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PHILANTHROPY 2007 

Stories by DOUG NADVORNICK, TED S. McGREGOR JR., DAVE TURNER, ANN M. COLFORD, TIM BROSS & r & & r & THE PHILANTHROPY CONNECTION & r & & r & by DOUG NADVORNICK & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & W & lt;/span & hen I worked at Spokane Public Radio, part of my job involved on-air fundraising. Twice a year for several days, my colleagues, dozens of dedicated listeners and I would take turns interrupting programs, extolling the virtues of our two radio stations and asking listeners for money. Sometimes we'd get tired and a little punch drunk and joke about getting that one big pledge from Bill Gates or Paul Allen that would end our drive and the misery of having to ask people for money.





That was my introduction to philanthropy. Somewhere during my 34 fund drives I learned to bury my innate shyness and shamelessly ask people to part with their greenbacks. Those experiences taught me that there was rarely a sugar momma or daddy who would come forward to save us, and that huge goals are reached one donation at a time.





That thought was reinforced when Jane Johnson, the CEO Emeritus of the Museum of Arts and Culture, told me about the MAC Foundation's recently-completed $2 million endowment campaign.





"We'd start by doing initial interviews with prior donors to the museum and others who have cultural interests, to see if they would help us," says Johnson, who led the endowment campaign. Then came a feasibility study to see if the fundraising campaign had a chance of being successful. Then came the work of meeting individually with potential donors, of developing public campaigns, of holding fundraising events and, finally, of securing the necessary donations, one at a time.





It takes years to raise the money for big ticket projects like the Kroc Community Center in Coeur d'Alene, the Fox Theater or a new building at one of the region's universities. But philanthropy is more than contributing to multi-million dollar projects.





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & A & lt;/span & t my house the charitable solicitations come in the mail once or twice a week. The letters usually read something like this: "Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Nadvornick, for your recent generous contribution. With your support we were able to feed five children for a month at the ABC Children's Home. Would you please consider making a second donation so that we can help another five children?" Sometimes the "ask" comes through a phone call or via e-mail. There are too many for us to say yes to all of them. And yet most of us say yes at least once in a while.





According to Giving USA 2007, "the yearbook of philanthropy," researched and written by the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, Americans donated $295 billion last year. That's almost $1,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. Warren Buffett's $1.9 billion down payment on his pledge to eventually give away his vast fortune covered those of us who gave less than the average.





To whom do we give? The report says about a third of the donated dollars went to churches and other religious groups. Education organizations, including colleges and universities, took in about 14 percent, followed in order by foundations, human services groups, organizations that work on public/society issues, health, international affairs and environment/animals.





It should be no surprise that people and businesses donate more when the economy is strong. Giving USA says donations have risen the last three years. That reversed the trend in which people gave less after the 9/11 attacks.





But philanthropy isn't just about giving money; it's also about donating time.





Last Friday, Inlander photographer Chris Bovey and I stopped at the Second Harvest Food Bank warehouse to take pictures of Tomlinson Black South employees, clad in their bright orange T-shirts, lined up in an assembly line, filling cardboard boxes that will eventually be trucked to food banks around the region and distributed to needy families. In another part of the building, other Tomlinson Black employees were painting doors and walls. The Tomlinson Black-Second Harvest match was one of a dozen arranged that day by United Way of Spokane County to promote volunteerism. In fact, hundreds of companies, community groups and schools in our area rely on volunteers every day to build shelter, distribute food, read to children and do hundreds of other tasks that need to be done.





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & W & lt;/span & hen I think of "philanthropy" I think not of Bill Gates or Andrew Carnegie, two men who are known for their good charitable works. I think of my late mother-in-law, Marjorie Orsburn. She lived on $400 a month and yet she regularly gave a certain percentage of her income to her church and to organizations that help women and children. She was a woman who could least afford to give and yet she gave. If it wasn't money, she gave afghans that she'd crocheted. And if it wasn't that, she gave hundreds of hours in free childcare for her two grandchildren.





That's the philanthropic spirit. You need not be a millionaire to make the world a better place. We should all contribute, one person and one good deed at a time.








NO PAIN, NO GAIN








by TED S. McGREGOR JR.





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & A & lt;/span & ccording to the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."





Ever since, preachers have been quoting that passage to keep the well-off squirming in their pews. Today, with more wealth than ever flowing through America's economic veins, many of those wanting to shed their baggage -- either to fit through the eye of that needle or just to bring their lives into perspective -- are giving at unprecedented levels.





