to the

Planned Parenthood Pullman Universities Matching Campaign!Forward this to everyone you know who is a WA or ID university faculty, student, staff member or alum!Spread the word: Planned Parenthood will open a temporary open a temporary center Oct. 12 at 745 N. Grand Ave. #108 in Pullman to provide annual exams, birth control, testing for sexually transmitted infections and other services.

Like the Planned Parenthood of Greater WA & Northern ID Facebook Page!

Read about the scientists at UW who make life-saving medical breakthroughs through the use of fetal and other tissue donations.

Universities Matching Flier

American Indian Community Center

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund supported project!

New education department and computer lab open!
610 E. North Foothills Drive, Spokane

A message from AICC Executive Director, Lux Devereaux …

AICC kids & staff get productive at the new education center & computer lab!

AICC kids & staff get productive at the new education center & computer lab!

The AICC education department and computer lab are set up and open for business.  People are slowly migrating to the new center, including families and children. They are thoroughly enjoying the computer assistance and homework activities. We fully anticipate growing the program now that we are up and running.

We are very excited about the program particularly with its potential to become a permanent service here at the Center.  Tutoring youth is one of the areas with limited services, especially with our Native American kids and teens.  We thank the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund for their support.

Check out the full services of the AICC here.

Like the American Indian Community Center on Facebook!


Meet two of the estimated 30,000 former refugees in our area

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund important update


For Erick, Refugee Connections Spokane has done much more than help him navigate this strange land: it has given him the gift of usefulness, as well, by providing opportunities for volunteering and connection with fellow refugees.
Raad, newly introduced to the Refugee Connections Spokane staff, hopes his turn will come soon. He has a long list of projects he wants to begin to enrich Spokane’s cultural life, to give of his unique talents to a community that has given him his life.

Former refugees and the people who help connect us all

Worst of all, perhaps, for Raad, 60, an Iraqi refugee living in Spokane, are his feelings of utter uselessness when he has always given so much to the world. An artist, poet, and filmmaker, the scion of a well-known family, he was a respected teacher in his native Baghdad, and, as a refugee in Syria for three years, an art therapist who helped children process the horrors of war.His hands move constantly as he speaks, sometimes with tears in his eyes, of all he would like to give to Spokane, but cannot make the right connections, somehow. Sharing a small apartment, he has no room to make the glass and plastic art for which he was known until terrorists blew up his studio in an attempt on his life.After emigrating to Syria, he lived in Damascus, working as activities director at a community center and teaching art to refugee children who drew bombs and blood, gruesome depictions of war and terror. One boy made images of beheadings, over and over. Raad asked him why, and he said he’d seen his own father murdered.”I changed those children,” Raad says, adding that many of the children called him “godfather.” “I am proud of what I did for refugees, what I did for kids.”In Spokane since 2012, Raad is one of an estimated 30,000 refugees living in the city,  

said Stephanie Zimmerman of the non-profit Refugee Connections Spokane, an organization working to help refugees assimilate and thrive in the community.The population comprises men, women, elderly, and children running for their lives-literally-from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Congo, Burma, Nepal, Russia, Ukraine, and other countries around the world.The list soon may expand to include Syria, since Barack Obama this week agreed to accept 10,000 refugees from that country, where bloody civil war has driven hundreds of thousands into Europe in a spectacular, devastating mass migration.For those who settle here, Spokane is the final stop in a journey typically long and fraught with danger. News reports have documented the drownings of groups trying to leave their countries by boat, and, recently, of refugees found dead in the back of a truck in Austria. Those who make it this far count themselves fortunate to be alive.Resettled by the organization World Relief via a contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, refugees find themselves in an often-bewildering new world when they arrive, says Anna Bondarenko, outreach coordinator for Refugee Connections Spokane and a former employee at World Relief.After greeting them at Spokane International Airport, World Relief caseworkers help refugees find and set up a home, connect them with the state Department of Social and Health Services for benefits, help them find medical care, and help them find work. Some of the city’s biggest refugee employers include the Davenport Hotel, the Panda Express fast-food chain, and building manufacturing company Scafco, Bondarenko says.

Among their first-and most formidable-hurdles is learning English, which they must do to receive federal aid, Bondarenko says. But another challenge they face isn’t so easily remedied: Spokane’s notorious lack of ethnic diversity, and the biases that can result.

Too often, Zimmerman says, residents here view refugees with the same suspicious eye with which they see undocumented immigrants: as criminals and takers. In fact, though, many who come are here before they had no other recourse except death-and, like Raad, they want to give something back to the community.

Erick was 7 when his family, members of the Tutsi tribe, fled their village in Burundi, near Rwanda, in the wake of mass killings by Hutu tribesmen.

The parents and six children had no time to plan their escape, but simply walked away, leaving their possessions behind, fearing for their lives with every step. They marched for weeks, sharing food with others in the larger group, sleeping wherever they could, stripping the leaves from trees and trying to eat them, and, after crossing into neighboring Tanzania, knocking on doors to beg for food and shelter.

They lived this way for a year, said Erick, now 29, until the United Nations opened a refugee camp in Tanzania. Getting fed regularly and having a tent for shelter came as a great relief, but they yearned for home. Their one attempt, in 1997, to return to their village did not succeed.

“It was crazy. They were killing people,” Erick says. The family turned around and walked back to the camp, where it remained until 2004-a total of 10 years.

Although better than living in constant fear, life in the refugee camp was very difficult, Erick says. In Burundi, he said, his family grew rice, casava, bananas and other foods in the rich, fertile soil.

“We didn’t have to ask if we were going to eat tomorrow,” he says. “We were happy with what we had.”

In the camp, the family built a hut on a plot of land too tiny even for a garden, he said. Unable to grow their food, they relied on handouts of cooking oil, beans, flour, and other staples.

“In refugee camp, I was not happy,” Erick says. “Refugee camp was not a good time.”

Now, Erick is on the giving end of the refugee chain, translating and interpreting, helping new arrivals with errands in his car, and, this year, working in Refugee Connections Spokane’s newest program, the Refugees’ Harvest Project, in which 50 refugees from various backgrounds harvest donated produce and distribute it free of charge at the East Central Community Center.”It’s their way of saying, ‘Thank you, Spokane, for accepting us. Thank you for allowing us to be here. Now we’re going to give back to you,” Bondarenko says.The program embodies “what a civilized compassionate society does,” says Sharon Smith, co-trustee of the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, which endowed the Harvest Project with a $4,000 grant this year. The philanthropic fund aims to alleviate poverty, among other causes.Smith also lauded the program for increasing awareness of Spokane’s refugee 
community, which is largely invisible or misunderstood, she says. With the Spokane area expected to grow nearly 20 percent by 2030, diversity is certain to increase in our community, and tolerance will need to grow, as well, she adds.“We need to start better understanding other people and adjusting to accommodate them if we are to live in wellness and prosperity together,” Smith says.Other Refugee Connections Spokane programs include:
  • Elder Outreach Project, connecting elders to one another and to services
  • Patient Passport Project, helping refugees document their medical conditions and histories in a “passport”-style brochure to carry with them, and
  • American Law and Justice Workshop, helping them to understand the U.S. criminal justice system and their own rights and responsibilities.

For Erick, Refugee Connections Spokane has done much more than help him navigate this strange land: it has given him the gift of usefulness, as well, by providing opportunities for volunteering and connection with fellow refugees.”This is what I am looking for,” he thought when he began working with the Harvest Project.”I like for people to be happy,” he says. “I’m very happy to be in the USA.”Raad, newly introduced to the Refugee Connections Spokane staff, hopes his turn will come soon. He has a long list of projects he wants to begin to enrich Spokane’s cultural life, to give of his unique talents to a community that has given him his life.”I want to meet people,” Raad says, and describes the films he wants to make, the writing workshops he wants to give, the speeches he could deliver, the Arabic-language TV station he wants to start, with artist interviews, comedic films (“In my country, we like to laugh”) and even a cooking show.”I want to make activities,” he says, his hands moving, moving. “This is not right.”

This article was commissioned by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund and written by Sherry Jones. Sherry Jones is an author and freelance writer living in Spokane. Contact her at
World Relief didn’t return our call for participation in this story, however, you may learn more about their role in our local refugee settlement process in a Spokesman-Review article that ran online Friday.



Reproductive health care under attack in Pullman, literally

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund important update

An early-morning fire at Planned Parenthood in Pullman Friday was arson, according to the Pullman Fire Department and the Inland Northwest Joint Terrorism Task Force (Spokesman-Review). The investigation is ongoing.Most Planned Parenthood health clinics have seen increased aggression since heavily debunked videos were released by an anti-choice group recently. A well-funded and organized anti-reproductive health effort has been particularly aggressive in Pullman for some time but it has ratcheted up recently.
The clinic has been targeted in spite of the fact that Planned Parenthood Pullman doesn’t perform abortions.
What was being aggressively protested and has now been physically destroyed is a quality reproductive health clinic that treats primarily low income men and women.
Anti-choice extremists have ginned up a hateful and destructive movement against reproductive health care that has gone too far in our own backyard. We hear over and over from people how they know these radical groups are wrong but they “don’t want to get involved” or it’s too “controversial”.
If you are not speaking out against these radical groups and their aggressive, misleading and violent rhetoric and actions, you are condoning violence. Leaders don’t let violence that affects our community’s health go unchallenged.
The good news! Pullman photo
The Pullman clinic operated out of a tent in the parking lot yesterday providing whatever care they can under those conditions. They are working now to find temporary facilities while they rebuild.
The Fund has a primary mission of reducing poverty by ensuring vulnerable people in the Inland Northwest have access to tools and resources to achieve sustainable well-being. Crucial to the primary care of poor and low income persons is access to all aspects of family planning.

We are more resolved than ever to stand with Planned Parenthood and ensure they continue
providing affordable, quality health care in the Inland Northwest.

Two primary factors contribute to women achieving their dreams: reproductive health care/family planning and education. We should be doing whatever we can to ensure women have the opportunities to achieve their dreams.
Best wishes,
Sharon & Don
Take Action
If you know of space that could temporarily accommodate these important health care services in Pullman, please let us know or email Tanya at Planned Parenthood.
If you want to learn more, meet with a Planned Parenthood team member or tour a clinic, let us know so we can help.

