Innovia Foundation announces LaunchNW initiative; taps CVSD superintendent to lead

Innovia Foundation announced on Monday evening LaunchNW, a community and economic vitality initiative which spans 20 counties in Eastern
Washington and North Idaho. Innovia is the incubation entity for LaunchNW, which will impact urban and rural communities across Innovia’s service region, including close to 150,000 students and more than a million residents.

“The vision of LaunchNW is to advance opportunity, prosperity and growth in our region,” said Shelly O’Quinn, CEO of Innovia Foundation.

A supported promise scholarship will be used as an incentive and change agent to transform the trajectory of our communities beginning in fall 2024. LaunchNW works with community partners to coordinate holistic, wraparound services and supports to break down the barriers to high school completion and post-high school career pursuits, including college or workforce training, such as apprenticeships, and technical certifications.

Spokane County Commissioners have allocated $5 million to serve students and families in Spokane County. A $1 million investment has been made by the City of Spokane Valley, and Senator Patty Murray, through congressionally directed federal funds, has allocated $2.5 million to support implementation in rural communities. Additional contributions have been received from local businesses, donors and foundations. Implementation dollars will be used to support
local programs for children and families.

LaunchNW is committed to five core essentials:
• Sustainable scholarship incentive
• Outcome-based strategic data approach
• Comprehensive supports
• Collaborative governance
• Sustainable funding strategies

Donors, businesses and philanthropic efforts will seed the supported promise scholarship while private grants, city and county investments and funding from school districts will support the implementation of LaunchNW.

LaunchNW has selected Central Valley School District Superintendent Ben Small to serve as its Executive Director. He will officially retire from the school district effective June 30.

“When I made the announcement that I was retiring from public education, I said I wanted to stay in this community and continue to give back to the community I love,” he said. “This opportunity absolutely connects with me on a personal level because it was part of my lived experience.”

Community partners have been working on this initiative for over a year. The collaborative efforts will continue in both implementation and fundraising with the goal of announcing scholarships for the class of graduating seniors in the Spring of 2024.

“This bold investment in our community will not only provide hope and opportunity for students and families today,” said O’Quinn, “but will also positively impact our region for generations to come.”


Innovia Foundation ignites generosity that transforms lives and communities so that every person has the opportunity to thrive. As the community foundation for Eastern Washington and North Idaho, we partner with people who want to make our world better. We work together to address and solve our region’s problems, help those in need, identify and respond to our greatest opportunities and leave a lasting impact. Each year, Innovia Foundation invests nearly $10 million into our communities through grants and scholarships to nonprofit organizations and local students.


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