WSU Extension’s Horizons Program Honored for Work

SPOKANE, Wash. – Partnering to promote the Horizons leadership program in the Inland Northwest has earned Washington State University Extension and the University of Idaho honors from Inland Northwest Partners.

INP, a regional, non-profit, economic development organization, last week honored local communities and organizations for outstanding contributions toward economic development in the region. It bestowed “The Partnership Award” on the two Palouse universities for their work with the Horizons leadership program in 42 communities; WSU has worked with 25 communities to date, and UI has worked with 17 communities.

“The Horizons project is all about helping communities help themselves,” said Linda Kirk Fox, associate vice president and dean of WSU Extension. “We are pleased to be in the position to hire and train the community coaches that help communities identify and overcome obstacles to prosperity.”

Funded primarily with a grant from the Northwest Area Foundation, Horizons seeks to reduce poverty in rural and reservation communities with populations of less than 5,000 and poverty rates of 10 percent or more. The program was implemented in Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota and Oregon in 2002.

Last year in Washington and Idaho communities alone, more than 6,000 people participated in education trainings; more than 2,000 engaged in community study circles, and 85 percent of participants reported an increase in leadership skills after training.

Horizon community programs include projects such as expanding education options for all residents, developing public transit systems, developing recycling programs, farmers’ markets and community gardens and economic development projects.