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Kids playing on a playground

Learn About Us
+ See Our Vision for the Future

Our Vision

Our vision is to empower all children to develop the self-confidence they need to succeed.

Our Mission

With your generosity, we fund youth empowerment programs that provide marginalized kids with a safe place to call home, a family that loves them, a feeling of community, and opportunities to learn, build self-esteem, and have fun.

Our Views On Diversity & Inclusion

Our core mission is centered around cultivating a space that radiates warmth, inclusivity, and friendship, where every individual can confidently explore their potential. We are resolute in our commitment to upholding equal opportunities for all, irrespective of backgrounds or circumstances. Our unwavering dedication extends to the creation of a nurturing community that celebrates individuality, nurturing an environment for not just survival, but for meaningful growth and realization of personal potential. Click here to review our DEI Pollicy

Our Values

We are Caring

Our compassionate programs positively impact struggling kids in the community with the hope and inspiration they need for a lifetime.

We are Trustworthy

Our team of reliable professionals transparently manage your donations to ensure the sustainability and success of our programs.

We are Innovative

Our grants empower progressive and energetic programs that help troubled kids heal and develop self-confidence in new and different ways.

We are Fair

Equity is central to our values, as we dedicate ourselves to cultivating an inclusive community where everyone can flourish regardless of their background.

What Are Marginalized Kids?

Marginalization, also referred to as social exclusion, occurs when certain groups of kids do not have equal access to various resources within our society. Marginalization causes the lack or denial of resources, rights, goods, and services and the inability to participate in relationships and activities available to most people in our community.

 

Children are especially susceptible to these forms of marginalization as their childhood experiences pave the way for their adult lives. It is our goal to bridge the gap for these marginalized kids.

At Believe in Me, your donations go directly to support programs that are helping these marginalized groups of kids: 

  • • American Indian and Alaska Native

    • Asian

    • African American

    • Hispanic or Latino

    • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islanders

    • Multi-race

    • Immigrant or Refugee status

  • • Living in poverty or low-income households

    • Experiencing food insecurity

    • Lack of access to adequate housing or homelessness

  • • Aged out of the Foster Care system

    • Currently living in Foster Care or wards of the State

    • Adopted

    • Kids with incarcerated parents

    • Kids of unemployed parents

    • Children of parents with low educational attainment (e.g., did not graduate from high school or attend college)

    • Single-parent households

  • • Physical disabilities

    • Mental health issues

    • Learning disabilities

    • Chronic illnesses

    • Substance abuse disorders

  • • LGBTQ+ identification (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, etc.)

    • Gender non-conforming or non-binary identity

    • Intersex

  • • Belonging to minority religious groups

  • • Limited or no access to quality education

    • Early school leavers or dropouts

    • Learning difficulties not classified as disabilities

  • • Survivors of domestic violence, abuse, or trauma

    • Survivors of human trafficking

    • Experiences with the juvenile justice system

  • • Living in neighborhoods with high crime rates

    • Living in rural areas with limited access to resources or services

    • Isolation due to lack of technological access

  • • Non-native English speakers in predominantly English-speaking regions

    • Lack of fluency in the dominant language(s) of the region they reside in

  • • Pregnant teens or young parents

    • Being an out-of-place youth (e.g., city kid in a rural setting or vice versa)

    • Youth who are stateless or lack official documentation

    • Youth involved in child labor

Get to Know Our Board of Directors

Community Activist. I get involved by diving in headfirst to tackle the problems facing our community. In everything I do, I fight to ensure social justice, empowerment, equality, and enrichment for all.

Chairman of the Board

Aaron Riley

Affliations:

  • Long-term Care Ombudsman, Spokane Neighborhood Action Partners

  • Consultant, New Leaf America

  • Commissioner, City of Spokane Human Rights Commission

  • Former Planning and Evaluation Specialist, Alcohol, Drug, and Mental Health Board of Franklin County

Committee Positions:

  • Member, Board of Directors since May 2020

  • Member, Grants Administration Committee

Education:

  • B.A. Business Administration, Ohio Dominican University

  • Member, Delta Epsilon Sigma National Honor Society

Rule Follower. I use my experience in healthcare management, patient privacy, HIPAA, compliance, and auditing to dig into the heart of it all; building and strengthening relationships based on trust and transparency.

Treasurer

Lori Brennan, MBA, RHIA, CHC

Affiliations:

  • Corporate Compliance & Privacy Manager: Inland Northwest Region, Multicare Health System

Committee Positions:

  • Member, Board of Directors since April 2019

  • Chair, Finance, Property Management, and Investments Committee

  • Member, Grants Administration Committee

Education:

  • MBA, Western Governors University

  • B.S. Health Administration, University of Phoenix

Creative Genius. I help make community connections through integrated digital storytelling. Over the past thirty years I've used my diverse talents to creatively connect people with the solutions they are seeking.

Board Member

Shawn Davis

Affiliations:

  • Principal and Creative Director, Zipline Interactive

  • Former Creative Director, ROBiDEAX Marketing and Design

Committee Positions:

  • Member, Board of Directors since July 2020

  • Chair, Marketing and Fundraising Committee

  • Member, Video Production Team

Education / Awards:

  • B.S. Communications & Advertising, Washington State University

  • 2013 AAF Spokane Ad Fed Ad Pro of the Year

Diplomatic Liaison. I like to bring people together and help find common benefits to maximize value for the participants. And in so doing over the span of time and deals, add just a bit to the global good.

