Spokane Journal of Business

Spark Central lands its largest grant to date

Creativity, tech nonprofit plans to use funds to increase employee hours

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Spark Central, a Spokane-based nonprofit that provides access to creative learning opportunities and innovative technology, has been selected for a $100,000 arts and culture grant from the Washington Women’s Foundation. 

The grant will be disbursed over three years and will fund increased hours for the nonprofit’s employees, executive director Brooke Matson says.

“It’s the biggest grant we’ve ever gotten and we very much needed the grant this year,” Matson says. “These funds will support staff time both to raise the money to support programs and also to bring staff out into the neighborhood.”

Spark Central was one of 70 Washington nonprofits that applied for the grant. While Matson says Spark Central’s board has yet to decide precisely how to increase employee hours, she says the first installment of the grant, which is budgeted for use next year, likely will be used to fund a second full-time position by 2019. Matson is currently the only full-time employee; the nonprofit employs three others part time.

“From what I heard, (the foundation members) were just amazed what we’ve been doing with one full-time person and three-part time people,” founder and board member Jess Walter says. “We’re doing with four people what some organizations need 10 to do.”

Matson says Spark Central’s space, at 1214 W. Summit Parkway, is donated to the organization by Greenstone Homes.

“The Washington Women’s Foundation really liked the fact that we could leverage this grant because we don’t have to pay rent,” Matson says. 

Spark Central was formed in 2016 when two nonprofits, Spark Center and INK Art Space, merged. Spark Central provides community members access to various creative, educational workshops, and programs.

Virginia Thomas
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