January 28, 2022

RSJ Spotlight: The Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach 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 January is the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Community Center.

3 minute read

How long has the MLK Center been doing this work? 

Founded over 40 years ago in Spokane, the center was created by community members to meet the needs of their neighborhood.

What mission or vision guides the work the MLK Center does?

The MLK Center’s mission is to “improve the quality of life for children, youth and families in Spokane through an array of culturally responsive educational and social services within the framework of Dr. King’s vision of equal respect, treatment and accessibility for all people.”

How does the MLK Center live out its mission?

The organization lives out this mission by providing great opportunities and services for families in the area. Led by Executive Director, Freda Gandy, the center has expanded many of these services over the past decade. The MLK Center goes above and beyond to help cover the basic needs of the community through their food bank, counseling, therapy services, Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP) and pop up vaccine clinics. Unique offerings like the Community Court, Teen Tech Center, and Senior Program provide more opportunities for community building and success in the lives of community members of all ages. With a focus on family, the center hosts after school programs, summer programs, and more.

Community Court
The Community Court hosted by the MLK Center twice a week is a neighborhood court that offers a unique experience of collaboration and restoration. While using the tools of the justice system, local organizations, and local service providers the court is able to look for solutions that empower all parties involved to work together with stakeholders and partners to improve the community and find lasting solutions tailored to the individual and their circumstances. By creating a space and support for this court, the MLK Center provides access to real justice in the East Central neighborhood.

Teen Tech Center
The MLK Center’s Teen Tech Center is a state of the art facility with computers, cameras, and so much more for teens to work with as they develop personal projects and keep up with demanding school work. Early on in the pandemic when schools were closed, the Teen Center provided a space with Wi-Fi for students to go and complete their schoolwork. Mentoring and academic support are also available, helping students go further and find their own successes.

All of these programs work together to build community, honor diversity, and to care for their neighborhood, key aspects of the MLK Center’s mission.

How can folks get involved or support the MLK Center?

Signing up to volunteer for the MLK Center is a quick and easy online process. Volunteers for mentoring, academic support, and the food bank are always needed.

The Center also accepts donations, but please check their website for details or call ahead before dropping off items to make sure they meet the current needs of the center. Winter care packages for families can be assembled and dropped off at the center. Learn more about care packages here.

Monetary donations are also accepted. Gifts can be made via their online donation form. Their current giving drive, the Lasting Legacy Campaign benefits the MLK Center food bank. If you are able, please consider donating $27 or more in commemoration of the 27th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr Day of Service. To donate to this campaign text ‘MLKJR2022’ to 44321, donate online, mail or drop off a check at the center made out to the Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center. Online gifts can also be set as recurring, allowing supporters to have a continued impact throughout the year.

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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