Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Whitworth alumni couple win Peirone Prize for philanthropy

Brent, '06, and Amy Hendricks, '09, are actively dedicating their lives to others through the nonprofit organization they founded four years ago, Global Neighborhood, which serves Spokane's refugee community. They've made such an impact on the region that they were awarded the prestigious Peirone Prize, awarded by The Inlander newspaper last month.

Global Neighborhood's main mission is to provide support and friendship to refugees adjusting to a new culture. Rather than focusing on material goods, Global Neighborhood aims to help refugees with their English, to provide driver's license assistance, to help with job searches, and to provide jobs themselves. The organization started and continues to run Global Neighborhood Thrift, which provides jobs and employment training for refugees.

Amy Hendricks says the most fulfilling part of her job is seeing volunteers become better people because of their interactions with refugees.

"A misconception about serving among the poor and disenfranchised in cities is that 'we' are serving 'them,'" Amy says.

Amy Hendricks hopes that winning the Peirone Prize will spread the message about Global Neighborhood and its mission. The prize promotes philanthropists who are serving Spokane. All nominees are relatively young and extremely active in giving back to their community.

"One of Global Neighborhood's goals is to advocate for refugees who don't have the tools or access to make their voice heard," says Amy. "We hope that when people read about Global Neighborhood, they will be inspired to learn about refugees and to get involved, either by donating their time or resources."

Amy credits Whitworth with teaching her how to interact with places and people who were scarred by injustice, poverty and loneliness.

"Instead of fleeing from what may seem difficult, controversial, or devastating, I realized that these are the very things that I need to lean into, learn about and explore," she says.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or eproffitt@whitworth.edu.