For updates, join the Fund and Planned Parenthood on Facebook.
Women and men’s reproductive health needs your  participation more than ever!
Typical health offerings
Vary by clinic
Birth control Annual check-up UTI diagnosis & treatment
Emergency contraception Pap test Adoption referral
STD testing & treatment Abnormal pap management Abortion – medical/surgical
Pregnancy testing Colposcopy Sports physicals
HPV vaccination Breast exam HIV testing & treatment referral
Essure – permanent birth control for women PrEP – Pre-exposure prophylaxix

Checkups for reproductive or sexual health problems Colon, prostate and testicular cancer screenings
Jock itch exam & treatment Infertility screening & referral
STD testing & treatment UTI testing & treatment
Condoms & vasectomy General health care & routine physical
Erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation including education, exams, treatment & referral  
The Statistics 
In 2014, 67% of patients seen at local Planned Parenthood Health Centers reported income below 100% of the Federal Poverty Level.
  • Chlamydia rates in Spokane County are higher than WA State rates: 424.4 per 100,000 cases in Spokane County compared to the state rate of 363.4.
  • Rates of gonorrhea were higher in Spokane County, with a rate of 68.5 per 100,000 cases compared to the statewide rate of 63.8.
  • 48% of pregnancies in Washington are unplanned, and in 2010 public spending to cover unplanned pregnancies totaled an estimated $468 million, according to The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
  • The vast majority of HIV cases – over 92% – were sexually transmitted. Better education about prevention and testing could save lives, especially since a 2014 survey by the MAC AIDS Fund found that 33% of American teens do not realize that HIV can be sexually transmitted.
Planned Parenthood’s efforts in the Inland Northwest
In the Health Center:
The health centers in the Inland Northwest not only provide exceptional reproductive and complementary health services, they also provide face-to-face personalized education to each patient seen. Depending on the purpose of the visit, patients can receive pregnancy and STI information and prevention methods, pregnancy options counseling, health and nutrition information, an assessment of health risks based on family history and birth control information and options. Each patient walks out the door equipped with options, accurate information and the knowledge needed to make healthy decisions.
In the Community:
Planned Parenthood Community Organizers table at community events such as Earth Day Spokane, PRIDE Spokane, Unity in the Community, Spokane AIDS Walk, and GYT at EWU and WSU. At these events, they provide our community with health care resources and engage in important conversations about the legislation that impact access to comprehensive reproductive health services.
In the Classroom:
We don’t believe it’s enough to simply provide teens with dry facts – we also want to create an environment where teens can truly engage in learning about their health in a way that’s most comfortable for them. And for many teens, that means getting information from their peers. That’s where our Teen Council program comes in, training local high school students to be peer educators on the subjects of sexual health and healthy relationships. The council meets weekly with one of our Youth Development Specialists to learn about sexual health topics and receive training in group facilitation and presentation. They then take this information into the classroom, community events, and one-on-one interactions with their peers, helping spread accurate information about sexual health in an approachable and effective way.
Honest Education Makes a Difference! Did you know…
  • Comprehensive sex ed leads to a 60% reduction in unprotected sex among teens.Teens who receive comprehensive sex ed are 50% less likely to experience pregnancy than those in abstinence-only programs.
  • Friends of peer educators are also much more likely to use contraception. In general, teens who believe their peers are using condoms are twice as likely to use them.
  • Peer educators are an important supplement to comprehensive sex ed – studies show they can be perceived as more credible than adult educators because they communicate in a more relatable way.
  • Comprehensive sex ed is more effective in delaying sexual activity than abstinence-only programs – studies have found that 40% of students receiving comprehensive sex ed delay having sex, and 30% reduce the frequency of sex or return to abstinence.


The river is low – what you need to know!

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund endorsed campaign!

H2KNOW: Our Spokane River is Low

For tips on conserving water around your home see

H2KnowLaunch copyH2KNOW Campaign co-organizer John Osborn, M.D. shared today that water levels in the Spokane River continue to drop near all-time lows.  Meanwhile, City of Spokane water use is at an all-time high:  3.8 billion gallons in July, or 122 million gallons of water each day.  “Our Spokane River is in trouble, and we must conserve water.  We must use water wisely to help our struggling River and the wildlife, outdoor recreation, and businesses that depend on our River.”

The new “H2KNOW: Our Spokane River is Low” campaign to drive home the Aquifer – River connection and desperate need to conserve water made a big splash this past week by focusing on the record low-flow in our River.  Billboards can be seen around town and our local news media covered the campaign kickoff.  Here’s a roundup of recent river coverage:

August 6 – Spokesman-Review published this cover-page piece, and S-R’s Rich Lander’s encouragement.  That same day Allison Flicker and crew at KHQ gave us great visuals and tips.  And, Steve Jackson from Spokane Public Radio spoke about our River on radio.

August 8 – The Spokesman-Review, Editorial Board chimed in, and published a thoughtful and compelling opinion piece by John Roskelley and Carolyn Leon.  And, KXLY helped viewers know about the flow on August 9.

“Once again, science and simple measurements are busting the myth that we have an endless water supply.  We can’t continue to stick our heads in dry sand.  People and policies must evolve and adapt.  This drought is a wake-up call for the deepening crisis for our rivers and salmon brought on by climate change.  We must all do our part to protect these waters that we so treasure here in the Inland Northwest,” said Carolyn Leon, co-chair of Sierra Club’s Upper Columbia River Group.

For tips on conserving water around your home see

And, if you’d like, you can Like and follow the H2KNOW on facebook at:

Contact:  Jim Hedemark 206.790.6561


Getting sick shouldn’t risk economic security or safety!

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund supported policy!


We hope you will read our detailed letter below to Spokane City Council Members about Spokane’s Earned Sick and Safe Leave policy.
PLEASE write the City Council with your comments. 
This Tuesday, July 21, is another major deadline so time is of the essence. Please weigh in today!

July 19, 2015

Dear Spokane City Council Members:

We appreciate the opportunity to write to you today about Spokane’s Sick and Safe Leave policy.

The Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund is a 501c3 charitable foundation working to ensure vulnerable people in our community have the tools and resources they need to achieve and maintain sustainable well being. Last year the Fund commissioned a robust, objective, third party survey to help us understand the needs of the people in Spokane County and their priorities. (Detailed results are attached).

— 87% of Spokane County residents (90% of Spokane City residents) believe working people who are sick or have sick children should be able to take paid sick days. The only thing that polled higher was equal educational opportunities at 91%. It was overwhelmingly supported by every demographic.

— 89% of Spokane County residents believe in making sure people can take a day off of work without penalty if they are sick with only 9% opposing. These results polled even higher than the need for criminal justice reforms that was next highest with 79% support.

The people of Spokane overwhelmingly want and need to be able to earn paid sick leave.

Everyone gets sick and everyone deserves time to get better without risking their economic security or safety. Currently about 40,000 workers in Spokane lack earned sick and safe leave, risking the health and safety of themselves, the public, and their families. Access to Earned Sick and Safe Pay reduces employee turnover, protects the safety of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, increases employee morale and productivity, and ensures workers don’t spread illnesses.

We were grateful for Thursday’s open house to get a full picture of the process used to form the policy, what has ensued since and what supporters and opponents have to say about its components.

During the meeting it was conveyed that the citizen task force team comprised of a wide variety of stakeholders both opposing and supporting the policy recommended employees earn one hour per 30 hours worked but the draft policy is set at one per 40 hours worked.

— This difference means it will take a full time worker eight months to earn 40 hours versus six months. This is even more pronounced when looking at part time workers who are often in more vulnerable and precarious situations.

We urge you to allow all workers to earn one hour per 30 hours worked.

Apparently the task force team also discussed an employee’s ability to earn as much as 72 hours per year of sick leave but the draft policy is set with the ability to earn only 40 with the potential to use those 40.

— 40 hours may simply not be enough especially for households with children. The minimum living wage in Spokane for one adult with two children is $52,333 [1]. The median income is $49,233 [2] and while unemployment rates have stabilized, median income has been falling here over the past several years. Our median income not even meeting a basic living wage indicates there are wide segments of our workers who are in very vulnerable living situations.

— While studies show average sick days taken are three per year per worker, but we all know people don’t get sick in averages. Some people need more and some use none and it stands to reason that the situation causing the longer leave is already straining the family in other ways financially and emotionally.

We urge you to revise the policy to allow an employee to earn and use 64 hours per year. At 64 hours, full time workers would continue earning sick pay nearly all year and if they don’t use it, the carryover will be available to the maximum the policy allows.

And last but certainly not least is the topic of exemptions. How do you pick and choose who sends their child to school sick, who can’t get out of a life-threatening situation at home, who can’t pay their bills, or who loses their job because they or a family member are sick? Not even one worker can be exempted from this policy.

— Allowing any businesses (not covered by collective bargaining agreements) to be exempt creates a class system of Spokane workers. Our community is already plagued with separatism with poverty neighborhoods of predominantly working people surrounded by concentrations of wealth just a mile away to the north and south. We’ve seen through past Spokane Regional Health District analysis the major differences the people in the poorer neighborhoods have in health care, prenatal care, and other factors critical to sustainable well being. We cannot exacerbate these disparities.

We do not see this through just the foundation lens but through a lifetime of managing small and large businesses with narrow profit margins and workers at every pay level. We have sat at the table defending paid sick leave and health care for employees against strong opposition. In every case the numbers were there to support the policies but the employer priorities and where money was spent was the question. It was a matter of priorities and a commitment to the people we employed and customers we served. Employers can look for ways to make this work or fight it at every turn. We speak from experience that it can work.

Furthermore, exempting business based on size is completely arbitrary. No evidence exists to show that workers in smaller businesses are less vulnerable or these businesses are less capable financially. And as for the implementation and management, many smaller companies use outside payroll processing firms that are well versed in these practices. Others that process payroll in-house are already performing similar and likely even more complicated calculations like employment taxes. We have full confidence that Spokane businesses are capable of managing this policy, but for those that need additional help, possibly Spokane business organizations could see providing assistance like workshops as a great value-added benefit to their dues-paying members. The Fund would possibly be able to assist in some way as well and let us know how we can help to ensure this policy is successful.

Relative to the support and enforcement side, it is once again a matter of priorities. The city budget process underway simply needs to allocate the necessary resources for start-up and ongoing support. Most of the smart and dedicated people developing the city’s budget have sick leave and other benefits and we are confident they will work to help ensure their neighbors have it as well. And we again speak from experience when we say the vast majority of workers will not abuse the system if the working environment is one of mutual respect and conducive to success for all parties.

As for the threats from businesses that they will move to other areas, there is once again no evidence to support this. Washington State and our region have experienced minimum wage and other increases over the past decades and has only flourished. Businesses that embrace their responsibility to our community’s wellness will benefit from increased worker loyalties and community health.

All workers deserve to earn paid sick and safe leave and should not be penalized by working for a certain size company. We must support the vast numbers of workers in our community to whom missing one day of work can make a difference between hanging on and falling apart whether they work for a large or small company.

We have heard the question asked as to why government should be involved in this in the first place. The answer is simple: because government is the primary protector of our safety, rights and liberties. We believe in capitalism but companies exist to make a profit. Workers are necessary for companies to achieve their goals and critical to their success. We are grateful that our local government is working to help us all balance the needs of companies and our residents to achieve sustainable well being in our community.

Best wishes,

Sharon Smith                                                 Don Barbieri
Trustee                                                            Trustee


Win/Win and the Fund partner for the 2nd year to help people build power in Spokane!

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund sponsored program!

Civic Engagement & Organizing Training:
Building Political Power in Communities of Color and other Underrepresented Communities

Wednesday, July 22 from 9am-4:30pm
At the Philanthropy Center
(1020 W. Riverside, Spokane)

Click here to register. Registration deadline July 17.

