Community joins MLK Jr. Outreach Center to Paint over racist graffiti

We were saddened to hear that last night the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center, which has been supporting children and families in Spokane for 40 years, was victim of a hate crime when a racial slur was found spray painted on the side of their building this morning, right next to the playground. 

Today, we joined together in solidarity and song with city leaders, religious leaders, community members, and the media, in what the MLK Center called a "Rally to Erase the Hate." Every person in attendance was invited to take a paintbrush and collectively paint over this hateful language. 

Community members gather at the MLK Jr. Family Outreach Center, and join in song and solidarity.

While a powerful and hopeful gathering, a spokesperson at the rally reminded the crowd that we were not just there to erase this message, but to bare witness to injustice and racism which has been a lived reality for many of our community members for far too long. We cannot let it be ignored. Whether as individuals or as an organization, we must have the courage to express that hate and prejudice are unacceptable. Especially when the mission of our organizations are healing and the health of our communities. 

Children paint over the racial slur graffitied on the wall next to the playground

Children paint over the racial slur graffitied on the wall next to the playground

Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble cause of equal rights. You will make a greater person of yourself, a greater nation of your country, and a finer world to live in.
— Martin Luther King Jr.

Spokane Teaching Health Clinic celebrates grand opening Oct. 17

Members of the Spokane Teaching Health Center (STHC) consortium together with community, state and federal leaders, will celebrate the grand opening of the Spokane Teaching Health Clinic at 624 Front Avenue during a ceremony Monday, Oct. 17, at 4:30 p.m.

The 42,000 square foot Spokane Teaching Health Clinic serves as a training site for new physicians and provides interdisciplinary opportunities for the region’s university students. It provides patients access to medical care and a variety of resources in a supportive, compassionate setting. Located on the campus of Washington State University Health Sciences Spokane, the clinic is operated by Providence Health Care and made possible by the participation of Empire Health Foundation.

Construction of the new clinic was financed by Washington State University and is the result of a unique consortium in 2013 between the WSU Health Sciences Spokane campus, Empire Health Foundation and Providence Health Care. The three entities applied for and were awarded a $900,000 federal Teaching Health Center grant to create new medical residency slots for Eastern Washington. They formed the Spokane Teaching Health Center.

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who will speak at the celebration, joined Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington State in a bipartisan effort last year to extend the funding for medical residents beyond its initial round of grants. As a result of the federal funding, the number of residents has increased by 18 residents in Spokane.

"Bringing more general family practice doctors, OBGYNs, and psychiatrists to Eastern Washington is one of my top priorities,” said Rep. McMorris Rodgers (WA-05). “This is a great chapter for our community and for the future of medical practice in Spokane and Eastern Washington."

The clinic opened August 1 and is expected to have more than the 35,000 patient visits seen at the Providence 5th and Browne clinic which closed this summer. 

Connecting to Impact

A few moments in the last year have put our values to the test, and challenged us to take a step back, reevaluate and recommit. In order to stay grounded in what and who our impact work is really about, our team committed to volunteering together in our community at least once every month. A few weeks ago, a number of EHF, Family Impact Network and Better Health Together staff went down to the House of Charity to volunteer to serve and share a meal.

While our team served lunch, a person in line waiting for a meal collapsed. An ambulance was called, and EMT’s provided CPR, but sadly, this person passed away. Virgina, a Community Health Worker with BHT, mentioned that summoning an ambulance to House of Charity is an almost daily occurrence.

It was heartbreaking.  

However, the line was still full of people waiting for a hot meal. We had committed to serving those meals with genuine smiles. We were all struck by the gratitude of those we served, despite the circumstances. This came with the realization that for the people in line that day, tragedy is all too common and probably expected. “I’m sure they see these kinds of things and worse on a regular basis and they have to numb their senses to it just to get through it,” one of our team members reflected afterwards.  

“…it was very sad that one of those individuals, while standing in line to be served lunch, had their life taken in an instant. I truly wanted to fix the situation, as I often do, but could not. My heart is both happy and hurting – happy because we helped out but sad that the reality of the death today is a hurtful loss for the parents and family of the individual, our community, HOC patrons, HOC staff and all of us there today.” –Karen Davis, Better Health Together DENT Program Manager 

This experience affirmed for me the enormous importance of sustainable and meaningful systems change that improves lives in our community. The problems are complex, and this work is hard. I’m reminded of the need to regularly connect with our impact work and each other, and how grateful I am for such an amazing team.  

-Antony Chiang, Foundation President

EHF named one of INW's Best Places To Work

EHF Staff at the Best Place to Work award breakfast

EHF Staff at the Best Place to Work award breakfast

We are so honored to have received the distinction of being named the 2016 Best Place to Work in the Inland Northwest in the Small Employer category! 

To be considered for participation, companies had to fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

  • Be a for-profit, not-for-profit business or government entity
  • Be a publicly or privately held business
  • Have a facility in the Inland Northwest region
  • Have a minimum of 15 full-time or part-time employees working in the Inland Northwest
  • Be in business a minimum of 1 year

To be nominated, employers must submit a two part assessment. The first part, an employer survey detailing company policies, practices, benefits and demographics, and the second is an in-depth survey filled out by employees. 

Winners and rankings will be announced in the Journal of Business today. 

Concrete Goods Solidifying Futures

A new program is underway at the Family Impact Network that supplies families in need with safety and health products. It will particularly focus on expanding accessibility of these goods to the more rural areas of eastern Washington, providing support to families with little available nearby.

The project is being funded through some extra unallocated funding from FAR (Family Assessment Response). Some of these goods are purchased directly from the manufacturer, others are purchased through distributors like Amazon or Home Depot. By purchasing these concrete goods in bulk and then distributing as needed, FIN receives the best value on goods. This allows the program to distribute more of these products for cheaper.

Some of the most needed products include safety items for families with young children such as car seats, safety gates and child-proofing supplies. Additionally, the program constructs packs of concrete goods that include personal hygiene and menstruation products. There are options for packs of cleaning supplies and vacuums to help families maintain a clean home as well.

 

The project started in July, and the product packs became available at all five locations in Spokane, Colville, Colfax, Newport and Moses Lake as of Thursday September 15. Residents in all 8 counties of eastern Washington will have access to these products and packs through their social worker.

Heading up the project is Concrete Goods Manager Sam Song. He recently described a story in which he had researched and found a used washing machine and dryer for a family. The importance of services like these to the lives of the family members cannot be overstated.

In 2013 Washington State Department of Health reported that housing conditions have a significant impact on the future health of the child.

The Family Impact Network aims to provide the support to families struggling to stay together by supplying them with products needed to maintain a safe and healthy lifestyle. This new project is an exciting expansion of services that will reach new populations in need.