Avista foundation awards grants

Avista foundation awards grants

Alison Boggs Staff writer

A $3,000 grant will help build a playground at a Goodwill Industries child-care center.

A $10,000 gift will help pay down debt associated with creating Andrew Rypien Field, a sports complex for kids in Hillyard.

And $2,000 will help purchase and install a walk-in freezer at the Bonner Community Food Center in Sandpoint.

These grants are among the first awards made by Avista Corp.’s year-old nonprofit foundation. A total of $33,500 was donated recently to 10 regional nonprofit organizations.

“It’s one more piece to help finish paying off the property,” said Don Garves, executive director of Spokane Youth Sports Association, which developed the field named for the 3-year-old son of Spokane football great Mark Rypien. Andrew Rypien died of cancer in 1998.

Garves said SYSA still has $260,000 in debt on the field, where 5,000 kids already have played soccer. Developed from a formerly contaminated junkyard, the field also includes basketball courts, softball fields and a walkway.

The Avista Foundation, established by Avista Corp., focuses its giving in three areas: education, vulnerable and limited-income populations, and economic and cultural vitality.

“There’s such need out there and every grant is worthy of funding, so you have to have some type of initial screen,” said Debbie Simock, the foundation’s executive director. The foundation expects to give away another $38,000 before the year is over, Simock said.

Other grant recipients included: Community Action Partnership in Coeur d’Alene; Nova Services; RSVP of Spokane County; Single Parents Overcoming Challenges; Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs; Spokane Valley Community Center, and West Central Community Center.

The foundation began in November with an endowment from Avista of $2 million. That money came from the company’s sale of its remaining stake in Itron Inc. Avista was the majority owner of the maker of metering equipment until Itron went public in 1993.

Copyright 2003 Cowles Publishing Company

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