  • Would you like your organization’s issues to gain the attention of voters & lawmakers?
  • Does your organization exercise the power of its members during elections?
  • Does your organization have the tools to craft a plan to register, engage, and mobilize voters – including your own members – to effectively change public policy?
  • Do you know how your non-profit 501(c)(3) can engage the community and influence elections?
  • Would you like to build more support and capacity for your campaign efforts?
  • Would you like more volunteers and more leaders?
  • How can we collaborate better together?

These are some of the issues we’ll explore at the Civic Engagement & Organizing Training!

Participants will increase their knowledge of civic engagement strategies, explore ways to engage volunteers in civic engagement and organizing work to increase the capacity of our organizations, and gain a greater understanding of the relationship between 501(c)(3)s, (c)(4)s & PACs. This training will lay the groundwork for crafting your own civic engagement plans.

Registration Fee Including Lunch: $10 for Greater Spokane Progress members, $15 for non-members. Scholarships are available on a case-by-case basis (email: Anne Martin at

Space is limited. If you wish to bring more than 2 people per organization, please contact Anne.

To register, go to:

Please bring your registration fee to the training. We accept checks (made out to the Washington Progress Fund), cash, or credit cards.

For more information, contact: Anne Martin, Greater Spokane Progress at or 509-624-5657

The workshop is sponsored by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund and organized by the Greater Spokane Progress Leadership Development and Training Committee.

The Trainer

The lead trainer will be Lisa Horowitz of StrategyWorks NW, LLC. StrategyWorks NW is a consulting firm based in Portland, Oregon that provides clients a range of services aimed at advancing policies and strengthening organizations. Lisa has been organizing, advocating and advancing social change at the state and national levels professionally since 1987 (her volunteer organizing work goes back much longer). She brings her expertise and energy to a range of trainings she has developed to help strengthen the capacity and effectiveness of progressive organizations. She serves as a coach and mentor to executive directors and organizers.She works with board members and staff to build stronger organizations.  For more information on Lisa or the firm, visit


WSU gets $100,000 to promote healthy neighborhood homes

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund sponsored project!


By Terren Roloff, WSU Spokane

SPOKANE, Wash. – Healthy housing is the focus of a novel collaboration between Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane and its community neighbors, funded by a $100,000 grant from the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund.

The “University-Community Partnership to Reduce Children’s Health Disparities” will foster student engagement, innovative practice at Spokane’s Teaching Health Clinic and research addressing healthy housing.

The project is inspired by WSU College of Nursing professor Patricia Butterfield’s research on substandard housing and environmental health risks.


The teaching health clinic is expected to be completed in early 2016.

“Our previous research, conducted in Montana and western Washington, reduced health risks to children by focusing on their living conditions and homes,” she said. “Now that work will take root in Spokane neighborhoods.”

Butterfield and WSU Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown will co-direct the effort.

“It makes sense that students and faculty on our health sciences campus listen to residents’ health concerns and then work to address them,” Brown said. “We are grateful to the Smith-Barbieri Fund for this opportunity.”

“WSU Spokane has a student population of future health care professionals already oriented toward helping others and engaging in outreach activities,” said Sharon Smith, co-trustee of the fund. “The fund is excited to help them grow their excellent track record of commitment to the community.”

The Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund is a 501(c)3 charitable foundation that focuses on eradicating poverty, expanding affordable housing and other quality of life issues in the Inland Northwest.

Specifically, the partnership will:

• Support community-based and epidemiologic research aimed at reducing housing-related health disparities in Spokane children.

• Create an inter-professional community of WSU Spokane health sciences students and faculty who are trained and interested in focusing on housing-related needs and health inequities to work with the neighborhood.

• Amplify the positive societal impact of WSU Spokane by extending the university’s reach into local neighborhoods.

• Lay the foundation for strong connections between clinical services and local residents’ needs.

An interdisciplinary student organization, the Health Equity Circle, is a key component of WSU Spokane’s strategy to build a relationship with its neighbors and learn about their needs and how best to initiate transformation. The students represent WSU and Eastern Washington University programs in a variety of health sciences.

University participants will work with neighborhood organizations, schools, the Spokane Regional Health District,and the Global to Local program, which already works with WSU and other partners to demonstrate the effectiveness of global health strategies to improve the health status of underserved local communities.


Matching challenge completed for Women & Children’s Free Restaurant!

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund sponsored project!

The Fund just fulfilled its $50,000 matching funds pledge to Women & Children’s Free Restaurant & Community Kitchen! More than 30 donors giving $25 to $15,000 each participated in the match challenge resulting in a total of $100,000 to WCFR. This was the Fund’s second $50,000 donation to WCFR and fulfills our commitment just in time for them to start serving at the new location on June 2nd! Woohoo!


A Well Timed Gift for Mothers and their Children

(Spokane, Washington) – May 8, 2015 – Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, A Charitable Foundation has a special gift for mothers and children in Spokane. They contributed $50,000 to Women & Children’s Free Restaurant & Community Kitchen (WCFR) as the result of their match challenge issued to the community in support of WCFR’s capital campaign for a new home.

Focused on quality of life and attaining full future potential in the Inland Northwest, the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund saw the significance of investing in an organization that provides healthy meals for women and children. A child will struggle at school if they are hungry. They need healthy nourishment to learn and break the cycle of poverty.

Over the last 26 years, WCFR has operated out of the basement of a 100-year old church. They have grown from serving 20 women a week to a fully licensed restaurant that serves 45,000 meals annually in-house and through outreach meal partners. WCFR purchased the former Center Pointe building at 1408 North Washington and continues to seek capital campaign funding to complete the necessary renovations. A previous $50,000 Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund grant helped purchase the new facility.

“We are so pleased to see the community rise to our match challenge in support of this important organization,” said Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund co-Trustee Sharon Smith. “We support WCFR because they have a 26-year track record of providing a basic human need in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the state.”

“We are truly grateful to have received this generous matching donation.” said WCFR executive director Lisa Diffley. “The timing is critical as we wrap up the first phase of our building renovations. We’re very excited to welcome women and children for their first meal in our new home on June 2.”


Smith-Barbieri Fund partners with NAACP on Moral Mondays Northwest

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund sponsored initiative!

Check out this super cool new community forum from Spokane NAACP!

Moral Mondays Northwest will expand diverse networking on Spokane City TV and collaborate with key stakeholders in five game-changer issues of justice: education, criminal justice, health, economic sustainability, and political representation.

Moral Mondays Northwest will spark the first day of each week with a proactive focus on justice issues rather than returning to the workweek with a business as usual attitude. It will appeal to Spokane’s sense of ethics and highlight social justice as the moral imperative for the 21st century. 

Follow them @SpokaneNAACP on Twitter and Instagram
Check them out on Facebook
Join the kick-off event: Spokane City Hall, May 11th, at 4:30-5:30
The Fund is honored to be the Title Sponsor of Moral Mondays Northwest.Now is the right time to do the right thing. Start each week with a fresh focus on justice.

Check out this example of what we’ll see from Moral Mondays Northwest!



Smith-Barbieri Fund Awards $20,000 to OneAmerica

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund sponsored program!

The Target: Assist Spokane’s undocumented immigrants with naturalization, administrative relief, and civic engagement through OneAmerica, Washington’s largest immigrant advocacy organization. Primary goals include helping these residents to live in dignity and earn a fair wage for their work.

When Martin Negrete was 12, his father took him to work at his manual-labor job. He wanted his son to see what an undocumented immigrant’s life is really like, in hopes that the boy would choose a better path for himself. The tactic worked.

What Negrete experienced: Seventeen-hour workdays in the hot sun with little to no water. Wages dependent on the number of containers filled, making for a frantic, constant pace of work always in pursuit of one more dollar — and at day’s end, pay amounting to less than minimum wage.

“We worked like dogs,” he says, “and were treated like animals.”

Today, Negrete, 21, is a student at Eastern Washington University, living the dream of college his parents worked so hard and suffered so much to give him, and an activist working for immigrants’ rights.

Among the organizations he supports: the nonprofit OneAmerica, Washington’s largest immigrant advocacy organization helping immigrants lift themselves out of poverty, agitating for legal reforms, and registering and encouraging eligible immigrants to vote. The Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, A Charitable Foundation, recently awarded a $20,000 grant to OneAmerica so it could expand its work in Spokane and eastern Washington.

“We can talk about all kinds of things we need to do for immigration—protect our borders better, provide a path to citizenship, reform our processes” fund co-Trustee Sharon Smith says. “But at the very minimum, we should be ensuring that people in our community are not being exploited, and that immigrants know all opportunities available to them under the law.”

Immigrant men, women, and children are vulnerable to exploitation in Spokane and other communities in eastern Washington, OneAmerica executive director Rich Stolz says, forced to work long hours for little pay under substandard conditions—against the law, but rarely reported. By coming forward, a worker risks being deported, wrested from children, spouses, parents, or other family members, to a life that can be much worse.

“Undocumented immigrant workers live in constant fear of being torn from their families,” Stolz says. Anxiety can affect their children, as well, hampering their performance in school, Negrete adds.

How many undocumented immigrants call Spokane “home” isn’t known. Statewide, the number could be as high as 150,000, Stolz says. As many as 77,000 additional individuals may qualify for administrative relief under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Legal Permanent Residents (DAPA), a measure preventing parents of legal permanent residents from being deported. The measure, signed in November 2014, is on hold because of legal challenges. An estimated 8,000 residents of Spokane and surrounding communities are eligible for naturalization but for various reasons—lack of access to legal services, language barriers, low incomes—have not become citizens. It is estimated that a similar number of individuals may be eligible for administrative relief.

Meanwhile, Spokane’s immigrant population continues to grow. For those eligible to become citizens, if they naturalize their incomes may increase by 11 to 14 percent. State, federal, and municipal coffers swell with their tax dollars. They can achieve sustainable well-being. Many, especially those without legal status, struggle to survive.

Administrative relief, should it pass muster in the courts, should have a similar effect.  It boils down to protecting immigrants from exploitive conditions, and providing them with opportunities to step forward and more fully contribute to their communities, have more choices with regard to employment, and provide for their families.

Becoming a citizen offers other benefits, too, including a sense of security and permanence. That security, Negrete says, frees immigrants to spend more of their income, boosting the economy.

The Smith-Barbieri Fund grant will help OneAmerica to assist Spokane’s undocumented immigrants with naturalization, administrative relief, and civic engagement. Helping them to live in dignity and to earn a fair wage for their work are primary goals, Stolz says.

By working with such potential organizations as World Relief and the Spokane Alliance and partnering with supportive business owners, OneAmerica hopes to stop employers and landlords in the Spokane area from taking advantage of undocumented immigrants—a situation that many have likened to slavery or indentured servitude.

“The conditions can be horrific,” Smith says. “We should try to do something to at least allow immigrants an opportunity to work and to feed their families. Their working conditions should be held to the same standards as everyone else’s. And the playing field for businesses should be the same.”

Adds Stolz: “This grant creates a huge opportunity for thousands of eastern Washington residents and their families to have a new lease on life.”

