Our current priority:

Addressing early learning & childcare in Spokane County.

Top Priorities for Spokane County

1. Provide greater access to mental health services/resources to improve public safety.

2. Expand early learning/childcare capacity to boost the economy. (Priority Spokane’s focus going forward)

3. Expand the tree canopy to enhance the environment.

4. Explore alternative housing such as shared equity, tiny homes, co-housing, etc. to address housing issues.

Selected by vote on 5/31/2023. Visit our partners at www.SpokaneTrends.org and www.SRHD.org for Spokane County data. 

Culture of Health Award

Spokane County increased HS graduation rates from below 60% to over 80% in 5 years! As a result we’re stoked about our national Culture of Health Award from RWJF

Donate Now

Once completed, jump up and down in excitement, that you have contributed to a cause that helps the entire community of Spokane.

Our Mission

Priority Spokane is an endeavor to create a vibrant future for Spokane County by implementing community-defined goals. It is through collaborative and focused efforts that Spokane County will be a flourishing community for all who live and work here.

Our Commitment to Equity: Priority Spokane commits to listening first, meeting with groups where they’re at, and working diligently to be inclusive, culturally informed, and equitable in our work. We envision a thriving Spokane County where all residents live healthy, fulfilling lives free of racism, poverty, violence, and other systems of oppression. Where all residents will have equitable opportunities and resources, leading to optimal health and well-being.

Learn more about us

What We Do

Priority Spokane is a unique collaboration of organizations working to identify and address priorities for Spokane County. We foster measurable improvements in key areas of community vitality. By focusing efforts on a few key priorities, Priority Spokane aims be a catalyst for the creation of a larger thriving community for all who live and work here. We conduct a data-driven community assessment, identify and research root causes, develop regional evidence-based plans, convene community leaders and stakeholders, and lead a collaborative effort to achieve measurable results.  We are so committed to collaboration not competition that we’ve chosen not to become our own 501c3 and instead are fiscally sponsored by the Innovia Foundation (so donations are still tax deductible!). While this makes fundraising more difficult, not being our own 501c3 assures we’re reliant on community partnerships to conduct our work and is one of the things that makes us unique.

PDF of basic info

What We're Doing

Priority Spokane is working to reduce the harmful impacts of family violence and trauma across Spokane County by expanding Peer Support.  We know that the trauma caused by family violence is at the root of many of the larger problems facing Spokane County: homelessness, mental health, addiction, etc.  For instance, from our previous work addressing student and family homelessness, we discovered that domestic violence is the 2nd leading cause of family homelessness in our region.  We’re expanding Peer Support to prevent family trauma, reduce suicide rates, enhance the equity and quality of services, provide meaningful employment, reduce hospitalization rates and associated costs, and address trauma and stress caused by COVID-19.  See our complete plan here.

How We're Going to Do It

Priority Spokane tried something new!  We’ve used a community mapping process to identify causal loops, gaps in resources, and root causes that helped us get at the heart of our family trauma and violence problem in Spokane County.  We’ve used this map to guide the development of our final plan.  We couldn’t do this alone, so we’ve worked side by side with researchers, funders, providers, experts, media, businesses, and individuals to assure that Spokane County is a safe place free of violence for the children and families who live here.

Where we are in our

We've found a 3-5 year system that works. Here's an infographic that shows how and where we are in determining and achieving our goals.

5 years

A Word from Mayor Lisa Brown

“The City of Spokane is proud of the collaborative work Priority Spokane accomplishes for our region and is honored to support their mission as a member.”

-Mayor Lisa Brown

A Message from Spokane County Commissioner Chris Jordan

“Priority Spokane has a track record in Spokane County of moving the needle on important issues in education, homelessness, and mental health – by bringing people together.  I’m proud to contribute to their ongoing collaborative, data-driven efforts to help build a region where every family can thrive.”

-Chris Jordan, Spokane County Commissioner


Research is extremely important when finding a solution to any conflict or problem, and this priority is no different.

