Spokane prides itself on its compassion and philanthropy all year, but especially during Spokane Gives Week. During the inaugural Spokane Gives Week in 2014, more than 7,000 volunteers logged a total of 28,400 hours at 106 events. They cleaned community centers, bagged food for families in need, painted classrooms, planted trees and even repaired a fire escape. Organizers are expecting to double those hours this year.
Ultimately, Spokane hopes to gain recognition as the national leader in compassion. A similar week in Louisville in 2013 drew 100,000 volunteers and earned the city national recognition. Mayor David Condon visited Louisville shortly after he took office.
"Mayor Condon challenged their mayor that Spokane is the most compassionate city in the country," says city spokesman Brian Coddington.
Spokane Gives Week will span nine days, kicking off Saturday, April 25, and running through Sunday, May 3. The first event is Cleaning From the Core, where 400 volunteers turn out for a day of city beautification to clean things up for festival season. Spokanites will pick up trash along the river and cover up graffiti. If that's not your speed, other events later in the week surely are.
"There is something for everybody," says Coddington. "An opportunity to connect a passion to a need."
Trees will be planted. There will be events to support people with cancer and autism. Volunteers will be able to run and walk for various causes. Handiwork will be performed. Condon's office and United Way are hoping these experiences will inspire volunteers to keep at it year-round.
"We want to grow compassion to make us the most compassionate city in the U.S.," says City of Spokane Community and Neighborhood Services Director Jonathan Mallahan. "It's really about increasing volunteerism, about showing people how easy it is to get involved in volunteering in our community."
Want to get involved? Go to the spokanegives.org website and pick a project!