Spokane Flyer 20150425 - ENGLISH

Spokane Flyer 20150425- SPANISH


Racial and civic justice forum in Spokane April 14!

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund partner event!

Whitworth racial and civic justice event 20150414

TIME Mag Article 10.27.14


“Race: The Power of an Illusion”

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund partner event!

Win/Win Network & Greater Spokane Progress


“Race:  The Power of an Illusion”

Presented by Glenn Harris, President of the Center for Social Inclusion

A Nationally Recognized Racial Equity Training

Coming to Spokane

March 12, 2015


Race: The Power of an Illusion workshops have been conducted in cities across the United States. For the first time, this powerful training is coming to Spokane.

Greater Spokane Progress is hosting this training at a reduced rate to give non-profit and government leaders a chance to attend.

Based on the acclaimed PBS documentaryRace: The Power of an Illusion, this training is designed to develop a collective understanding of institutional racism vs. individual racism, define racial equity, and discuss the steps organizations and institutions can take to achieve racial equity.

Workshop Specifics

Date: Thursday March 12

Time: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Location: Spokane. Exact site TBA.

Cost: $25. Discounts offered to Greater Spokane Progress members or large groups. Scholarships are available.

Space Limited: Workshop limited to 100 people.

Registration Details coming soon!



Eastern Washington University Women’s & Gender Studies

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Sponsored Program!

The Women’s and Gender Studies Program (WGS) and the Women’s Studies Center (WSC) organized the first Activist-in-Residence (AiR) Program in the 2013 academic year on the campus of Eastern Washington University.  AiR supports a local or regional activist to work with WGS students and faculty, the Women’s Studies Center, and numerous other student groups, programs, and units throughout the University for one quarter each year. During one quarter, the Activist-in-Residence provides at least 8-10 activities, such as guest lectures or class presentations, presentations for the entire University community, workshops, activist projects, and other events. This unique combination of different disciplines from academia, different levels of students (undergraduate/graduate), community based organizations, and an expert Activist-in-Residence provides a rich experience for all involved. Check out upcoming AiR activities!

AiR PDF Flyer 2015

Spokane Alliance multi-year grant goes to work in a big way!

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Sponsored Effort!The Fund has a multi-year commitment to help fund Spokane Alliance’s Civic Leadership & Social Justice Development. The Spokane Alliance. a non-profit member organization of every day people bringing power to the people in government and lawmaking, the economy, public safety, the environment, social justice, and a host of other arenas, is engaged in a three year campaign to identify and create a shared vision for the future of the city and state, and build the future we want by changing policies and rules, and funding the programs and services that we need the most.From the Spokane Alliance newsletter …Jobs Ordinance Pass! 120 Spokane Alliance Members at City Council MeetingWhat a night last night!  We have a lot to celebrate!We passed all three city-wide Quality Jobs Ordinances that we’ve been working on for the past year.Because we are organized, our voice is strong.  Last night, we turned out over 120 Spokane Alliance members to the Spokane City Council meeting in support of our Quality Job package.Councilman Allen said it was the biggest crowd that they’ve had all year.Twenty-six Alliance leaders testified in support.  We heard from apprentices, journeymen, pastors, lay leaders, medical students, grandparents and college professors – among others – how important these policies are as a form of higher education, building a career and supporting and strengthening the local movement.
Jobs Ordinance Turnout City Hall 2

120 Spokane Alliance Leaders Turned Out to the City Council Meeting – the “biggest crowd they’ve had all year,” according to Councilman Allen.

We were able to win because we were organized with a clear focus.  We were able to win because last October we got public commitments of support from city council candidates on these issues.  We were able to win because we were persistent, consistent and strategic with our campaign.  We were able to win because we built a strong team of Alliance leaders who believed in shared leadership and focusing on our shared-interests for the common good.

This matters.  We are shaping the future of Spokane.

The Quality Job Ordinances create:

  • A $350K threshold for all public works projects to phase in a 15% apprenticeship utilizationwhile creating a grant fund for Community Empowerment Zones for poor performers who do not meet the criteria and fail to obtain a waiver.
  • A funding mechanism to assess the economic benefit of low bid materials over $20K compared to materials purchased locally.
  • A way to award points to local contractors with a history of good performance.

What a way to end the year!!


Center for Justice Women’s Relicensing Program RENEWED!

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Sponsored Event!

100 percent of the 60 participants who signed up for the program successfully attended and completed the program in 2014. The Fund will increase support for 100 participants in 2015. There are over 28,000 suspended licenses in Eastern WA but there is a tremendous ripple effect of even a small number of people getting their license reinstated. It’s a start!

While conducting the classes, Center for Justice found that almost 95 percent of the women who participated have experienced the following barriers: unemployment, domestic violence, homelessness, incarceration/criminal history, drug addictions, and no health care coverage.cent of the participants who signed up for the program have successfully attended and completed the program.

Some participant testimonials of the effects of license reinstatement:

It’s important to me to get my license back to: go to work when I get a job, to drop off my kids at school, and doctor appointments. It would mean so much to me to get my license back, so many feelings of joy and happiness, and thankfulness and blessing, freedom. It would be an open window for me! Thanks.

It is important for my license to be reinstated because I have two jobs- when one ends, the other one starts. I have shared custody of my kids and I would like to be able to pick them up, take them places, and do things with them that sometimes require traveling at times the bus doesn’t allow. Getting my license back is a big part of regaining my independence and confidence.

Mostly I need my license to get a job. But, I also feel that having it makes me a contributor to society in a positive way, the way I used to be. It also will show my family and friends that I am taking positive steps to better my life and make me feel better about myself, which in turn, will help me to finally conquer my addiction problem for good.

I have three children and I am currently attending school. I own a car but I will not drive without having my license reinstated. So, I depend on the bus or my father to drive my children and me in my car. I moved over to Spokane in August of last year from Seattle. The father of my children and I were together for about 12 years; the last few years he became very mentally and physically abusive. Just prior to the beginning of the abused, I had cashed out my annuity to start up a tow company. We were offered two fully equipped tow trucks at the price of $12,000 and a sub-lease contract which would put us in police rotation. Instead of starting up as planned, he withdrew all of the money and became seriously abusive.

To obtain my license is a huge step toward getting my life back. I attempted to pay it off, but the father of my children caused my checks to bounce, although I was able to repay some of those checks that bounced. I need to rise above the rock I allowed myself to get under. I will be able to take my children to their doctor and dentist appointments. I can drive myself to school and mental health appointments. I can become INDEPENDENT!


Smart Justice Spokane Community Symposium – THE OUTCOME!

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Sponsored Event!

294 Participants from 114 organizations, agencies, and county and city departments
2 Keynote Speakers
14 Workshops shared information, tools, and skills
10 plenary speakers
Grant Elementary Drummers and Dancers

Outcomes & Next Steps

SmartJusticeSymposiumCampaign Connection: In workshops, participants signed up for Smart Justice Spokane workgroups on related topics. Our Ban the Box workgroup has already welcomed new participants who’ve added their own knowledge to our power mapping and organizing! The SJS Executive Committee will form new workgroups based on our 2015 action plan and engage those who have already indicated an interest in that topic or strategy.

Campaign Connection: In workshops, participants signed up for Smart Justice Spokane workgroups on related topics. Our Ban the Box workgroup has already welcomed new participants who’ve added their own knowledge to our power mapping and organizing! The SJS Executive Committee will form new workgroups based on our 2015 action plan and engage those who have already indicated an interest in that topic or strategy.

Collaboration with Spokane Regional Law & Justice Council: The momentum and clear demonstration of community support at the Symposium for smart justice will propel and power our participation and advocacy to collaborate with the Spokane Regional Law and Justice Council and its subcommittees.


In WA state we spend nearly $10,000 per student to educate and nearly $50,000 per inmate to incarcerate. [1]

To find real solutions in our community, a broad, diverse coalition of more than 30 organizations, community members, and criminal justice professionals came together to reform our expensive, ineffective, and unfair criminal justice system:

“Instead of warehousing an unreasonably high percentage of our community in jail, people who pose no danger to our neighborhoods, we are urging our elected officials to spend our tax dollars on proven programs that are fiscally responsible, reduce crime, and create a strong and healthy community. This is smart justice and Spokane deserves it.”

So join the hundreds of people who have already signed up for this professional, insightful and free symposium at Gonzaga University on Saturday, November 15.

This is why the S-B Fund is sponsoring this symposium: so we get smarter. Oh yeah, and did we mention there’s also food involved?

This is about the future and getting way smarter about justice.

Sharon & Don


Smart Justice Spokane Community Symposium

Saturday, November 15, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (PST)

Gonzaga University School of Law

Parks and Streets on November ballot – PASSED!

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Action!

There’s something on our ballots that’s really cool … improving Riverfront Park and Spokane streets without any tax increase! [1] We voted YES to both and we hope you will, too.

A group of 20 people representing business, academic, environmental and public organizations worked on the park renovation plan including a bunch of community gatherings to get broad input. We’ve studied the plan extensively and can say without hesitation that it’s great. It’s not too much, not too little – the proposed Riverfront Park master plan is just right for right now. Take a look for yourself at

The park attracts 2.2 million visitors a year per a study city-commissioned study recently. When the river’s running high the park is teaming with people from all over the region who’ve come to enjoy it and the park. Riverfront Park is often the tipping point when competing for conventions. It’s the focal point of every major sporting event and festival. When someone comes to do business downtown, they want to visit Riverfront Park and the river running through it and “Anytime anyone comes to the park, they’re going to go through downtown,” said Kris Dinnison, the owner of Boo Radley’s and Atticus who participated in the master planning.But if you’ve been to the park recently you’ve seen that it’s in need of repair and it’s not living up to it’s potential. We’ve been grateful to see river improvements over time and as Ted McGregor, Inlander chief who led the community group, said recently, “[The park plan] brings the river front and center .. For 100 years, we tried to pave it over. Now the river is becoming the focal point.” So it’s as much about the public’s responsibility to maintain our natural resources and public spaces as it is economic factors. In this case, the two are working perfectly together.And last but not least, we can’t underestimate the impact of how something so unique and beautiful as Spokane’s river and Riverfront Park adds to the quality of life for everyone in Spokane. It’s proximity to low income neighborhoods makes it accessible and it’s free to everyone. So please fill in the ovals to APPROVE Parks and Streets!

[1] Spokesman-Review Today, residents pay 34 cents for every $1,000 of assessed property value for voter- approved park taxes, which amounts to about $44 a year on a $130,000 house, the median home value in Spokane. The money currently goes toward paying off two park bonds, including one from 1999, which is set to be paid off at the end of the year. If this year’s bond is approved, residents will pay the same rate – 34 cents per $1,000 of property value – to continue paying on a 2007 pool bond debt and finance $60 million for Riverfront Park. If it doesn’t pass, someone with a $130,000 house would see their property tax rate drop by less than $12 a year.

Rogers High School Debate gets in the ring with Ben Stuckart & Mike Fagan
“Rhetoric in the Ring”

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Sponsored Event!