Our Framework Coming Soon

Who We Are

Priority Spokane brings together leaders and stakeholders from government, education, universities, business, health, Tribes, philanthropy, and nonprofit sectors. It’s only through their guidance, coordination, and support that we succeed. Below are our outstanding Steering Members who have committed to working together to improve the health and vitality of Spokane County.  Are you interested in becoming a member?  Contact us.
Avista Corporation

– Melanie Rose, Regional Business Manager

City of Spokane

– Mayor Lisa Brown

-Alternate: Dawn Kinder, Director of CHHS

-Council Member Paul Dillon

Community Building Foundation

– Katy Sheehan, Executive Director

Scholarship Sponsor!

Kaiser Permanente

– Angela Matson, Marketing Strategist


Kalispel Tribe of Indians

-Leslie Bytnar, Charitable & Governmental Affairs Manager (Secretary/Treasurer)

Scholarship Sponsor!

MultiCare Health Foundation Inland NW

– Jennifer Vigil, Equity & Outreach Program Manager

Numerica Credit Union

– Melanie Whalen, VP of Analytics and Insights

Empire Health Foundation

– Lu Hill, Community Engagement & Strategy Director

Gonzaga University

– Dr. Yolanda Gallardo, Dean School of Education

Greater Spokane Incorporated

– Stacia Rasmussen, Health & Life Sciences Business Development Manager 

Innovia Foundation

– Dr. Scott Ferguson, Associate Director of Grants (Chair)


Providence Health Care

– John Kleiderer, Chief Mission Integration Officer
– Christina Kamkosi, Manager Community Health Investment Programs

Spokane County

-Commissioner Amber Waldref

-Commissioner Chris Jordan

Spokane Regional Health District

– Danielle Wrenn, Program Manager Data Center

United Way of Spokane

– Mark Tucker, Interim CEO

Washington State University Health Sciences

– Andrew Perera, Director of Student Equity, Leadership, and Community HUB

Women Helping Women Fund

– Geneva Johns, Operations Director

Community Minded Enterprises

-John Hindman, CEO

Excelsior Wellness Center

Drew Comito, Associate Director (Vice Chair)

Asuris Northwest Health

-Brady Cass, President

Junior League of Spokane

-Ann Smith, President/Sustainer

Believe in Me Foundation

-Julie Wukelic, CEO

Spokane Fire Dept.

-Jamie McIntyre, Community Risk Reduction Manager

Eastern Washington University

-Dr. Vernon Loke, Associate Dean


Priority Spokane’s charter allows for up to 30 Steering Committee organizations with up to two voting members being from the same organization. Most organizations pay an annual membership fee of $2,500* per voting member which funds the administrative costs of the organization. Members guide the organization and participate in the community assessment process and receive: 1 vote per membership, recognition as a member in all publications and press releases, recognition as a member on our website, annual recognition via social media, public recognition at all Priority Spokane events and an invitation to several annual private events.

Our Staff

Ryan Oelrich MA, MBA  Executive Director

Ryan became Priority Spokane’s Executive Director in 2015. A Gonzaga University Graduate, he’s founded and directed several nonprofit organizations and businesses. He’s a RWJF Culture of Health Fellow and received the Peirone prize for service in 2016. He’s received Congressional recognition for his work on poverty issues and is an advocate for increased coordination and collaboration to achieve results which was the subject of one of his TED talks. He formerly served as a Spokane City Council Member.


Community Sponsorships

Sponsor a community organization whose voice, experience, and perspective are needed at the table at a reduced rate of $2,250 per year. Community Sponsors help us assure that diverse voices are equitably included at the table. Please contact us for additional details. Thank you to Avista Utilities, Community Building Foundation, Kaiser Permanente & Kalispel Tribe of Indians for their past sponsorship support. 

How you can help

Making measurable change in our community requires community-wide action through collaboration and through individual action, such as volunteering and contributing resources. Priority Spokane is committed to collaboration not competition and as a result has chosen not to become a 501c3.  Priority Spokane is instead fiscally sponsored by the Innovia Foundation so all contributions are tax deductible.  Not being a 501c3 assures that our organization has to partner and collaborate with other community organizations to fundraise and conduct our work, and is one of the things that makes us and our process unique. We appreciate your support and investment in our work.

Get in touch

Contact Us

We'd love to hear from you regarding any general questions, suggestions, or comments.

We're a busy group that is constantly working to reach our goals, but will get back to you at our earliest convenience.

Office Phone
(509) 499-0536
Email Address