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Linda Finney Diversity Scholarship

Founded by Leadership Spokane’s Diversity Day Scan Team from the Class of 2013, the scholarship is named in honor of Leadership Spokane’s Executive Director Emeritus, Linda Finney. The Class of 2013 wished to recognize Finney for her commitment to diversity and outreach.

 “I was taken completely by surprise,” stated Finney.  “It is a huge honor. It feels like a validation of so much I have worked for and care about. ‘Thank  you’ doesn’t begin to express my gratitude.” The Scan Team created the scholarship to make a positive change that would extend beyond their class experience.  The scholarship will strengthen Leadership Spokane and the Spokane community by further encouraging diverse participation in the Leadership Spokane program.

The Class of 2013 raised over $2500 to fund two partial scholarships this first year.  At Commencement on the 13th of June, Shelly Wynecoop, Director and Chief Executive Officer at Spokane Tribal College was the first recipient. The scholarship is intended to be need based and provide funding for individuals who are not already sponsored or otherwise could not afford tuition on their own.  The scholarship will be permanently funded by the Leadership Spokane community and administered by the organization.

The Diversity Day Scan Team: Chris Bernardi (Itron), John Dickson (Spokane County), Speed Fitzhugh (Avista), Zane Huffman (FLSmidth), Chris Romey (Spokane Emergency Physicians), Korry Sheffler (Itron), Connie Stark (StarkTours), Tracy Swank (Northeast Community Center)

Recent Recipients

DaZelda Scholarship

The DaZelda Scholarship, created and administered by Susan and Ira Amstadter, Class of 2000, owners of Express Employment Professionals, is awarded to an incoming member of the adult Leadership Spokane program who demonstrates a passion for his/her community, finds creative and innovative solutions to problems, has a zest for life and can answer the question, “What can you do today to strengthen your heart and increase your capacity to do good in the world?”

 Zelda was Ira Amstadter’s grandmother and lived to be 97 years old. The DaZelda Scholarship was established in Zelda’s memory to honor her spirit of zest, vigor and sense of community. Founder Ira Amstadter says “My grandmother was a woman full of life and zest, and I am sure she would be proud of how we have chosen to honor her. The scholarship is a family choice. The applications are passed around to almost all the members of the family, and we collectively choose the winner. She would be proud that we as a family are helping to improve the community one person at a time.”

Recent Recipients

WEV Education Scholarships

Established in 2018, The WEV Education Scholarships are funded and awarded by Dirk Vastrick, Class of 2016. These scholarships were founded in memory of his parents, Walter & Eleanor Vastrick. Walt and El were always committed to education. They demonstrated what it means to be lifelong learners who also volunteer their time and knowledge to further literacy and life skills education in their community. They would be proud to know that scholarships for servant leader training are being presented in their name.

The WEV Education Scholarships are awarded in consultation with Leadership Spokane staff to those applicants who can contribute unique talents, connections, and/or awareness to the class. The intent is to enhance the experiences of not only the recipients, but also of all their classmates and the greater Spokane community. The successful candidates will additionally have a demonstrated financial need that would otherwise prevent participation in the Leadership Spokane program. If the purpose of these scholarships could be summed up, it would read like this:

"You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, and with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world; you impoverish yourself if you forget this errand." - Woodrow Wilson

Dirk Vastrick is the owner of the workforce training, motivation, and selection firm Dirk Vastrick Presents. 

Past Recipients

Smith-Barbieri Fund Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to an incoming member of the adult Leadership Spokane program who demonstrates a passion for his/her community, who is making a lasting life transition and who has a desire to step up to leadership. The candidate must also have a demonstrated financial need that would make Leadership Spokane tuition a barrier to participation in the program.

“We understand how challenging it can be to make lasting life transitions without a community of support around you,” stated Sharon Smith and Don Barbieri.  “We are working to eradicate the systemic causes that lead to hardships like domestic violence, substance abuse, unemployment and incarceration, but we know that these things still happen. For those times, we work to ensure our vulnerable citizens have access to tools and resources to achieve sustainable well-being and to make their voices heard in community decision making.”

“I have asked myself whether one has to have money or position or a life of advantages in order to be a leader,” remarked Linda Finney. “I think that people coming from challenging backgrounds have much to contribute to the leadership table.  By funding an annual scholarship to Leadership Spokane, the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund is removing some of those barriers.” John Lemus, Community Relations Facilitator at Skils’Kin was the first individual to receive this scholarship at Commencement 2014.

Past Recipients

About the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund

The Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund aims to build upon our region’s strong foundation to ensure that those in need have every opportunity to succeed. With strong community partnerships, creativity and tenacity, we work to reduce poverty, broaden low-cost/affordable housing, foster a more dynamic constituency and spotlight our region.

 If you are Interested in applying for this scholarship, please send and email to