March 2023 Newsletter

It’s been a busy winter for the Spokane Alliance! Below is a recap of all the great work we have accomplished together in the past few months.  

In this newsletter, you will hear about Friends of Alliance, the current work of our teams, the important policies we are moving forward and meet our newest members.

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Childcare Victory featured in Mental Health Weekly!

Last week the Spokane Alliance’s victory to fund mental health support in childcare centers was featured in Mental Health Weekly!  Childcare team Co-chair  Kerra Bower, who is the creator of the pilot program,  was interviewed for the article. She provided an in-depth description of the challenges families and childcare centers have been facing and the goals of the pilot program. 

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Childcare building relationships

"More help will now be there for families of young kids. Spokane County commissioners are giving more than $316,000 to three daycares: Little Scholars, Parkview Early Learning, and A Bright New Beginning." Both Little Scholars and Parkview Early Learning are members of Spokane Alliance. 

Spokane Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of churches, unions, and community groups representing more than 20,000 adults in Spokane County, has been working with Kerra Bower of Little Scholars, and many others, to allocate ARPA money coming to Spokane, Spokane Valley, and Spokane County. 

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Proposed City Budget Would Raid Affordable Housing Fund

Mayor Woodward wants to prevent the construction of affordable housing by diverting the 1590 Housing Levy funds away from building affordable homes. 

Home. It’s where we lay our heads and make our memories. This most basic of human needs has become out of reach for so many of our neighbors due to dramatic rises in housing prices.

In 2020, the Spokane Alliance organized to ask that the City of Spokane implement a long term, sustainable solution to fund the creation of new affordable housing units. After hearing from members of the Spokane Alliance, FUSE, and the Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium (SLIHC), the City agreed to implement a 0.1% local sales tax, intended to generate $6M a year for 20 years and fund the creation of 2000 homes.

On Monday 11/21 and 12/05, we are mobilizing to tell City Council City to keep us on the path to ending homelessness by keeping affordable housing dollars for affordable homes. Join as an audience member or to provide testimony!

We can ensure that everyone has a place to call home in our communities by coming together to protect the Housing Levy funds that we fought for from being raided to patch a hole in the Mayor’s budget.


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September Updates

Here's the news at the Alliance this month!

Welcome Laurel Fish, Senior Organizer

A message from Mary Lou Johnson, President of the Spokane Alliance Board:

The leaders of the Spokane Alliance are happy to announce that Laurel Fish has joined us as our new Senior Organizer!  Laurel replaces our terrific Katie Zinler to continue our work for the common good. Many of you will recognize Laurel as the Co-Chair of the Strategy Team and active member of both the Childcare/Mental Health Team and our new Language Access Team. So happy to have you in this new role, Laurel!

Laurel Fish

A message from Laurel:

I am honored to have the opportunity to work with the Spokane Alliance in building an inclusive, strategic, and powerful coalition.  

I was born and raised in Spokane and moved back here with my family in 2019. I have spent the last eight years as a union representative and organizer. My time in the labor movement taught me that developing leaders to recognize and wield their own power is one of the few ways to create long-lasting change.

While Spokane has grown and changed in the decade I was away, the disparities we face—especially across race and class—have also become more visible and acute. The challenges we confront are bigger than any one organization can tackle on their own. I believe that our coalition is uniquely poised to have the vision, leadership, and power necessary to work on issues that will help create a thriving Spokane.

Looking forward to working you on achieving our collective vision,


August of Action: Childcare at the County

August Action Childcare Postcards outside Spokane County

We brought our power to the Spokane County Commissioner’s public meeting every week in August to support childcare stabilization. Over 60 members attended, 21 speakers testified, and 12 institutions came out in support. See coverage of the actions from The Center Square and Spokane Public Radio.

Early childhood development needs long term, sustainable solutions, but right now it needs to be stabilized before the whole industry vanishes. The Spokane Alliance Childcare & Mental Health Team has identified major pressures impacting our families—we know that our community is facing a lack of affordability for working families, an under-resourced childcare workforce and lack of mental health resources in early learning.

We’re asking the Spokane Board of Commissioners to allocate at least $4.5M of their $101M in federal recovery funds to match investments from the City and Valley.

The County Commissioners have not yet stepped up to do their part-–our work isn’t over yet! 


Sign Up for Get Out the Vote Doorknocking with the Alliance

The Spokane Alliance is mobilizing Get Out the Vote days to educate our members and voters on where the candidates stand on our priority issues.

We will be knocking on doors to talk to neighbors about the impact of these elections on our community--accessible childcare, quality jobs, equitable housing, language access, and more!

Dates: Saturday, October 22nd Saturday, October 29th

Time: 10 AM 

Meet at: Parkview Early Learning Center (19 E Queen, Spokane)


Join Us for the Delegate Assembly, Sept 29th, 6-8pm

Join leaders from across the Spokane Alliance for our quarterly Delegate Assembly.

We will be meeting to reflect on our work so far and discern the next steps for building our unity and power as a coalition. 

Each member organization should have 3-4 representatives present. Participating ensures your organization's interests are represented. 

Date: Thursday, September 29th

Time: 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Location: Spokane Education Association (230 E Montgomery Ave, Spokane)

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Send a Thank You to Spokane City Council

On April 28th, 255 members of the Spokane Alliance and 25 kids from 17 member institutions were successful in getting commitments from the City of Spokane and City of Spokane Valley to allocate a total of $4.5 M towards Childcare Stabilization of American Rescue Act Plan funds! 

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