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Avista Foundation’s grants really do make a difference   

Tags: Avista Utilities, Community Service

Post by Jessie Wuerst
Follow Jessie on Twitter: @AvistaCares

Kids in foster care and families in need are just a few of the people in our service territory to see the benefit of the first grants from the Avista Foundation for 2010.

We want to give you a brief look at two of the programs the foundation is supporting.

Children in foster care in the Greater Spokane area will benefit from an expanded volunteer mentoring program supported by a $2,000 grant to the non-profit Olive Crest organization. The program recruits, trains and supports volunteers who tutor and mentor foster and adoptive children.

Carol Plischke, area director for Olive Crest told us that the majority of the foster children they work with have encountered abuse, neglect and other challenges in their short lives. They are often behind in school and need the direct support a tutor or mentor can provide, not only to keep up with their studies, but to eventually graduate from high school. She said that through the involvement of community volunteers, this program addresses the need for quality mentors and tutors for foster children and provides opportunities for others to give back to their community in meaningful ways. More information on Olive Crest is available at

Over in Coeur d’Alene the St. Vincent de Paul H.E.L.P. (Helping Empower Local People) Center is located in the former Coeur d’Alene Library Building. It received a $5,000 grant this quarter from the Avista Foundation to support programs helping the area’s low income and homeless individuals and families. The first-of-its kind in Idaho pilot project is a one-stop location for meals, job and life skills training, legal counseling, child and family advocacy services, parenting classes and more.

Jeff Conroy, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul, told us that the H.E.L.P. program is a collaboration of state agencies, the city of Coeur d’Alene and other non-profits that brings vital services together in one place to help some of the most vulnerable individuals and families in our community. He said that the services they are able to provide help others to help themselves, and this fits well with Coeur d’Alene’s 10-year plan to end homelessness.” Read more about St. Vincent de Paul at

In all just over $14,000 was distributed from the Avista Foundation during the first quarter. In addition to Olive Crest and St. Vincent de Paul, grant recipients included Mid-City Concerns, Lilac Services for the Blind, Community Frameworks and Center Pointe in Spokane. The Foundation also made in-kind donations of gently used laptops to the YMCA in Medford, Oregon, and to KSPS Public Television in Spokane.

The Avista Foundation, established in 2002 as a private, corporate foundation, focuses its giving on grants that strengthen communities and enhance the quality of life for people served by Avista Utilities in eastern Washington, northern Idaho, southern Oregon and Sanders County, Montana. The foundation focuses its giving in the areas of:
• Education – K-12 education particularly in the fields of science, math and technology; and higher education including scholarships,
• Vulnerable and limited income populations – providing assistance to those on limited incomes and support for initiatives to reduce poverty,
• Economic and cultural vitality – supporting projects that help communities and citizens to grow and prosper.
Posted by  System Account  on  3/2/2010
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