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MLK Center Youth Summer Science Program and Spokane Tribal College receive grants from the Avista Foundation
Avista Corp. contributes $6.5 million to strengthen foundation’s endowment; Foundation announces nearly $50,000 in grants

July 31, 2014: For many students, summer time without school only widens the academic gap they experience during the school year. Research shows that children attending schools in low-income areas score lower on science and math than their counterparts in more affluent areas. The Avista Foundation has made a grant of $5,650 to fund two additional weeks of the Summer Youth Academy at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Outreach Center.
 
This program provides a safe place for students to play, learn and grow, especially in their understanding of science, technology, engineering and math,” said Freda Gandy, executive director of the MLK Center. “Partnering with Avista and Eastern Washington University, the program gives our students wonderful opportunities for hands-on science activities in a small classroom setting, empowering them with tools and knowledge they need to continue their studies in the fall.”
 
Spokane Tribal College
Spokane, Wash., ranks 11th among U.S. cities by its percentage of Native American population. Yet Native American students have the lowest educational attainment of any minority in the country. The Avista Foundation has made a grant of $5,000 to the Spokane Tribal College to fund the set-up of a Running Start program at the accredited institution of higher education to serve junior and senior high school students.
 
Running Start gives students the opportunity to simultaneously earn high school and college credit for classes taken during the normal course of their day,” said Shelly Wynecoop, director of the Spokane Tribal College. “Our program in partnership with urban and rural schools in our area will provide a unique opportunity for Native students to explore their own history, culture and language, while earning college credit. Running Start is an experience that leads to achievement and success, and it is a pathway to further educational opportunities for these students.”
 
“Our goal with grants like these to the MLK Center and Spokane Tribal College is to enhance the educational opportunities for our community’s youth. When they are more successful in school, they have a solid foundation upon which to build toward adulthood,” said Dennis Vermillion, president of Avista Utilities.
 
Avista Corp. contribution strengthens Avista Foundation’s endowment and sustainability
“This is a very exciting time for our company with the celebration of our 125th anniversary. The contribution of $6.5 million from the corporation will bring the foundation’s endowment to nearly $10 million,” said Avista Corp. Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Scott Morris. “Growing the foundation’s endowment will help us sustain the donation program into the future, supporting opportunities to build community and economic vitality in our region.”
 
Avista Foundation grants announced
In its first of two grant distributions for 2014, the Avista Foundation made awards totaling $49,750 to human care services, educational and community vitality organizations in Avista Utilities’ service territory in Washington, Idaho and Oregon.
 
Organization
Purpose
Grant
 
St. Vincent de Paul North Idaho
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Purchase of the HELP Center.
$10,000
 
Friends of Whitman County Library
Colfax, Wash.
Completion of The Center, a community building to house educational, cultural, entrepreneurial and social activities
$10,000
 
Martin Luther King Family Outreach Center
Spokane, Wash.
Summer Youth Academy -- STEM activities
$5,650
 
Idaho-Lewis County Technical Education Foundation
Grangeville, Idaho
Creation of a strategic plan to develop the Camas-Clearwater Technical Education Center for high school students and adults, and for legal offenders in Idaho and Lewis counties
$5,000
 
Ronald McDonald House
Spokane, Wash.
Upgrade kitchen and living spaces at Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital
$5,000
 
Spokane Tribal College
Wellpinit, Wash.
Assistance to set up a “Running Start” program for high school students
$5,000
 
Spokane Interplayers
Spokane, Wash.
Support for updating the theater’s lighting system
$5,000
 
Rogue Valley District Council of St. Vincent de Paul
Medford, Ore.
Update office equipment for social workers
$4,500
 
Sandpoint Community Resource Center
Sandpoint, Idaho
Costs for telecommunications to connect to Idaho 211 Care Line
$2,600
 
Refugee Connections Spokane
Spokane, Wash.
“Patient Passport Project” to assist non-English speaking individuals navigate the healthcare system and train healthcare providers
 $2,000
 
 
 
About Avista Foundation
The Avista Foundation was established in 2002 with the objective of making a difference in our communities in a positive and sustainable way. Since its founding, the Avista Foundation has made grants totaling more than $3 million. 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, and
·         economic and cultural vitality – supporting projects that help communities and citizens to grow and prosper.
 
Information on the Avista Foundation is available at www.avistafoundation.org . The Avista Foundation is a separate, non-profit organization established by Avista Corp. The foundation does not receive funding from Avista Utilities customers through rates.

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