Board Member

Dan Menser

Affiliations:

  • Chairman, Alliance of Angels

  • General Counsel, Teal Communications, Inc.

  • Member of the Board of Advisors, Pollen System Corporation & Everyvine Corporation

Committee Positions:

  • Member, Finance, Property Management, and Investments Committee

Education / Awards:

  • J.D. Program - Cum Laude, Seattle University School of Law

  • B.A. Finance - Cum Laude, Washington State University

Traveling Geek. I’ve found a mission for myself in finding ways to help children of all ages learn how to use technology to improve their lives and careers. Starting as early as possible letting them understand how they have the power to control some things in their lives; no matter how hard the world around them may be.

Board Member

Paul Hutton

Affiliations:

  • Member, WA State Board for Community and Technical Colleges

  • Member, WA Technology Center Board

  • Member, NSF’s National Workforce Center for Emerging Technologies Board

  • President, Blue Earth Cruises LLC

  • Past President, Thought Engineering LLC

Committee Positions:

  • Member, Board of Directors since August 2022

Education / Awards:

  • BA Mathematics & Computer Science, Eastern Washington University

  • Executive Certificate, Technology Leadership, Sloan School of Management, MIT

  • US Air Force Commendation Medal

Solutions Architect. I have been active in economic development matters across Washington State. I'm passionate about serving youth and contributing to community development.

Board Member

John Powers

Affiliations:

  • Founder and CEO, Powers Economics

Committee Positions:

  • Member, Board of Directors since August 2022

  • Member, Finance, Property Management, and Investments Committee

Education / Awards:

  • BBA Business Administration - Finance, University of Notre Dame - Mendoza College of Business

  • Juris Doctorate - Law, Gonzaga University School of Law

Legal Eagle. I serve as the Vice Chair of the Advisory Board of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Eastern Washington University and the Alumni Advisory Board for the Delta Iota Chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity at Washington State University.

Board Member

Keith Trefry

Affiliations:

  • Partner, Paine Hamblen LLP

  • Vice Chair of the Advisory Board of the Center for Entrepreneurship, Eastern Washington University

  • Alumni Advisory Board for the Delta Iota Chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity, Washington State University.

Committee Positions:

  • Member, Board of Directors since August 2022

  • Member, Finance, Property Management, and Investments Committee

Education:

  • B.A. Pre-Law, Cum Laude, Washington State University

  • JD Law, Cum Laude, Gonzaga University School of Law

Media Maven. The mission of the Believe in Me organization is something that resonates with me as the mother of 5 and grandmother of 2. Children need someone to care, someone to act and someone to believe. This organization does all three.

Board Member

Nikki Hilton

Affiliations:

  • Senior Vice President, iHeart Media Multi Platform Group- Spokane

  • President, Red Farm Media

Committee Positions:

  • Member, Board of Directors since January 2023

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Passionate Producer. Humans are builders. We build houses, we build teams, we build ideas, & we build lifelong relationships. I want to leverage my decades of experience in building relationships, to provide the foundation for people that don’t have a strong network, to help them build & accomplish their own dreams.

Board Member

John Reznicek

Affiliations:

  • Director of Sales, Alliance Door Products

Committee Positions:

  • Member, Board of Directors since January 2023

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Read this important message from our Chief Executive Officer. You can even schedule to meet with our CEO in-person.

An Important Message from Our Dedicated CEO

Coffee meeting

Meet Our Administrative Team

Change Maker. The only constant in life is change and I choose to embrace it to make a positive impact. Caring individuals, transparent processes, and innovative technology; I leverage everything I’ve got to make a difference in kids' lives every day.

Chief Executive Officer

Julie Wukelic, MBA

Affiliations:

  • Former Director of Account Based Marketing, Ignitium - Spokane, WA

  • Former Director of Clinical Research, Rockwood Clinic - Spokane, WA

Committee Positions:

  • Active member on all Believe in Me committees

Education:

  • MBA, Washington State University

  • B.A. Finance, Washington State University

Relationship Builder. As a WSU Hall of Fame and local radio sports broadcaster, I do what I can to make sure it's a win/win situation for everyone! I bring my experiences in building community to help with event management, sales, marketing and more.

Development Director

Paul Sorensen

Affiliations:

  • Senior VP, Vision Marketing LLC

  • 2017 Washington State University Hall of Fame, Football

  • Former VP and Director of Sales, Palouse Ridge Golf Course

  • Board Member, CougsFirst!

  • Board Member, Cougar Collective

  • Board Member, Inland Empire Baseball Association

Committee Positions:

  • Member, Board of Directors since July 2020

  • Member, Marketing and Fundraising Committee

Education:

  • B.A. Economics, Washington State University

Transformative Wordsmith. As a grants professional, I have always considered myself a wordsmith above all else. Words, when stewarded well, can bring creative visions to life and affect change that leaves a lasting positive impact in our communities. I love working in the nonprofit sector because both my personal passions and professional pursuits get to operate in tandem. ( Meet with Me | Office Hours )

Grants Administrator

Leslie Cogley

Affiliations:

  • Member, Leadership Spokane, Class of 2023-24

  • Former Community Development Specialist, Panhandle Area Council, INC.

  • Former Grant Writer, Real Escape from the Sex Trade

Committee Positions:

  • Lead Member, Grants Administration Committee

  • Member, Fundraising & Events Committee

Education:

  • B.A. Creative Writing, Western Washington University

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