February 26, 2022

RSJ Spotlight: The Carl Maxey Center

Racial & Social Justice Partner Spotlight Series

Each month we will be spotlighting an organization or individual in our community who is putting in the work to create real and lasting change for a more equitable Spokane.

Our Racial & Social Justice Partner Spotlight this February is the Carl Maxey Center.

3 minute read

How long has the Carl Maxey Center been doing this work?

The Carl Maxey Center was founded in 2019 as a Black-led nonprofit that would serve as a cultural center, gathering place, and support for community members in Spokane. The Center will join in with other local businesses and organizations with a goal to help to revitalize East Central Spokane by empowering the community that already exists there.

What mission or vision guides the Carl Maxey Center’s work?

“The mission of the Carl Maxey Center is to change lives and improve the well-being of Spokane’s African American/Black community by expanding the educational, economic and cultural opportunities that are currently available, and by addressing the racial disparities and racial inequities that currently exist and have persisted in this area, with a long term goal of uplifting and empowering Spokane’s Black community from the inside out.”

How does the Carl Maxey Center live out this mission?

The Carl Maxey Center lives out this mission in 4 key areas:

  • Racial & Social justice and Equity
  • Business/Workforce Development & Economics
  • Education & Advocacy
  • Cultural Enrichment

Carl Maxey, the man the Center is named after, was a prominent lawyer and boxer in Spokane, he won national titles, and also fought for civil rights right here in the area. As a powerful symbol of Black history in Spokane, he represents the Center’s vision to incorporate elements of African American history into the design and structure of the Center.

The Carl Maxey Center is located in the East Central neighborhood, and is currently being remodeled to utilize green technology, honor Spokane’s African American history and stories, and create community space for those in the neighborhood to access for their needs and connect with one another in a dynamic cultural space.

While the Carl Maxey Center is still under construction it has already launched a few programs to get started. Their Emergency Rent and Utility Assistance program is helping to support individuals and families who are at risk of facing eviction in Spokane. Partnering with the city, the Carl Maxey Center has a limited pool of money that they are granting to applicants who meet the listed requirements in order to assist with rent and utility bills. With the covid pandemic continuing to wage on, more and more families are facing eviction and housing instability. The Carl Maxey Center puts those who are typically served last, first.

With economic and business development programs the Carl Maxey Center uplifts Black-owned businesses through the Black Business Support Team, the Black Business & Professional Alliance and The Spokane Black Business Directory. This directory serves as one place where you can find nearly anything you might need, from artists to lawyers. If you run a Black-owned business and would like to be added to the list, call (509) 795-1886.

How can folks get involved or support the Carl Maxey Center?

As the Carl Maxey Center continues to grow, they will need continued financial support from the community to keep the process going. Make a recurring or one-time gift to the Carl Maxey Center here.

Volunteers are always needed, and can currently help out in the following areas: Fundraising/Fund Development, Event Planning, Programs, Community Outreach, Facility/Remodel, and the Advisory Committee. If you have expertise or an interest in helping out in one of these areas, visit the website to fill out the Carl Maxey Center’s Volunteer Form to get in touch with them.

YWCA Spokane’s Racial & Social Justice Committee

Our vision is to strive to be a consistently accurate resource for information on racial, ethnic, and cultural awareness to promote diversity, equity, and inclusivity in employment, in business practices, and in the care and services provided throughout the communities we serve.  For 2022, the RSJ Committee is focusing on

  • Community Partnerships
    • Enhance outreach efforts to community partners and liaisons to share ideas, support each other with action, and solidify connections. View the list of our RSJ Partners.
  • Events
    • Develop and host or co-host events to connect various groups of community members to share and understand each other’s stories. Events include movie nights, Stand Against Racism, equity & growth Challenge, and Transformations Camp for youth.
  • Education & Training
    • Provide training to YWCA staff, board of directors, mission partners and the community to allow awareness of subconscious thoughts or attitudes that affect our perceptions about people, the decisions we make, and the impact on our community.

Join the conversation with our Facebook Group and learn more about our RSJ Committee here.


If you or someone you know should have their advocacy work highlighted through our RSJ Spotlight series, please email our equity coordinator, larae@ywcaspokane.org.

By: Rachel Dannen

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