Rogers Students to Spar with City Hall

“Rhetoric in the Ring” event to benefit school debate program

Dec 2, 2014 // Spokane, WA // – Spokane Council President Ben Stuckart and Council Member Mike Fagan will step into the boxing ring at the Howard Street Gym and debate two Rogers high school seniors in an effort to raise funds and awareness for the school’s speech and debate club.

Stuckart, a former debater at Lewis and Clark High School and Gonzaga University encourages, “There are no time-outs in debate or boxing.  There are many other similarities.  However, there is no sport that will make you more proud of our young people than debate.”

WHO:  Spokane City Council President, Ben Stuckart.  Spokane District 1 City Council Member, Mike Fagan.  Rogers High School Speech and Debate Club members; James Pearson, Zack Bonser, Rylee Cesal, Hana Knowlton, and coach Cara Heath.  Bert Caldwell of the Spokesman-Review.

WHAT:  “Rhetoric in the Ring” is an event to raise funds and awareness for the Rogers High School Speech and Debate Club.  Free and open to the public.  Stuckart will debate high school senior Zack Bonser.  Fagan will debate high school senior James Pearson.  High school juniors, Rylee Cesal and Hana Knowlton will take topics from the audience and deliver impromptu speeches.  Bert Caldwell, opinion editor at the Spokesman-Review will serve as guest “referee.”

WHEN:  Tuesday, December 2nd.  5:30 to 6:30.

WHERE:  The Howard Street Gym.  S. 165 Howard Street, Spokane, WA 99201

WHY:  Once witnessed, the fast-paced action of high school speech and debate captures the interest and imagination of students and adults alike.  This event allows the public to interact with seasoned speech and debate students in a fun and friendly competition format.

“Rhetoric in the Ring” is a volunteer-driven event.  All proceeds directly benefit the Rogers high school speech and debate club.  Sponsors include:  Breaan Beggs, attorney at law; Eymann Allison Hunter Jones, PS; Kauffman & Associates, Inc., and the Smith-Barbieri Charitable Fund.  Over $1,000 has been raised.

# # #


WSU teaching clinic declared secular and not to be restricted by religious doctrine

Bylaws to be revised reflecting the change!

Logo bugSmith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Action!

Excellent news just released!

” … Religious directives that some worried could restrict medical care at a new health clinic preparing to open on the Washington State University Spokane campus are being jettisoned. … “The Spokane Teaching Health Clinic isn’t secular at this time according to the current bylaws, which bind its operations to the Ethical and Religious Directives of the Catholic Church.  The S-B Fund is very supportive of Providence, WSU, and Empire revising the governing documents to ensure that STHC becomes a secular entity that does not restrict health services on the basis of religious doctrine. We await confirmation from the ACLU that the bylaws have been changed accordingly.We sincerely thank Providence for this action and the months of effort by the ACLU’s professional staff. We are additionally extremely grateful for so many of our friends and colleagues who answered the call and engaged by sharing your passions, opinions and experiences on this subject.Onward to great health and education!August 29, 2014

New health clinic on WSU Spokane campus won’t abide by Catholic health directives 


Religious directives that some worried could restrict medical care at a new health clinic preparing to open on the Washington State University Spokane campus are being jettisoned.

The announcement by Providence Health & Services Friday comes two days after the American Civil Liberties Union expressed concern about the clinic’s bylaws and asked Washington State University regents to address the matter at their Sept. 11 meeting.

The Spokane Teaching Health Center is a consortium of Providence, WSU Spokane and the Empire Health Foundation. It’s expected to open on the WSU Spokane campus in 2016, and regents will consider selling $15 million in revenue bonds to build a new facility for the clinic.

It will provide a variety of services and will be staffed by medical students, medical residents and other health care professionals.

The ACLU, in a letter to WSU regents, noted that the bylaws of the Spokane Teaching Health Center say the clinic won’t “perform or permit any medical procedure that offends the moral or ethical values or directives of Providence, including but not limited to the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.” Those directives forbid or restrict reproductive services including birth control, vasectomies, fertility treatment and abortion.

Elaine Couture, regional chief executive at Providence Health Care, said Friday, “The new Spokane Teaching Health Center is a secular (non-religious) organization and… the scope of services provided by the Spokane Teaching Health Center and the secular consortium partners will not be limited” by Catholic health care directives.

A news release added that the partners would “modify the provisions of the (clinic’s) governing documents to reflect that understanding.”

“We’re extremely pleased to hear it,” said Don Barbieri, who with Sharon Smith established a charitable foundation in Spokane that protested the restrictions on the new clinic. The Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund sent out emails to supporters asking them to contact WSU regents, and Barbieri and Smith said they contacted WSU Spokane Chancellor Lisa Brown and WSU President Elson Floyd in recent months to share their concerns.

Said Smith, “We have made sure WSU knew how we felt, but with only two weeks left until the regents meeting, we thought it best to go straight to (the public).”

The nonprofit clinic, announced with fanfare last year, secured $900,000 in federal funding to create six new medical residencies, with the goal of creating dozens more residency positions over the next five years, the three partners said in a description of the project in July. Existing residency training programs in Spokane also would move to the new clinic.

The clinic, to be called the University District Health Center, is expected to provide multi-disciplinary health and dental care to primarily low-income patients.

Officials with WSU Spokane declined comment on the controversy on Wednesday and Thursday, and representatives of the Empire Health Foundation didn’t return calls seeking comment.

The clinic is part of an expansion of graduate medical education opportunities in Eastern Washington. WSU Spokane has announced its intention to try to establish a second medical school here. Currently, medical education in Spokane is provided under the University of Washington School of Medicine’s multi-state WWAMI program.



Urge WSU not to allow religious doctrine to restrict health care & education

Logo bug Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Action!

WSU Spokane is working to develop a teaching clinic with Empire Health Foundation and Providence. The Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund is extremely concerned that under the Spokane Teaching Health Center (STHC) bylaws, STHC is required to abide by the Catholic church’s Ethical and Religious Directives (ERD’s).We recommend you read the ACLU’s full letter (below) to the WSU Board of Regents as well as the ERD’s themselves. This is worth it.The language in the bylaws is extremely clear and some of the most restrictive seen in the state when it comes to religious oversight of a health care system or provider. The bylaws state that STHC “shall not undertake any activity, nor shall it perform or permit any medical procedure, that offends the moral or ethical values or directives of Providence, including but not limited to, the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.”Under the Spokane Teaching Health Center bylaws, STHC is required to abide by the ERDs. These directives forbid or severely restrict many reproductive and end-of-life health services, including contraception, vasectomies, fertility treatments, tubal ligations, abortion, Death with Dignity, and advance directives that are contrary to Catholic teachings. Adherence to the ERDs may also increase the likelihood that LGBT individuals and families will face discrimination in seeking to access health care services consistent with their medical needs.One of the primary missions of the S-B Fund is reducing poverty. Maintaining good health and responsible family planning are critical challenges for and worries of those living in poverty as well as the middle class. The S-B Fund finds it appalling that a medical facility operating in conjunction with a state university is governed by any religious organization. Futhermore, The Washington Constitution explicitly prohibits tax dollars and public property from being used to support religion.We support the teaching clinic but not at the cost of imposing religious directives and oversight on the patients and the resident health care providers it serves. As the letter indicates, it is not too late to address these important problems.Please read the ACLU letter below and join us in contacting the WSU Board of Regents to decline to participate unless all medical training and practices at the STHC will be unrestricted by religious doctrine, including but not limited to the ERDS.Please don’t delay. The next WSU Regents meeting is September 11th. Contact them today!


August 27, 2014

Theodor P. Baseler, Board Member
Scott E. Carson, Board Member
Harold A. Cochran, Board Member
Ryan Durkan, Vice Chair of the Board
Laura M. Jennings, Board Member
Kevin Massimino, Board Member
Constance M. Niva, Past Chair of the Board
Lura J. Powell, Board Member
Ron Sims, Board Member
Michael C. Worthy, Chair of the Board

Washington State University
c/o Rebecca Lande, Executive Assistant to the Board Board of Regents
PO Box 641048
Pullman, WA 99164-1048

Dear Board of Regents,

We respectfully request that the Board of Regents support patients’ access to a full range of best care medical services and the comprehensive medical training of health providers. To that end, we ask that the Board of Regents decline to support the financing of a new building to house Spokane Teaching Health Center (STHC) residents unless all medical training and practices at the building will be unrestricted by religious doctrine; the latter includes but is not limited to the Ethical and Religious Directives promulgated by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (ERDs).

It has come to our attention that Washington State University (WSU) has entered an affiliation agreement with Providence Health & Services, Empire Health Foundation, STHC, and Riverpoint Clinic to operate the STHC as a graduate medical education consortium (GME consortium). STHC has applied for and received federal funding for six resident spots and plans to apply for funding for up to 39 additional residency positions over the next five years. The consortium will oversee these residents, as well as most of the Providence-based residency programs.

Under the affiliation agreement, WSU has agreed to be one of the parties operating STHC as a GME consortium. WSU will compensate Providence for GME faculty and, if WSU can obtain the funding, STHC residents will be housed at a clinic based on the WSU Spokane campus. We understand that at its September meeting, the Board of Regents will consider whether to allow the university to sell revenue bonds to finance construction of a building to house the residency clinic.

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Significantly, the bylaws of the Spokane Teaching Health Center state that STHC “shall not undertake any activity, nor shall it perform or permit any medical procedure, that offends the moral or ethical values or directives of Providence, including but not limited to, the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.”We understand that there is a shortage of physicians in eastern Washington, and commend WSU’s efforts to address this serious problem. However, these efforts must be consistent with best care medical services and comprehensive medical training, unconstrained by Catholic religious doctrine. As an institution of the State of Washington, WSU must not subsidize or support the restriction of health care on the basis of religious doctrine.Providence is a religious health care system that refers to itself as a “ministry” and employs scripture to explain its mission and values. Providence restricts access to reproductive and end-of-life care on the basis of religious doctrine. As a Providence brochure states, Providence, as a Catholic health care organization, “require[s] adherence to all Ethical and Religious Directives as a condition of medical privileges and employment.”Further, under the Spokane Teaching Health Center bylaws, STHC is required to abide by the ERDs. These directives forbid or severely restrict many reproductive and end-of-life health services, including contraception, vasectomies, fertility treatments, tubal ligations, abortion, Death with Dignity, and advance directives that are contrary to Catholic teachings. Adherence to the ERDs may also increase the likelihood that LGBT individuals and families will face discrimination in seeking to access health care services consistent with their medical needs.The Washington Constitution explicitly prohibits tax dollars and public property from being used to support religion. Washington State University is a secular, public land- grant university. STHC is bound by the ERDs. Therefore if WSU assists in operating STHC, provides a public building for STHC use, or provides compensation for faculty that are forced to abide by the ERDs, WSU will be impermissibly supporting a health care system that restricts services, training, and education on the basis of religious doctrine.WSU must ensure that its affiliation does not result in the imposition or the support of religiously based restrictions on reproductive, end-of-life, and LGBT health care services. As a public entity, WSU is subject to Washington’s state constitutional requirements strictly prohibiting state support of religious worship, exercise, or instruction as well as state laws protecting patients’ rights. Further, state law, including the Reproductive Privacy Act (Initiative 120), the Death with Dignity Act (Initiative 1000) and the Anderson-Murray Anti-Discrimination Law, supports the provision of reproductive and end-of-life health care as well as requires non- discrimination.

