SPOKANE - The Avista Foundation recently announced that it will award $297,000 in grants to 33 non-profit organizations in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska. In response to the ongoing need for community services, this cycle of donations includes funding to aid mental health and homeless programs.

“As the effects of the pandemic persist, we remain committed to investing in organizations that have a positive impact on people’s lives,” said Dennis Vermillion, president and CEO of Avista. “Supporting health and human services is especially critical now, and we recognize that the local needs are evolving.”

One of the larger grants will help build a residency program at Pullman Regional Hospital (PRH). “There is a shortage of family practitioners in our rural communities,” said Scott Adams, Pullman Regional Hospital CEO. “This funding will improve access to quality medical care in underserved areas and help fill that gap.” PRH is working with the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine at Washington State University to create a Family Medicine Residency Program based in Pullman aimed at easing the physician shortage in the greater Palouse area.

Additional donations across Avista’s service territory include the Family Promise of Juneau in Alaska, Northwest Children’s Home in Idaho, and the Foundry Village in Oregon, which provides transitional housing for clientele in Grants Pass, Oregon.

“Avista plays a key role in the communities we serve as an energy provider and as an active partner working for community vitality,” said Avista Foundation executive director Kristine Meyer. “Through the Avista Foundation, we’re able to support a wide range of these non-profit organizations that work to provide food security, shelter, and other health care programs.”

Since its establishment in 2002, the Avista Foundation has made grants totaling over $10 million. The foundation focuses its giving in the areas of vulnerable and limited income populations, education, and economic and cultural vitality. It is a separate, non-profit organization established by Avista Corp., and does not receive funding from Avista Utilities or AEL&P customers through rates.