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Grant to Extend Poverty-reduction Efforts in 40 Rural Washington Communities

SPOKANE, Wash. — The efforts of 40 rural Washington communities to help themselves reduce poverty and improve prosperity will receive a boost, thanks to a grant from the St. Paul, Minn.-based Northwest Area Foundation.

The foundation has announced a $300,000 grant to Washington State University Extension to help the 40 rural communities in the state that participated in the Foundation’s Horizons program over the past five years. Horizons is an 18-month leadership development and community planning process aimed at reducing poverty in communities of less than 5,000 people with high poverty rates.

The new grant will be used to help the Horizons communities build partnerships to continue their prosperity-building efforts, according to Doreen Hauser-Lindstrom, WSU Extension Horizons Project Director.

“The funding will provide additional leadership training and support to increase the effectiveness and expand the asset and wealth building efforts that the 40 communities launched through their participation in the Horizons process,” she said.

The grant was part of a package of awards totaling $1.9 million to seven state universities recently approved by NWAF to expand the poverty-reduction work in 260 communities in seven states. The funds will support work such as financial-literacy education for youth and adults, business training, leadership development, public policy engagement and building awareness and use of tax credits for low-income families.  Grant dollars will also be used to further community action plans, leverage public and private funding and to identify resources communities can tap into to sustain their work.

All 260 Horizons communities will participate in monthly webinars to build connections, share ideas and experiences, and learn about potential collaborative opportunities to advance their poverty-reduction strategies.

The grant will enable WSU Extension to provide additional coaching, training and resources to Washington’s Horizons communities. More information about the program and a complete list of the 40 communities that have completed the Horizons process is at http://horizons.wsu.edu.

The Northwest Area Foundation is dedicated to supporting efforts by people, organizations and communities in an eight-state region to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable prosperity. More information on the foundation and its work is at http://www.nwaf.org.

Media Contacts

Doreen Hauser-Lindstrom, WSU Extension Horizons Project Director, 509-358-7686 doreen@wsu.edu