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It is not too late to address these important problems. We urge the Board of Regents to decline to provide funding for a building to house the STHC residents unless all medical training and practices at the building will be unrestricted by religious doctrine, including but not limited to the ERDS.We also urge the Board of Regents to take the following steps: (1) withdraw from the consortium until STHC is no longer bound by Providence’s ethical or moral code or the ERDs; (2) provide a written public statement that WSU will remain secular, that no services or information provided at a WSU facility will be restricted on the basis of religious doctrine, and that WSU will not be bound by the ERDs; (3) ensure all current and future contractual agreements clarify WSU’s continued secular status; and (4) ensure all current and future agreements include provisions that allow WSU to end the affiliation if religious doctrine is imposed upon WSU or the consortium.We appreciate the dedication and commitment of the members of the Board of Regents to expanding the number of health providers in eastern Washington. However, the Board of Regents must also ensure that WSU is not sacrificing best medical care and comprehensive medical training. Further, the Board of Regents must not undermine WSU’s responsibility to adhere to the Washington State Constitution and Washington state law. As leaders of WSU and as agents of the state, you have a significant responsibility to safeguard patient access to best care medical services and to ensure that public assets are not used to advance a religious mission.Sincerely,Kathleen Taylor, Executive Director
Leah Rutman, Policy Counsel

Food matters

$50,000 grant could turn into $150,000

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Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Sponsored Cause!

The Women’s & Children’s Free Restaurant (WCFR) has been ramping up by closing on a different building to significantly grow their services!The S-B Fund is proud to have been on board early. The Foundation’s $50,000 grant along with other generous donations gave WCFR the capital they needed to seek and secure a building with confidence. WCFR’s mission is right up the S-B Fund’s alley. It’s is clear: to serve nutritious meals in a safe environment building a supportive community for women and children in need. And it’s done with no agenda or strings attached. Unfortunately, living on minimum and low wages makes it impossible to make ends meet. Obtaining the basic necessities of life like food, shelter and clothing is only becoming harder for many in our community. Once the restaurant has moved into its new location it will be able to expand its services, by serving more women and children on site, and also by making meals for other social services organizations. To help ensure WCFR meets the remainder of their funding needs, the S-B Fund has pledged up to an additional $50,000 in a matching grant! Donations designated to the Women’s and Children’s Free Restaurant through our website, or those made through WCFR directly that mention the S-B Fund will be matched up to $50,000. We hope you will join us and other S-B Fund donors to make sure WCFR can grow its crucial mission. Our community is counting on us to help.
August 21, 2014 in BusinessFoodWashington Voices

Women and Children’s Free Restaurant buys own building

 The Spokesman-ReviewThe Women and Children’s Free Restaurant has fulfilled a longtime goal: It’s purchased its own building and it will move in by January.
The restaurant has been located in the basement at 1620 N. Monroe St. – Christ Our Hope Bible Church – for 26 years. Its new location will be at 1408 N. Washington St., a building that’s known as Center Pointe. “Nothing will change right now,” said Sherry Harbaugh, president of the board of the Women and Children’s Free Restaurant. “We will continue services at our old location at least until the end of the year.” Once the restaurant has moved into its new location it will be able to expand its services, by serving more women and children on site, and also by making meals for other social services organizations. “In our current kitchen we can make 14 pans of lasagna at one time,” Harbaugh said. “When the new kitchen is done we will be able to make 42 pans of lasagna at the same time.” The restaurant has raised $800,000 toward a capital campaign goal of $1.8 million, $400,000 of which is earmarked toward a new kitchen. “The new building needs some other repairs,” Harbaugh said. “Windows need to be brought up to code and the roof needs to be replaced.” The dining room space at the new location will be doubled. Continued fundraising is needed, said Harbaugh, and to help that along the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund has issued a $50,000 matching challenge. Harbaugh said it’s possible the new location will allow the restaurant to rent space to other nonprofits. “Once we’ve moved in we will see how much space there’s left over,” Harbaugh said. “But that would certainly help with our budget.”

Leadership Spokane Scholarship

Life transitions scholarship award

Logo bug Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Scholarship Award! BlueCompassLogo Leadership Spokane and the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund are pleased to announce the creation of  The Smith-Barbieri Fund Scholarship. This scholarship will be awarded to an incoming member of the adult Leadership Spokane program who demonstrates a passion for his/her community, who is making a lasting life transition and who has a desire to step up to leadership. The candidate must also have a demonstrated financial need that would make Leadership Spokane tuition a barrier to participation in the program.   “We understand how challenging it can be to make lasting life transitions without a community of support around you,” stated Sharon Smith and Don Barbieri.  “We are working to eradicate the systemic causes that lead to hardships like domestic violence, substance abuse, unemployment and incarceration, but we know that these things still happen. For those times, we work to ensure our vulnerable citizens have access to tools and resources to achieve sustainable well-being and to make their voices heard in community decision making.” “I have asked myself whether one has to have money or position or a life of advantages in order to be a leader,” remarked Linda Finney. “I think that people coming from challenging backgrounds have much to contribute to the leadership table.  By funding an annual scholarship to Leadership Spokane, the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund is removing some of those barriers.” The Scholarship Award will be presented at Commencement on 12 June 2014. About Leadership Spokane Leadership Spokane is a 501 (c)(3) organization originally founded in 1982 by the Spokane Area Chamber of Commerce and a group of business and community leaders. Leadership Spokane offers a civic leadership training program in which the voices of all sectors of the community are balanced, with the clear understanding that the health of all these sectors is vital to a healthy Spokane. Today, individuals from a variety of professions, races, backgrounds and neighborhoods from all over the county compose the Adult and Youth Leadership class each year. Classes focus on Servant Leadership, “Spokane 101” information and skills such as team building, systems thinking, facilitation, conflict resolution, envisioning and project management.

80% of Spokane residents agree

Access to health care is a basic right

Logo bug Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Sponsored Event!

In a recent large-scale, scientific survey of Spokane County residents commissioned by the S-B Fund, 80% of respondents agreed* that: Access to health care is a basic right. Everyone should be able to have it for an affordable cost.
This movie at the Bing is free. The S-B Fund helped sponsor the showing because we believe our healthcare system should remain at the forefront of discussions in a positive and productive way.

Health care 1Health care 2Health care 3Health care 4

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014 6:30 PM Bing Crosby Theatre 901 West Sprague Ave., Spokane WA

Admission Free Suggested Donation $10 Proceeds go to Health Care for All-Spokane Tickets purchased at the Door or

Film showing introduced by filmmakers Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg.

The Healthcare Movie is a 65 minute documentary telling the real story of how the health care system in Canada turned out to be so completely different from that in the United States, when in the 1950’s they were essentially the same.  While Canadians experience the benefits and peace of mind of Canada’s universal health care system, the forces against change in the U.S. are now much stronger and have much more at stake financially.   Is there hope for the United States? Narrated by Kiefer Sutherland.

Smith-Barbieri Fund Affordable Housing News

Logo bug Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Update

This week we say goodbye to ownership of Park Tower Apartments in Spokane. Don developed this project originally in the mid-70’s and it has since provided conveniently located, quality, housing to low-income, senior and disabled people in Spokane. We are sad to see it go from our portfolio.

But here’s where it gets exciting!

The Foundation is proud to bring a new owner to Park Tower Apartments with a proven track record of affordable housing ownership and a commitment to continuing Park Tower’s mission. The transition of Park Tower to new ownership frees up capital enabling the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund to advance one of its core goals to broaden low cost, affordable housing in strategic locations and creative ways in the Inland Northwest. With the CCI acquisition of Park Tower, the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund will be able to reinvest in additional affordable housing while Park Tower will continue to provide great affordable housing. We’ll keep you posted as we advance this important part of the Foundation’s mission!

Spokane Alliance Partnership Announcement

Spokane Alliance Partnership Announcement

Logo bug Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Sponsored Organization!

Smith-Barbieri Fund Awards $60,000 to Spokane Alliance

Bringing good jobs, improving public safety key goals By Sherry Jones For the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund The Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund will award $60,000 over two years – one of its largest grants to date – to the Spokane Alliance, a non-profit organization bringing power to the people in government and lawmaking, the economy, public safety, the environment, social justice, and a host of other arenas. The Alliance’s 10 years of work to “improve the lives of working people in the Inland Northwest” inspired the grant, Trustee Sharon Smith said, adding that the organization is “uniquely positioned to further create positive change in two of the Smith-Barbieri Fund’s key missions: reducing poverty and building a more dynamic and knowledgeable constituency.” From all walks of life Made up of 29 organizations from labor unions to faith-based groups to managers and professionals, the Spokane Alliance comprises some 20,000 citizens from all walks of life – construction workers, pastors, college professors, firefighters, musicians, executives, and more. Together, they work on a variety of issues: bringing well-paying jobs with benefits to the area; improving public safety; cleaning up the Spokane River; ensuring paid sick leave for workers, and more. “A life-changing event,” board president Mary Lou Johnson calls the award, which will help the organization research issues for future campaigns, and send more members to leadership training so they can help further the interests of the working class on a local, regional, and state level. “This grant changes our capacity in a very big way,” Carol Krawczyk, lead organizer for the Alliance, said. “We’re really thankful.” Many successes, more to come During its decade-long history, the Spokane Alliance has advanced a number of causes including a 2013 levy to fund the city’s libraries, which the organization helped to pass, and the passage of a statewide $1.1 billion construction bill creating more than 18,000 jobs in Washington – including $54 million in Spokane-area projects. The organization now is working to ensure that those local jobs pay a living wage, that contractors are locally-based, and that workers’ benefits packages include family health insurance. So much of the organization’s work takes place behind the scenes, however, in meetings and training sessions bringing together people of various backgrounds and professions. There, these disparate folks who might otherwise never even meet get to know one another, sharing their stories, dreams, and goals. Almost always, the women say, members find they have far more in common than they had imagined. Different backgrounds, common goals “We take time in our meetings to get to know people,” Krawczyk said. “It’s a slower process – it takes time to build a consensus – but then you have people working on issues near and dear to their hearts and that’s how you get engagement.” The leadership training the grant funds will provide members with the skills they need to feel empowered to make change, some for the first time the women said. In return, trainees can inspire and teach others how to effect change in such areas as income inequality – a major touchstone for the organization over the coming years – and public health and safety, plus other as-yet-undetermined issues, all furthering the Spokane alliance’s goal of “A Better Future, By and For the People.” Not just talk, but action “We call our work ‘prayers that have feet,’ ” Krawczyk said. “We’re doing what people pray about.” Although the Alliance includes many churches and faith organizations among its members, it isn’t a religiously-based group, but a humanity-based one of people united in the common cause of improving the human condition together. “Together,” Johnson said, “we are so much stronger, and have so much more impact than we could ever have individually.”