Last year may have been America's most generous year ever, according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy. In 2005, there were 11 gifts of more than $100 million in the United States; last year, there were 21 such mega-gifts. And 59 percent of nonprofits reported their 2006 donations were up from 2005.





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & W & lt;/span & hat's happening here? When it comes to money, such questions are often answered by the Wall Street Journal, and in a story last month, the newspaper detailed the trend of "stretch giving" -- giving more than might feel comfortable at first.





One donor, Dr. James Doty, gave 99 percent of his total worth to AIDS research in honor of his brother, who died of the disease. Doty is only 51, but as a neurosurgeon, he can earn more. Still, it's a refreshing turn from the usual lifestyle-of-the-rich-and-famous storyline of blowing all that money Grandpa made on the trappings of affluence. One woman in the article, who had given away most of her money, told her shocked friends, "I don't need more stuff."





And some, according to the Journal, are leaving their kids out, preferring to let them succeed on their own.





"We've seen it ruin so many nice families," Elizabeth Engle told the Journal of her and her husband's plan to give away nearly all of their more than $25 million estate; their only son was told at an early age not to expect an inheritance. He became a medical researcher.





Mark Hurtubise, CEO of the Inland Northwest Community Foundation, says that sentiment is playing out here, too. "People are worried that if they hand that wealth down to their families, their children won't have the same incentives they had to be successful. Some feel that they're inadvertently setting up a kind of welfare trust."





So, instead of giving loads of money to their kids, they're designating the money to causes about which they're passionate. "Some of these people are giving their children the responsibility of distributing their wealth, according to their instructions," adds Hurtubise. It's a way of passing down their value systems through their children.





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & S & lt;/span & o is this just the kind of trend that affects places where the moguls roam, like Seattle or Silicon Valley? Or is it something that is happening here in the Inland Northwest?





"Yes, we're seeing more stretch giving here," confirms Hurtubise.





And Bruce Eldredge, CEO of the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, also reports that he's seeing it, especially in the MAC's recent fundraising for its Foundation.





"Among people who have pledged $30,000 to us, $10,000 a year for three years, many have added a fourth year," says Eldredge. "Or they've called back and given extra, especially as we neared the end of our drive."





Myrtle Woldson gave $3 million to the Fox Theater in 2000 -- a gift that put the $31 million project on track. Now the grand old theater is set to reopen for the public before the end of the year.





But such success has come in fits and starts, as Spokane hasn't always been the most giving -- or affluent -- place.





"Maybe there's no real tradition of philanthropy here," says one longtime local fundraiser. "Other towns are really proud of their philanthropy, but in Spokane it can be really hard."





All agree, however, that there is more money in the region than many think -- and it's not all mining money from a century ago. There's a surprisingly large class of new, young wealth, sources say.





So perhaps it's an educational process. People need to learn that there's a connection between quality of life and the number of thriving charities, arts organizations and educational institutions in a community. Big community efforts just don't happen by themselves.





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & N & lt;/span & ow there's another ambitious effort underway that certainly won't happen by itself: the Mobius Science Center on the Michael Anderson Plaza on the north bank of the Spokane River. Backers of the project envision a world-class facility, to be designed by world-renowned architect William McDonough along with Spokane's own Integrus Architecture. It's designed to be the next step after Mobius Kids, which targets youngsters ages 3-8; the Mobius Science Center, they say, is aimed at people 8-100. Every year, some 55 million people visit science centers across the nation. Of course it comes with a hefty pricetag: supporters need to raise $33 million to make it a reality. (So far, they've raised $5.5 million, with ground-breaking slated for 2009.)


Here's a case where an entire community may be asked to stretch.





"This is going to take a level of giving that Spokane has not previously considered," says Robyn Tucker, campaign counsel for Mobius Science Center.





Tucker should know -- she's a professional fundraising consultant based in the Bay Area who was brought in to orchestrate a successful campaign.





"Culturally, I liken Spokane to Sacramento," says Tucker. "People said we couldn't build a first-class museum in Sacramento, but we've already raised $88 million there" for the Crocker Museum, a project she consulted on.





Tucker says success depends on strong local leadership, which she says the Science Center has in a dedicated, active board, led by James F. Karel, a financial planner who moved to Spokane just six years ago.





