Upcoming Speakers

April 18, 2024: Welcoming Refugees from Harm to Home

The International Rescue Committee in Spokane welcomes and resettles refugees from countries in crisis by providing support in the areas of resettlement, housing, employment, mental health and wellness resources, financial and digital literacy, ESL tutoring, cultural and community orientation, immigration services, and youth programs. Since opening in 2022, we have served over 1,500 refugees from 28 different countries, engaged close to 100 volunteers, and expanded from 6 to 34 staff, many of whom are former refugees themselves, including 2 former clients. Also presenting will be Elysee Kazadi, IRC Volunteer Specialist, born in the Republic of Congo, grew up in Kenya and is a member of the Rotary Club of Global Action for Refugees & Forced Migrants.  
Planning to attend? CLICK HERE to RSVP!
Program coordinated by Debbie Rauen.

April 25, 2024: The Virtuous Circle: Teaching a community how to be a community

Could "kindness" be a business model? Spokesman-Review editor Rob Curley will explain how Spokane’s oldest and largest news organization embraced the concept of “the virtuous circle” — showing how a community grows in innumerable ways when it works together for the positive. More importantly, this unique strategy illustrates how a company can show leadership during difficult times for its industry to prove that positivity can feed more than just a bottom line ... it can reenergize its hometown.
Dating back to the early days of the internet, Spokesman-Review editor Rob Curley has long been considered one of the newspaper industry’s biggest innovators. Through his times at some of the biggest newspapers in the nation, including The Washington Post and Orange County Register, to working at much smaller papers in his beloved home state of Kansas, like the Lawrence Journal-World, Ottawa Herald and Topeka Capital-Journal, it’s his love of local journalism that drives him. 
After building some of the most award-winning news sites on the Internet, he has been featured on the cover of national magazines and even an Apple commercial. Creativity Magazine named him one of the 50 Most Creative People in the World, and he’s one of the only newspaper editors in the world to give “Tech Talks” to Google's programmers on the web giant’s main campus in Silicon Valley. 
Curley has once again become a highly sought-after speaker at both journalism and civic conferences across the country because of the newspaper’s ground-breaking events series, Northwest Passages. Often drawing crowds of more than 700 people, these events have made The Spokesman-Review a national leader in community engagement, local media literacy and philanthropic-funded journalism. 
Planning to attend? CLICK HERE to RSVP!
Program coordinated by Rick Eichstaedt

May 2, 20214: Revitalization of Historic Hillyard

Spokane's historic Hillyard neighborhood - once its own city - was a bustling center of commerce and community in the early 20th Century. Anchored by the Great Northern's Hillyard Shops, and the abundant jobs provided therein, it had all the essential elements we know today are vital for a community to thrive - from walkable streets to diverse housing types, markets, saloons, theaters, and recreational facilities, as well as other, more colorful opportunities. It was a little slice of the “Wild West," due largely to the outsized presence of the railroads, but by all accounts, it functioned well even after being swallowed up by a growing Spokane in 1924. But as activity at the railyards slowed to a trickle - and eventually ceased - a cycle of decline, poverty, and disinvestment took hold. By the early 2000s, Hillyard was home to one of the poorest census tracts in the state, and the once-thriving commercial core along Market Street was marked by abandoned buildings, boarded up windows, and was little more than a thoroughfare for trucks bound for Canada. To begin to turn things around, the City of Spokane created the Northeast Public Development Authority in 2011. This tax-increment-funded organization is charged with making targeted investments back in Hillyard to catalyze growth, and private-sector investment, and to guide Hillyard back toward a path of progress and prosperity.
Jesse Bank has been the Executive Director of the Northeast PDA since mid-2022. During this time, he has initiated a large-scale planning effort designed to operationalize the community's vision for Hillyard and to prioritize the Northeast PDA's future investments. Along with his partners at the City of Spokane, he has initiated over $1 Om in new infrastructure investments in the district and is planning a 30,000sf mixed-use building on a piece of land the PDA recently acquired through the City's asset transfer process. Jesse's background is in district-scale redevelopment with a focus on the revitalization of historic structures. He holds an M.Arch from the University of Oregon and an MBA in real estate from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Planning to attend? CLICK HERE to RSVP!
Program coordinated by Dave Troyke.
Propose a Program
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Upcoming Speakers

Rob Curley, Editor
Apr 25, 2024
The Virtuous Circle: Teaching a community how to be a community
Jesse Banks, City of Spokane
May 02, 2024
Revitalization of Historic Hillyard
Andy Billig
May 09, 2024
What I've learned as a member of the WA State Senate
Previous Rotary Meetings
CLICK HERE to view recordings of previous meetings.
CLICK HERE for presenter slide decks