Sharon Smith and Don Barbieri are the trustees for the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, a charitable foundation dedicated to building on the Inland Northwest’s strong foundation to reduce poverty, broaden low-cost affordable housing, and foster a more dynamic and knowledgeable constituency. http://www.smith-barbieri.comFor more information about the Spokane Alliance and how to become a member, go to

Sherry Jones is an author and freelance writer living in Spokane. Contact her at

Help reduce poverty by STEPping up!

Logo bug Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Guest Editorial! The Spokane City Council is taking this up again tomorrow night at their meeting, Monday, February 23, in City Hall. Attend the council meeting and/or contact the members HERE to urge their support for STEP!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

STEP is good for tribe, region By Sharon Smith and Don Barbieri In Spokane County, we know the pain of joblessness and underemployment. As parts of Washington rebound from the Great Recession, we continue to experience unemployment higher than the statewide average; unemployment and poverty remain among the highest in the state. With Congress gridlocked and Olympia unable to reach consensus on meaningful fixes, we need private investment more than ever. We hear often how corporations say they’re holding back because of economic uncertainty. But in Spokane County there’s a game-changing proposal: The Spokane Tribe Economic Project will invest $400 million to develop 145 acres of vacant land into retail, restaurants, a hotel and, yes, a casino. Let’s repeat: STEP would plow $400 million into an areawhere 30 percent of residents live in poverty. It would create 5,000 construction-related and permanent jobs. It would add $6.6 million to our tax rolls when it’s being built, and $4.7 million every year after that. Annual payroll would be $50 million. There is no better anti-poverty program than that. STEP would be an entertainment destination that will promote economic growth and stability for the entire region. As business leaders who care about our community, we know that opportunities like STEP don’t come around very often. And as trustees of the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund (, a charitable foundation with a primary mission of reducing poverty in the Inland Northwest, we know how much we need this economic generator. So why has STEP generated such unprecedented andunjustified opposition? Detractors say STEP would negatively impact Fairchild Air Force Base. But the tribe has worked extensively with the U.S. Air Force to ensure development would be in line with Fairchild’s needs. The Federal Aviation Administration repeatedly determined that STEP would not impact flight operations. This issue has been thoroughly researched and the verdict rendered: STEP would not encroach on Fairchild. In reality, Fairchild remaining or closing is based on other factors, most of which are out of our control and are simply part of the larger military picture. The thought that a few elected officials and others in our community would try to stop a great economic addition only to possibly lose Fairchild regardless is unconscionable. We cannot create an economic desert around Fairchild and keep our fingers crossed that Pentagon accountants won’t decide that consolidation is a better fit for our defense posture and national budget. It’s time to move forward with STEP. Change is always frightening. There are those who fear competition from STEP, who say that it will be too successful. They are concerned about the nearby Kalispel Tribe casino and downtown businesses. But we believe in competition.We believe in capitalism. We believe that stifling economic growth only leads to stagnation and decay. We currently experience enough hardship in our community and on the reservation. More than 45 percent of residents on the Spokane Tribe of Indians’ reservation work for such low earnings they still fall beneath the federal poverty level. About 15 percent of reservation residents have college degrees, compared to 36 percent in Spokane County. The tribe is committed to increasing tribal employment for the 70 percent of working-age tribal members who reside within 40 miles of the site. In addition to employment opportunities, the income from STEP will be used to significantly expand tribal governmental services, including those focused on improving the health, education, welfare of tribal members, and the substantial natural resources management needs of the tribe’s 157,376-acre reservation, including critically needed basic infrastructure improvements to the tribe’s drinking water and public sanitation systems. This is a moral issue. It’s also about dollars and cents. We have four decades of experience developing hotels, office buildings, shopping mallsand residential complexes, including downtown Spokane and the region. We’ve been intimately involved in many aspects of our region’s economic development for decades. We fully understand the complexity and challenges of our regional economy. And we completely support the Spokane Tribe’s desire to create jobs. The project has many community supporters, including the Airway Heights City Council, current and former regional mayors, business leaders and labor groups, including the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters and Northeastern Washington-Northern Idaho Building and Construction Trades Council. We hope you will join us for the sake of the tribe and our region. It’s time to create jobs, build stronger communities and turn 145 acres of dirt into a shining example of the power of private investment. Sharon Smith and Don Barbieri are the trustees for the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, a charitable foundation dedicated to building on the Inland Northwest’s strong foundation to reduce poverty, broaden low-cost affordable housing, and foster a more dynamic and knowledgeable constituency.

Copyright © 2014 Spokesman-Review 02/23/2014.

Hillyard Senior Center 10th Annual Dinner & Auction

Logo bug Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Special Event! Hillyard Auction Flyer 2014   The mission of the Hillyard Senior Center is to create a philosophy and provide an environment which encourages seniors to keep active in mind, body and spirit; to meet other friends; to share interests with others who enjoy living their life to it’s fullest! The S-B Fund is excited to support the Hillyard Senior Center and its mission. When seniors are healthy in mind, body and spirit, our entire community benefits!

Women’s Relicensing & Connection Program

Logo bug Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Special Event!

Giving Women the ‘Drive’ They Need

Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Donates $9,000 to Center for Justice ProgramBy Sherry Jones For the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund What’s it like to be a single mother with no driver’s license? Isolating, Virla Spencer says. Oppressive. And, for those who must pay fines, fees, and interest before they can legally drive again, hopeless. “It’s almost as though the walls begin to cave in on you,” she says. “You have no room to move around.” Beginning this spring, Spokane’s Center for Justice will offer monthly workshops for women whose driver’s licenses have been suspended or revoked, aimed at putting them back in the driver’s seat – in more ways than one. The Center for Justice’s Women’s Relicensing and Connection Program helps Spokane-area women get their driver’s licenses reinstated, plus provides lessons in budgeting and other life skills, help signing up for health insurance, referrals to needed social services, and an opportunity to meet and talk with other women in similar situations. The award is one of the fund’s largest to date.CFJ women 2 “If you don’t have a car or can’t drive, it’s extremely difficult to have meaningful employment,” says Sharon Smith, trustee of the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund. “If our society wants people to work, they need some form of transportation. And the icing on the cake with this program is, you also get this more holistic approach to other common needs. It’s fantastic.” Why a special class for women? Spencer suggested it after noticing that many women in the mixed-gender relicensing classes she teaches for the Center weren’t speaking up. “We wanted to create a safe place for these women to come and open up, and be able to relate to one another,” she says. Car-free isn’t care-free  For women, in particular, not having a license can mean living in isolation, Center for Justice attorney Julie Schaffer says. The Women’s Licensing and Connection Program aims to bring women together and invite them to share their problems, frustrations, and ideas.

Reinstating drivers licenses doesn’t sound like real “sexy” civil rights or smart justice work, but it is so fundamental to having equal opportunity.  Hardened, grown men often cry in my office when the barrier is finally removed.  It’s pretty incredible.” Julie Schaffer, Attorney, Center for Justice

Lifting oneself out of poverty can be difficult enough, but without a driver’s license doing so can seem downright impossible, Schaffer says. Just getting to a job interview without a car can pose real challenges, especially in rural areas lacking public transportation. For women with children, the difficulties multiply. The kids need to go to day care so Mom can work. But how if Mom has no driver’s license? Spencer recalls walking four miles some days, pushing her child in a stroller to a child-care facility. “You have to do what you have to do, as a single mother, to get there,” she says. In Washington, unpaid traffic fines can lead to suspension of your driver’s license -indefinitely. As of 2011, nearly 300,000 Washington residents had lost their licenses for this reason. Unable to pay the fine and yet needing transportation, some drive, anyway. If caught, they’ll face criminal charges and perhaps even jail time – plus additional fines. One-third of misdemeanor cases filed statewide cite charges of Driving While License Suspended.CFJ clientOnce out of jail, these offenders often find they’ve lost their job, their home, and even their children, and have even more fines to pay. The hole of debt and despair grows deeper and deeper, until it seems there’s no way out. The Center for Justice hopes to change this broken system. Working with judges, Schaffer can often arrange a small monthly payment from the client in exchange for reinstatement of driving privileges. The situation is win-win: the client can drive her children to day care and herself to work, and the city and county receive income they weren’t getting otherwise. Fixing the system The Center for Justice also participates in a statewide taskforce working on legislative and policy changes to make the system smarter and fairer.  One possible way is to decriminalize Driving While License Suspended convictions for those with less serious, third degree infractions such as speeding tickets, Schaffer said. The idea isn’t to let offenders off the hook, but instead to help them provide for themselves and their families and to contribute to society. Regaining their driver’s license can be an important first step. For Smith and her partner, Don Barbieri, the Women’s Relicensing and Connection Program fills an important role in the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund’s mission of helping the region’s poor lift themselves out of poverty.Suellen & client Stacey Green Already, she points out, the Fund contributes to the Lands Council’s Green Sleeves program, which teaches inmates employable skills by putting them to work on projects such as tree planting and care and watershed management. When those inmates have served their time, the Center for Justice’s relicensing programs can help them stay out of jail, Smith says. “This is to follow up,” Smith says, “to make sure they have the resources and an opportunity at a better life.” Sherry Jones is a freelance writer and editor living in Spokane. You can contact her For more great info, take a look at this great Center For Justice report “Voices of Suspended Drivers” CFJ Voices of Suspended Drivers

2nd Harvest Food Bank Fundraiser

“Inequality For All”, A Community Screening

Logo bug Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Special Event!

Updated 1/22/14: Wow, Spokane — you totally brought your A-game!

Vimeo Screen Shot

Hear people’s reactions on Monday night!
Watch this great video!

We hoped for $7k but raised over $11k and the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund will match every dollar for a grand total of $22,490. The proceeds benefit Second Harvest Food Bank. Thank you Eastern WA!

