Close Menu

Whitworth Partners With REACH West Central To Build Air Purifiers for Community Members

May 31, 2022

Whitworth University’s Dornsife Center for Community Engagement has teamed up with REACH West Central to distribute dozens of free air purifiers to the residents of the West Central neighborhood. The air purifiers will be given away at the West Central Neighbor Day event on June 3 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. in A.M. Cannon Park at the West Central Community Center.

A dozen Whitworth students partnered with REACH volunteers on April 30 to build the low-cost purifiers. REACH West Central is a nonprofit community development corporation that supports the West Central community in Spokane through advocacy to improve environment and quality of life, foster economic development, and promote arts and culture.

According to Spokane County Community Development Block Grant data, 74 percent of West Central residents fit the designation of low-to-moderate income.  

Since 2015, Spokane has averaged eight days a year where air quality failed health-based standards for fine smoke particles during wildfire season. Many children in the West Central neighborhood are affected by breathing problems such as asthma, which is exacerbated by wildfire smoke, and many neighborhood residents live in aging housing with poorly insulated, drafty doors and windows. Few homes in West Central are equipped with air conditioning or with an HVAC system that allows for efficient air filtration. These air purifiers will provide residents who don’t have access to efficient air filtration with a simple way to clean indoor air during wildfire smoke events.

“We’re grateful for all the assistance we’ve received from the Dornsife Center,” says Jessie Norris, secretary of REACH West Central. “Their support has made it possible for us to expand this project, both through funding and also through the volunteer efforts of the wonderful students who have helped us.” 

REACH intends to build up to 250 purifiers to be given away to West Central residents before the wildfire season begins. REACH will also educate residents on how to read the Air Quality Index, safely use their purifiers, and replace the filters. The device can be used for years with new replacement filters and will have a meaningful impact on those residents who might not otherwise have the knowledge or resources to build one. 

About Whitworth University:

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Jessie Norris, project manager, REACH West Central, (509) 279-5669 or

Trisha Coder, media relations manager, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or