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Avista to provide more than $560,000 to help those in need

| March 25, 2020 1:00 AM

COEUR d’ALENE — The Avista Foundation’s first grant cycle for 2020 topped out at $568,500 and includes many awards to nonprofit agencies on the front lines of the community’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

“With so much disruption and uncertainty, it is now especially meaningful for us to support the organizations and resources that make such a difference in people’s lives,” said Dennis Vermillion, Avista president and CEO. “The COVID-19 crisis has added to the need in our communities and we want to help.”

In this first quarter of 2020, grants totaling $80,000 have been given to the COVID-19 Relief Funds at the Oregon Community Foundation, the Innovia Foundation, and the Idaho Community Foundation. Other donors from around the region have joined with the Avista Foundation to leverage resources and respond quickly to meet the community’s most pressing needs.

Another $40,000 in awards are being given to nonprofits focused on serving members of the restaurant and hospitality industry, who have been impacted by recent closures and limited operations to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Two examples in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene include, Big Table and CDAIDE, which provide resources, case management, mentorship and care for individuals who are struggling.

Organizations that provide food for seniors, children and families while schools and meal sites are temporarily closed are being granted a total of $64,500. Many of our neighbors are counting on these extra supplies of food to help fill the gap during the coming weeks, and the need is growing beyond what these agencies would have seen normally at this time of year.

“This is an unprecedented time for our community and we recognize that the needs are evolving by the minute,” said Avista Foundation executive director Kristine Meyer. “Because of this, we’re making many of the grants available as “flexible” dollars that can be used as the applicant sees fit — our partners in the social services industry are the real experts and we trust them to know what will make the most impact.”

Since its establishment in 2002, the Avista Foundation has made grants totaling over $6.5 million.