"There are a lot of financial people on this board," says Karel, "and we have a great mix of new and old Spokane. We all feel a responsibility to those who are asked to give to build a fiscally responsible facility."





So with the pieces in place, how do you get givers to stretch for your project?





Indiana University's Center on Philanthropy found the No. 1 reason people give is, quite simply, "because they are asked."





"There are not that many people who are comfortable asking for money -- especially a specific amount of money," says Tucker. "I'm passionate about this project, so it's easy to ask for money -- even to go beyond what feels comfortable. We're not looking for a quid pro quo here; we're looking for a greater good -- a world-class institution."





"People want to become part of a venture process," adds Karel, "of building a transforming institution. How many times do you have an opportunity to create a legacy in your community?"





Mobius Science Center will not only be a tourist draw but an educational asset, with a new IMAX theater and nearly 50,000 square feet of permanent and rotating exhibits that local educators can use to create a sense of excitement about math and science in their students -- something America is sorely lacking, as Bill Gates told Congress recently.





"I use Bill Gates' testimony all the time," says Tucker. "He's passionate about math and science education, and that's what it takes. We've got to find that button -- that passion within the person that gives them a reason to give."





To learn more about the Mobius Science Center at Michael Anderson Plaza, call 624-5437, xt. 307. Doug Nadvornick contributed to this story.








KROC CENTER





by DAVE TURNER





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & t truly will be a Christmas gift to the Coeur d'Alene community when it opens in December 2008. The Kroc Center, named in memory of the late McDonald's founder Ray Kroc and his wife, Joan, is a prize for a growing city long in need of a community center.





"We've never had a true community center with swimming pools and fitness centers and community rooms and teen rooms and indoor play areas," says Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem. "Everyone in the community from cradle to grave will have access to the center."





In January 2004, Joan Kroc gave The Salvation Army an estate gift of more than $1.5 billion to establish Kroc Centers in many communities across the country. The gift was the largest estate gift made by an individual in the history of charitable giving. The Salvation Army then announced in May 2006 that Coeur d'Alene would receive $30 million of that to build a Community Corps Center, one of the first nine nationwide, and a $30 million endowment would be established to carry the center throughout its long-term future. As part of the deal, local residents came up with $6.5 million in matching funds. That goal was reached earlier this year.





Other than $1 million donations from the Coeur d'Alene Tribe and the Albertson Foundation, the bulk of the matching funds came from about 450 individual contributors. Retired Idaho Lt. Gov. and state Senator Jack Riggs, a Coeur d'Alene native who led the fundraising, says most of the donations ranged from as little as $10 to a few thousand dollars. "We had a long list of people who gave what they could. They just thought it was such a great project," says Riggs.





The center will serve the entire Idaho panhandle, one of the fastest growing areas in the nation. The Salvation Army, which will also put its name on the center, says a large percentage of the region's families are low-income with children and seniors. Most of those people otherwise could not afford to take part in similar activities.





"Everybody we talked with are hugely supportive of the project," said the army's Maj. John Chamness, who will oversee construction and operation of the center once it's built.





Workers broke ground on June 27. The foundations are being poured, with the goal to have the walls up and the roof on the 120,000-square-foot building before the snow falls so work indoors can go on throughout the winter.





Once the center opens, programs will include worship services, Sunday school, activities for children and teens, Bible studies and women's ministries. The center will also include a performing arts venue, both leisure and competition-sized pools, a gymnasium, game room, lounge and reception areas, community areas, indoor play area and party rooms.





Although day-to-day operations will be paid for by membership fees, Mayor Bloem notes that scholarships will be available so that nobody will be turned away because they can't afford to pay.





"That was what Joan Kroc wanted so people could go there and their lives would be changed," she said. "I never dreamed we could have something this magnificent."








TAPPING THE PASSION





by ANN M. COLFORD





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & C & lt;/span & ommunity needs just keep growing, and there's never a lack of organizations -- human services agencies, educational institutions, arts groups, community development organizations, advocacy groups -- who are soliciting donations. As a donor, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by all the requests, whether your potential gift is large or small. For nonprofits, competition for donor resources has never been greater.





"Over the last decade, there are more entities out asking for money in the community, whether it's somebody's softball team, or a personal illness, or an organization like us," says Ann Price, director of resource development for Community Frameworks, a group that works to develop affordable housing. "Those appeals are all out there, and they can make as much noise as you can."





