Update: We are sad to write that Jen passed away on January 6, 2016. This post was originally published Sept 14, 2015. But to honor her memory, we are republishing it now. Jen was an invaluable asset to the Parks Foundation and to the entire Spokane community. She will be missed for her insight, intelligence, wit and lasting friendship.
Jennifer Hussey is currently part of our board, acting as the chair for our Make A Splash In A Kid’s Life Program. Jen was with Make A Splash before it was officially part of the Foundation, and has been a big part of keeping this program growing!
Jen first moved to Spokane in 2008. While living in the very diverse and economically challenged neighborhood of West Central, she fell in love with the turn-of-the-century craftsmanship of the homes and moved into a 105 year old house. Her love for her community and passion for making a difference motivated her to get involved with the neighborhood council under the leadership of Brenda Corbett. That same year was the year all the splash pads and pool renovations were completed and sadly following these upgrades, kids began getting charged to use all city and county pools. Prior to that kids never had to pay to swim.
Brenda and a group of volunteers, including Jen, knew that there would be a lot of kids who would never get to swim because they just didn’t have the money. This inspired them to create Make a Splash In A Kid’s Life, so that kids would not be locked out of the pools for the summer. In 2010, Jen took over as chair for Make A Splash, with the Spokane Parks Foundation acting as fiscal sponsor. When Heather Beebe-Stevens became the executive director, Make A Splash was adopted as an official program and gained a seat on the Board, with Jen becoming a board member.
Jen has a double master’s degree in history and public administration and wanted to write and make a difference. Serving on the board at the Spokane Parks Foundation Jen has made a big difference in her community. Her goal is to create a large enough endowment that annual fundraising for Make A Splash will be for extras, and that that every child is able to go swimming each year simply from sustainable withdrawals from the fund.
Jen believes Make A Splash has made children realize that there are people in the community who care about them and want to help them. A board member should be dedicated to making a difference in their community and Jen continues to be very dedicated to the Foundation. We at the Spokane Parks foundation are very thankful for Jen and her awesome contribution to the Foundation and more specifically the Make A Splash In A Kid’s Life Program!