The economic system in this country unfairly favors the wealthy. We should change to policies that make the economy work for everyone and rebuilds our country’s middle class. We’ve participated in some really cool things, but this one takes the cake. Let’s hear it for making our economy work for ALL people. Way to go Spokane!   The Struggle on Our Own Turf: ‘Inequality for All’ Tells AllWhy the rich keep getting richer while the middle class suffersBy Sherry Jones on behalf of Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, A Charitable Foundation It was, without a doubt, the most important place to be on the evening of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Over 700 people filled the Bing Crosby Theatre to capacity on Monday, Jan. 20 for a showing of “Inequality for All,” a documentary spotlighting former Labor Secretary Robert Reich – an economist, author and UC Berkeley professor – about why the middle class is shrinking while the rich are getting richer and richer. Hosted by Spokane entrepreneurs Ron and Debbie Reed and the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, the event raised funds for Second Harvest Food Bank, hit hard every winter but especially hard this year due to the recent cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and elimination of the extension of emergency unemployment benefits. The showing and panel discussion raised $11,245 and the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund will match every dollar for a grand total of $22,490. The proceeds benefit Second Harvest Food Bank.Provocative lessons; a call to action Among the film’s lessons:

  • The middle class is the backbone of capitalism. Those in the middle class are the ones who consume – and consumer spending makes up 70 percent of our nation’s economy.
  • The rich, often revered as “job creators,” tend to hoard their wealth via investments, bank accounts, etc. As Nick Hanauer, a Seattle entrepreneur and venture capitalist, says in the film, the rich, like the rest of us, only need so many pillows and so many pairs of jeans. Sure, some of them create jobs, but not nearly commensurate with the billions they earn every year. Their money doesn’t “trickle down” – Reich said we need a “middle-out” economy – because it doesn’t return to our economy the way middle-class dollars do.
  • Middle class earnings have remained flat since the late 1970s, around the same time President Ronald Reagan cut taxes on the rich as part of his “trickle-down” economics policy. As tax dollars have decreased, governments have cut spending, which hurts education, infrastructure, and other programs crucial to the middle class and to a robust economy.
  • Globalization and technology have been great for consumers, but, in the U.S., not so good for workers. Robots have displaced human workers in many factories. U.S. workers, competing with those in third-world countries where the standard of living is far lower, have found their own standards of living spiraling downward. Unions, which used to protect workers’ wages, benefits, and working conditions, have lost much of their power as companies pack up and move their operations overseas – without repercussions.
  • The U.S. economy rebounded hugely during the Clinton/Reich years, but even President Clinton lacked the “political will” to do what needed to be done to break the vicious cycle of spending and tax cuts that have depleted our economy of precious dollars. None of our presidents has been able to achieve real change because the rich are too powerful, and control Washington.

Infused with Reich’s self-deprecating wit and real-life stories of middle-class families brought to their knees by the 2008 recession, “Inequality for All” had the audience laughing and cheering, and, finally, filling the theater with applause. Reach out; share stories; listen to othersAfterward, a panel discussion with Carol Krawczyk, the lead organizer with the Spokane Alliance; Rick Evans of Laborers Local 238; Phil High-Edward, assistant principal at Shadle Park High School; Joan Medina of Bridig’s Cloak, Spokane Homeless Outreach, and Shawn Vestal of the Spokesman-Review, emphasized our need to step out of our own comfortable worlds and engage with one another – especially those we tend to avoid, such as the poor. “Every single person in this room has privilege that other people don’t have,” Medina of Bridig’s Cloak said. “As people of privilege, we have a responsibility to listen to people who don’t have the same privilege we do. It’s important to listen to the people you’re trying to help, and find out what they think will help them.” Spokane entrepreneur Ron Reed, hosting the event with his wife, Debbie, and the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, encouraged the attendees to take this film and this message to their friends, family, churches, or other organizations and make sure those in our community understand these issues that are so critically important to us all. The film is available for purchase on DVD at“Our community and nation are desperately in need of leadership and every single person in this audience is capable of being a leader. We ask you to share this information from the film and what you learn here tonight and become leaders in your organizations, among your social groups and in your communities”.Sherry Jones is an author and freelance writer living in Spokane. Contact her

The people who attended made this event great. These great sponsors made it possible.

Ron & Debbie Reed, Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, Community Building Foundation, The Inlander, Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media, Eco Depot, TicketsWest, PacifiCAD, Spokane Alliance, Laborers Local 238, Too Far North Productions, David Mercury Advertising, KYRS Thin Air Community Radio, Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane, Center for Justice, Teamsters Local Union No. 690, Hamilton Studio and Surviving the Future Film Group, SEIU Healthcare 775NW

Poverty map color
” … In 2012, the top ten per cent of earners received about fifty per cent of all the income that the economy generated, and the top one per cent received 22.5 per cent … ” [1]
 ” …  Apart from corporations, the other big winners during the recovery have been people with considerable holdings in the stock market. a gain in over-all household wealth of about seven trillion dollars. Since the richest ten per cent of American households own about ninety per cent of stocks, most of this vast sum has ended up in the accounts of the already wealthy. … ” [1] [1] The New Yorker: The Uneven Economic Recovery: Eleven Things We’ve Learned and Six Charts September 16, 2013
2nd Harvest IFA Postcard 122613

Green Sleeves

Logo bug Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Sponsored Project!

Green Sleeves Header

Updated 11/20/13: Geiger dedicates land for Green Sleeves Project

by BREANNA ROY & Posted on November 18, 2013 at 6:17 AM Updated Monday, Nov 18 at 7:00 AM SPOKANE, Wash. – On an overcast Thursday morning in November, a team of five inmates at the Geiger Correctional Facility potted 250 young ponderosa pine trees.The trees are the beginning of a new nursery at Geiger and a new partnership between the Lands Council and the Spokane County Sheriff’s Department called The Green Sleeves Project. This would’ve taken us at least a full day,” The Lands Council Watershed Program Director Amanda Parrish said. “We’ve been out here for about 45 minutes and the work’s almost done.” In the past, The Lands Council only had the space to store between 1,000-2,000 trees. Now, Geiger Correctional Facility has dedicated a three-acre section for the new nursery that Parrish estimates could hold close to 30,000 trees.

Continue reading the article.To help expand this project, DONATE HERE. Every dollar will go to fund Green Sleeves!

Green Sleeves is launched by The Lands Council, Geiger Corrections Center and the S-B Fund for jail-alternative sentencing options and education opportunities at the Center with a curriculum focused specifically on employable skills. And as if that wasn’t cool enough, the Lands Council will even relocate their tree nursery to Geiger to offer even more positive offender activities and opportunities. The S-B Fund made a two-year funding commitment to this new and creative endeavor, but it doesn’t stop there. We’re also working to raise additional funding to grow the opportunities. Click here and designate Green Sleeves on your donation form.Please stay tuned for more news as the project launches in October. Updated 10/28/13: Greensleeves Gets Inmates Working on River Restoration

Listen to the Spokane Public Radio story here.

Home > SPR Local News Archive > October 28, 2013

October 28, 2013, 6:30 am By Paige Browning

Volunteers planted 1,000 trees along streams on Saturday for Reforest Spokane day, put on by the Lands Council. The planting went smoothly because of prep work done by jail inmates. It’s a new collaboration between the environmental group and the county jail. On a warm October day, Amanda Parrish with The Lands Council looks out over a bushy riparian area just south of Spokane – California Creek.Parrish: “So we’ve got an offender work crew out here from Geiger Correctional facility, eight guys that are doing the prep work for us.” Parrish says the Lands Council plants trees and maintains sites throughout the Spokane watershed, normally relying on staff and volunteer work. Parrish: “And in the past 5 years our restoration programs have grown exponentially but our staff has not. And so we have 10-15 sites where we’re actively doing restoration throughout the Spokane region, but only seven of us on staff.” Photo: Amanda Parrish hopes the program will help with riparian maintenance and benefit inmates. Photo by Paige Browning. So they created a program called Greensleeves, funded by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund. A Geiger work crews joins Lands Council staff to do restoration. Today, they’re digging holes at California Creek so volunteers can plop the trees in. Parrish says it gives the Lands Council a reliable crew to do the hard jobs, and she says the work is actually more thorough than if done by volunteers. But the benefits go both ways, according to Corrections Officer Charles Valente.

Announcing 8/28/13: The Lands Council and Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Forms Two-Year Green Sleeves Alliance!

Priest Lake Food Bank

Logo bug Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Special Offering! Priest Lake Food Bank Flier 110613 From Bob Ekler: On behalf of the Priest Lake Food Bank and the Priest Lake Kaniksu/Coolin Lions Club, I want to thank all the wonderful people who have donated to the Thanksgiving  & Christmas Holiday Food Drive. With you’re tremendous support we are able to make a wonderful holiday food basket for the many people who use our food bank. Items that they normally do not receive will be made available for them during this holiday season. We will also be able to build Christmas Baskets with the fund raised. We want to thank the many donors who participated in the matching funds program offered by the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, A Charitable Foundation. These donations far exceeded their commitment but the Foundation matched all designated contributions regardless! Many thanks to everyone who made this fundraiser such a great success! Thanks to you, the Priest Lake Food Bank recipients will receive over $15,000 worth of much needed food and supplies this holiday season!

GO ZAGS & Go Inland NW!

Logo bug Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Special Offering! If you’d like some terrific seats to a Gonzaga basketball game, we’re about to make your day. Last year our Gonzaga game tickets were auctioned to benefit the Women’s & Children’s Free Restaurant. It was super popular so of course we’re doing it again! This year all auction proceeds will benefit the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund. Here’s how it works … Go to eBay to see the games currently being offered and bid on a super pair of tickets to a Gonzaga Bulldogs Men’s Basketball game. If (when!) you’re the lucky winner, you’ll go to a Bulldog Pregame social (tickets included!), make your way to your seats a few rows behind the Gonzaga bench, and cheer your head off! To learn more, CLICK HERE.

Spokane YWCA

Logo bug Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Sponsored Project!

Updated 11/2/13: Strong commitment from Spokane to support victims of domestic violence.

The $500,000 challenge grant from lead partners (like us!) for the Strong Foundation, Fearless Future campaign was announced at this year’s YWCA luncheon. And guess what else? The generous luncheon participants donated $158,000! Here’s to victims of domestic violence having a fearless future!

Strong Foundation, Fearless Future

The Smith-Barbieri Progressive fund is committed to addressing the systemic causes of poverty, helping ensure those in need have every opportunity to succeed and broadening transitional, low income and work force housing in the Inland Northwest. The Spokane YWCA supports and advocates for victims who are experiencing abuse and violence in their relationships with a variety of components including confidential safe shelter for victims and children and transitional housing for families. This is a match made in heaven and that’s why we’ve joined as a lead partner in the YWCA’s “Strong Foundation, Fearless Future” campaign.

Spokane Homeless Resource Center

Logo bug Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Supported Effort! Please help with a very critical need warm coats, boots, blankets and sleeping bags to help Eastern Washington’s homeless.

Please contact your family, friends, church groups, work associates, book club – whatever! Look in your own closet and ask your mom to clean out hers too! These items can be taken to:THE HOMELESS RESOURCE CENTER
520 S. Walnut – (509) 455-6275 Monday, November 18th – Noon-2 pm Wednesday, November 20th -2-4 pmThese items are needed at the annual Winter Wear give-away on Friday, November 22nd.  New, or clean & gently used, WARM items are greatly appreciated!!!Thank you for focusing on the giving part of Thanksgiving.

(This request is on behalf of Spokane House of Charity.)

Visit our ARCHIVES to see more S-B Fund supported projects!

Some of the organizations we have proudly supported:

YMCA Inland NW Youth Legislature Program Peace & Justice Action League Communities in Schools
Women’s & Children’s Free Restaurant Alliance for Education 2nd Harvest Food Bank
Transitions KPBX Spokane Public Radio The Lands Council
Center for Justice Fuse Washington (Spokane c3 activities) Muscular Dystrophy Association
KYRS Thin Air Community Radio Spokesman Review Christmas Fund Spokane Riverkeeper
Planned Parenthood Greater NW & Idaho YWCA Capital Campaign Boys & Girls Clubs of Spokane
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Priest Lake Education Foundation Friends of the Centennial Trail
Center for Environmental Law & Policy Spokane Aids Network

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