Amid the competition, fundraisers need to be savvy strategizers in order to get donors to give to their cause rather than the next one. The first step, they say, is public awareness -- to educate the community about their organization's mission, needs and goals.





"You only have so many opportunities to communicate who you are and what you do," explains Cliff Evans, executive director of Cancer Patient Care, which provides social services, medical supplies and financial support to local low-income cancer patients and their families. "We're very small ... but at the same time, we have to differentiate ourselves from other organizations that work with cancer. We have to stand out, to let our potential and current donors know that we do something that's unduplicated here, and we are not funded by large national organizations -- the money comes from here, and the money stays here. We've had to create an image and brand ourselves in a way that communicates our mission."





Once people know the mission, the organization must maintain a good reputation for stewardship of resources and efficient delivery of services.





"Everyone wants to know that you're a well-run organization, that you've been around a while, and that you can talk without hesitation about how you raise money and what you do with it after you raise it," Price says. "Credibility and history in the community are important."





"Absolutely key is the stewardship of those dollars [given]," adds Jane Johnson, CEO Emeritus of the MAC who served as advisor for the MAC Foundation's endowment campaign. "People have to feel that their dollars will be spent well or preserved well."





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & he next step is research to find those people in the community who support your mission. "Don't spend time on people who don't support you," says Price. "Look to those who care about the work you do, either by individual interest or, with foundations or corporations, through natural partnerships. For us, in housing, for instance, there's an affinity with banking and mortgage companies."





Evans, whose organization relies heavily on individual supporters, says he looks for people with a strong emotional connection to CPC's mission. "We have to look for passionate donors and supporters who'll help us do our work."





Through his own personal relationships and those of the staff, board, volunteers and current donors, he searches for potential donors who might share that passion. "Then it's sharing your story, your programs, your mission," he says. "And if it resonates, find a way to cultivate a relationship."





Price concurs. "It's all about relationships. You slowly find out who your friends are -- using activities, using the board of directors. It becomes a process of building and growing and maintaining relationships."





Whether fundraisers are looking for small or large gifts, from individuals or foundations or corporations, the relationship lies at the heart of every gift, Johnson says.





"Fundraising is a very personal thing," she says. "You have to have an appropriate match. People have to feel connected [to your organization]. I don't think there's anything that replaces the personal relationship."





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & J & lt;/span & ohnson, Price and Evans see the relationship between donor and organization as a two-way street. Sure, the organization gets the donor's time, talent or treasure, but the donor has to get something in return -- though not necessarily something tangible.





"Donors are looking for an emotional connection with their charitable giving," says Evans. "We're trying to deliver value -- what [potential donors] want or need -- by helping them support our mission."





Price says it comes back to engaging the donor's passion. "For the donor, it's finding what's meaningful for you, what supports the community in some way, and then finding the organization that's actively engaged in making the community a better place in that way."





Relationships are important across the age spectrum, they say, yet technology is creeping into the mix as well.





"Fundraising using the Internet is coming into its own," says Price. "People want to see information about you online, to get newsletters online."





At Cancer Patient Care, Development Director Rebecca Bishop agrees. "E-giving is huge now," she says. "There's a lot of ways to document your programs, share information through the Website, and have a place for secure online donations."





The good news, despite the competition, is that Spokane continues to be home to many generous people who care deeply about making the community a better place.





"This is a community where the best givers give across the board," says Price, who has raised funds for arts, human services, and now bricks and mortar. "People care about basic needs but also about providing the things that make Spokane and the region a great place to live. People here do care. They're involved."








MAC ENDOWMENT





by DOUG NADVORNICK





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & t was clear last Friday who was the star-of-the-day at Spokane's Museum of Arts and Culture: the 13-foot-high, 42-foot-long skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex. Dozens of children and adults stood and gaped at the skeleton's huge skull, its sharp teeth, the vertebrae down its long back, the huge trunk-like legs. It was, as one fan put it, "a blast."





Museum officials say that with the new facility that opened in 2002, they're able to bring in bigger, glitzier exhibits like "A T. rex Named Sue" to supplement the usual fare of local history and visual art. But the bigger facility, in itself, isn't enough to get major exhibitions here. Sometimes the MAC has to write a big check and that's where the museum foundation's growing endowment comes in. Officials recently announced they've finished a campaign to add $2 million to that endowment.





