Carl Maxey Center gets endowment in honor of late executive director Sandy Williams

click to enlarge Carl Maxey Center gets endowment in honor of late executive director Sandy Williams
Photo courtesy of Rick Williams
Sandy Williams (right) and her partner Patricia Hicks (left) visited the San Juan Islands over Labor Day weekend, where a tragic plane crash took their lives and those of eight other people. Williams' work in Spokane is being honored with a new endowment fund for the Carl Maxey Center, which she founded.

Spokane's Carl Maxey Center has received a new endowment seeded with an initial investment from Inland Northwest organizations after the death of executive director Sandy Williams earlier this month.

Williams, a longtime journalist, civil rights activist and advocate for Black and LGBTQ communities, founded the Carl Maxey Center three years ago. She had put her newspaper the Black Lens on a one-year hiatus to focus on the new East Central community center when the building opened its doors in February. Williams, her partner, and eight other people died in a plane crash into Puget Sound over Labor Day weekend, spurring an outpouring of community support and recognition for her many years of dedicated service.

The endowment, dubbed the Sandy Williams Fund, was announced Tuesday by the Innovia Foundation, Washington Trust Bank, Avista Foundation, Empire Health Foundation and the Cowles Company, which contributed a combined $50,000 to start the fund.

“Our hearts are heavy as we mourn the loss of Sandy Williams, a courageous journalist, activist and beloved member of our community. Her voice was a powerful force for change, and she will be deeply missed and long remembered,” said Shelly O’Quinn, CEO of Innovia, in announcing the fund. “We look to her extraordinary legacy and unwavering vision for racial equity and justice to find our way forward.”

To learn more or donate to the fund, visit

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About The Author

Samantha Wohlfeil

Samantha Wohlfeil covers the environment, rural communities and cultural issues for the Inlander. Since joining the paper in 2017, she's reported how the weeks after getting out of prison can be deadly, how some terminally ill Eastern Washington patients have struggled to access lethal medication, and other sensitive...