Our past priority : 2009-2014

Assure that Spokane County students graduate from high school.

Donate Now

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

What We Did

In 2006, less than 60% of students in Spokane Public Schools were graduating from high school. Research showed that failing to graduate dramatically increases the likelihood of experiencing other serious problems like poverty, unemployment, and homelessness.  We intervened along with a collaboration of community partners and by 2013 increased the graduation rate to nearly 80 percent earning Spokane County the Robert Wood Johnson’s Culture of Health Prize.  The graduation rate has since continued to increase.



How We Did It

Priority Spokane brought together schools, businesses, foundations, government, and social service organizations to collectively address the problem.  We partnered with Gonzaga University to research the issue and then we used that research to develop a regional plan.  Our partners at area foundations helped fund the work in addition to a national grant. The plan started with the creation of the Early Warning System (EWS) which was launched in Spokane Public Schools.  This system monitored student attendance and grades in real time and provided alerts to school staff when students were struggling.  The EWS platform was developed after analysis of local data showed that there are clear predictors- such as higher level of truancy- among students as early as 3rd grade that increase the likelihood of dropping out of school later on. The goal of EWS is to identify students at risk of dropping out and then provide a tailored intervention.  In addition, Spokane developed Community Attendance Teams (CASTs) which are comprised of educators, business leaders, and nonprofit representatives.  They work with middle school students who have had four unexcused absences during the school year.  Before a truancy petition is filed, a CAST meeting is set up to support and work with the student to provide solutions.  Finally, Spokane County partnered with businesses to build a pipeline to better jobs through the construction and creation of Spokane Valley Tech, a collaborative effort of four county schools and a local energy company to provide training and education for area students around science, technology, engineering, and math. Read more about it, watch a video, and see the award won as a result by clicking 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


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

Our Framework

Common Agenda

Increase High School Graduation Rates

Shared Measurement: Community Dashboard
Common Mental Health & Homelessness

K-8th Grade Students






Course Completion

Mutually Reinforcing Activities



Juvenile Justice

Faith Based


Youth Development






Support Network



Early Warning Systems

Academic Support

Social Support

Extended Learning

Professional Development

Volunteer Engagement


Identify Model Practice Resources

Which schools need what? How much? When?

Conduct Ongoing Research & Program Evaluation

Monitor data over time.

Gap Analysis

The steps we’ve determined are necessary to reach our goals.

There are limited initiatives currently focusing on K-8th grade students and their families that are imminently at-risk of being homeless or are doubled up (unstably housed) with another family/friends; these families do not qualify for HUD funding or housing assistance.

By stabilizing these families, we are preventing the trauma students would experience by being homeless. We define mental health in its broadest sense, not referring solely to diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. Specifically, we are looking at preventing the chronic, traumatic stress experienced by homeless students.

How you can help

Making measurable change in our community will require community-wide action through collaboration of agencies and organizations and through individual action, such as volunteering and contributing resources.

Make a Donation

Donation Link

If you’d like to donate, visit the Innovia Foundation website:

Select the Priority Spokane Fund and note ‘Priority Spokane’ in your donation.

How it Helps & Where it Goes

The Priority Spokane Fund has been established within the Innovia Foundation our fiscal sponsor. To contribute, click on the “donate” button to your left, or copy and paste the link listed below. Select Priority Spokane Fund from the drop-down list in step 1. The Steering Committee will make decisions on the award of funds in the form of grants to non-profits and agencies working on Priority Spokane issues.

Once completed, jump up and down in excitement that you have contributed to a cause that helps the entire community of Spokane. Also, close your eyes and imagine all of the high fives and thank you’s that we’re sending your way.

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