An endowment is a big pile of money that's invested; the principal is never touched and the interest earned on those investments (expected to be about $150,000 next year) is spent on museum activities. "Certainly the endowment helped us to get 'T. rex' here," says museum CEO Bruce Eldredge. "But it really is more for our permanent collection, to help us care for it and rotate the pieces so that people can see more of what we have."





In the gallery next to Sue is "The Voice of Things," an exhibit that features paintings, photos and several red leather-covered books of maps of Spokane. These are just a few of the museum's tens of thousands of pieces, most of which are carefully stored and rarely seen. The money raised during the recent campaign includes a fund dedicated to preserving and caring for pieces like this.





In fact the campaign created eight new funds, including one that pays the salary of the museum's curator of special collections. Another is dedicated to the museum's American Indian collection and its Center for Plateau Cultural Studies. Another funds the operations of the Campbell House, which sits next to the museum. Another supports ArtFest, the annual three-day June arts festival in nearby Coeur d'Alene Park.





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & W & lt;/span & hen Spokane attorney Peter Moye moved with his family from the San Francisco Bay area to Spokane in 1992 he was impressed with the regional arts scene. For one thing, it was much more affordable than from where he came. "I'd spend about $600 in one evening when we went to see the San Francisco Symphony," he says.





Moye was so impressed that he joined the symphony's board of trustees and is now the chairman of the Fox Theater's board of trustees. He's also the president of the museum foundation's board of trustees.





"When I went out to ask people to give us money, I'd talk about the French impressionism exhibit (2005), the Dutch painting exhibition. The MAC is an easy sell," says Moye. He's working to convince local corporations to spend more for cultural endeavors.





Bruce Eldredge would be happy to hear that. His mission is to diversify the museum's funding base. "We need a three-legged stool," he says. "About one-third state funding [the MAC is one of two Washington museums to collect state money], one-third generated through admission and annual gifts and one-third through our endowment." Right now, he says, less than 10 percent of the MAC's income comes from the endowment. During the next 15 years, his goal is to boost the endowment from its current $5 million level to $20 million. "That would generate about $1 million in annual income for us," he says.





That would allow the museum to bring in more big-name exhibits, such as the National Museum of American History's "Sports: Breaking Records, Breaking Barriers", which is due to open at the museum in late September.








INLAND NORTHWEST COMMUNITY FOUNDATION





by DOUG NADVORNICK





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & n land-rich, people-poor Columbia County, in Washington's southeastern corner, where farming is king and Dayton (population 2,655) is the big city, Frances Broughton Boyd Milham left quite a legacy.





Ms. Milham, who lived much of her adult life in Spokane and died in 1981, was known for her interest in helping disadvantaged children. "We knew we wanted to do something to memorialize her," says Linda Ashlock of Liberty Lake, one of Ms. Milham's nine children, "but we had already set aside more than enough scholarship money for the kids in the family."





So in 1984, Ashlock and her siblings honored their mother by creating an endowment, now called the Columbia County Children's Fund. As endowments go, it's relatively modest. But it's a welcome source of money for agencies that help children in rural Columbia County. "I remember one year we sent a deaf child to camp," remembers Ashlock. "And we bought computers for the elementary school in [the little town of] Starbuck."





Last May, the fund parceled out $2,000 grants to the Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho and to Safe Kids Blue Mountain.





Safe Kids Blue Mountain coordinator Debi Allessio used the money to buy car seats, bicycle helmets and smoke detectors. "A lot of kids in Dayton don't have safety equipment," says Allessio. "Other grants require parents to put up some sort of financial match before we can give them these things. This grant requires nothing like that. Many of the people in Dayton can't afford to pay for these things. Not even a few dollars."





On September 13 Safe Kids will host a community event in Dayton where Allessio and her colleagues will teach parents how to install car seats and how to buy bike helmets that fit. "We'll teach kids about the dangers they face, like riding their bikes on broken sidewalks, and we'll show them their walking routes to school," she says.





The Columbia County Children's Fund is one of about 250 endowed funds managed by Spokane's Inland Northwest Community Foundation (INCF). Many were started by families with gifts of as little as $5,000 or $10,000. Each gift is added to the foundation's rapidly growing $62 million "savings account for the community," according to CEO Mark Hurtubise. Interest from the account is returned to each individual fund every year, using a complicated formula.





"Most donors will tell us, you decide how to distribute it," says PJ Watters, the foundation's director of gift planning. "But more donors are putting restrictions on who should get their money."





The Columbia County fund, for example, restricts its grants to organizations that work in that county and provide children and their families with counseling and help disadvantaged children obtain mental and dental services and supplies like glasses and hearing aids.





"I wanted us to have control over how the money was spent," says Ashlock. Now, she says, a small group of family members reviews the applications for grant money and makes recommendations to an INCF panel, which awards the final grants. "They've never not gone along with whatever the family recommended," says Ashlock.





The foundation has become a popular option for families and non-profits that want to create charitable funds without being involved in administering them.





"They don't want to keep track of all the audits and the legislation that might affect them," says Watters. "So we do that work and we allow them to do the fun part."





In 2006 INCF officials say they awarded nearly $3.7 million from all of the funds they manage to groups all over the region. And the size of the individual funds is growing, with one nonprofit group recently going beyond the $1 million mark.





Linda Ashlock says the size of the Fund is now triple what it was when it was started 23 years ago, thanks to good management. So far, she says, only family members have donated to it, but "we want people to know we'll accept contributions from the public."





You can read about how to create your own family fund or apply for grants from any of the foundation's funds at www.inwconfound.org or call 509-624-2606.








CANCER REBOUND





by TIM BROSS





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & M & lt;/span & ark Few's Gonzaga Bulldogs have confronted their share of challenges during his tenure. Under his guidance they have advanced to the NCAA tournament the last eight years, beaten nationally ranked opponents and been ranked among the top five teams in the nation. But off the court, Few and his wife Marcy are taking on a much different and, perhaps, more difficult challenge.





Cancer.





Through the Coaches vs. Cancer event, Mark and Marcy, with the help of Jerid Keefer -- a regional director for the event and former Gonzaga student -- organize an annual fundraising occasion intended to defeat cancer. In its sixth year, Gonzaga's chapter has since raised approximately $2 million, according to Keefer. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society (ACS).





"The money raised has totally bypassed our goals," Marcy Few says. She explains that in the event's first year, they hoped to raise $100,000. She estimates they pulled in $170,000.





Several other prominent Division I schools participate in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic too, including the University of Connecticut and Syracuse. But Jim Satalin, national director for the Classic, said Gonzaga's success is impressive, especially given its smaller market. "Unlike any other program in the country," he says. "Some programs may make more money, but..." Satalin trails off. There is an air of admiration for Gonzaga in his voice. He explains the difference is Mark and Marcy. "There's no question about that," he says. "Both of them have done such an incredible job."





Marcy is humble about Satalin's compliment, crediting her husband.





"Mark has made so many true friends with the work he does," she says, pointing to the relationships he has developed with other basketball coaches and members of the media. Jay Bilas, college basketball analyst for ESPN, normally charges $12,000 per speaking event. According to Marcy, he delivers a speech at Gonzaga's Cancer Classic for free. "He comes because he likes what Mark has done," she says.





The bottom line, meanwhile, is raising cancer awareness. Marcy's voice appears to tremble as she talks about the sobering realities of the disease.


"We all have been touched by cancer," she says. "All of the people come because of the cause."





She talks about the passion of the event's supporters, and the various head coaches, players and speakers who make it possible. "Every year it's very magical," she says. "I just think it's great that Spokane has been so supportive. We want to thank them."





Dale Goodwin, public relations director for Gonzaga, said the university is proud of the Fews' accomplishments and views their contributions as a hallmark of the Jesuit education. "This exemplifies what we are about," he says. "We are glad the efforts of Mark and Marcy Few are ultimately helping those who really need it."





Marcy estimates she spends hundreds of hours on the annual event. Members of Gonzaga's men's basketball team show their support, too, volunteering each year. Marcy remembers former Zag Erroll Knight and the colorful outfit he assembled for the Classic: a top hat and cane. "Having the players there is huge," she says. "I think they really enjoy it, too."





GU Coaches vs. Cancer Black Tie Gala * 5:30 pm, Saturday, Aug. 25 * The Davenport Hotel * $300 (availability is limited) * 10 South Post Street, Spokane * Call: (509) 242-8291 for reservations * Deadline to register is Monday, Aug. 21

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    Spokane joins national protests over the failure to indict white officers for killing black civilians
    • Dec 10, 2014
  • Screw Big Cities

    A mid-sized manifesto
    • Dec 3, 2014
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