20 Years and Counting
In the spring of 1994, a small group of Spokane professionals came together in hopes of solving a problem. You see, back then it was easy enough for lesbians and gays to find a “friendly” hair-dresser or interior designer if needed, but things could get tricky if they needed to find, say, a plumber?
So, having been inspired by the extensive directories of gay-owned businesses they had seen in much larger cities, the group agreed that Spokane needed a directory as well. To produce this directory, they envisioned an organization that could bring businesses together with the community and create a resource network for the entire region.
Now, almost 20 years later, the Inland Northwest Business Alliance has grown, beyond the vision of its founding members, into the regional chamber we know today.
A look back at majority milestones from the past 20 years…
- 25 Charter Members establish INBA in October
- First business directory published at PRIDE March
- First scholarship of $500 split between two students
- Advocated the approval of including LGBT as a protective class in the City of Spokane’s human rights and non-discrimination ordinance
- Started the conversation on forming a Spokane gay district
- Representation on Downtown Spokane Partnership board
- Advocated in favor of the City of Spokane extending city employee benefits to domestic partners
- INBA Outreach formed as charitable arm of INBA
- Only chamber in Eastern Washington to advocate and support Referendum 71 extending state benefits to same sex domestic partners and some seniors
- Board leadership appointed as Pacific Region Chair of NGLCC’s Council of Chamber and Business Organizations
- Board of directors votes to move from volunteers to paid contractors to manage the chamber on a daily basis
- INBA invited to sit on Mayor’s Advisory Board on Business
- Only chamber in Eastern Washington to advocate and support Referendum 74
- Launched Pride Travel NW and Pride Weddings NW
- INBA asked to make presentations on LGBT Tourism to Visit Spokane and the Washington Lodging Association
- INBA members established in the Tri Cities
- U.S. Sen. Patty Murray chooses INBA and Spokane to announce her reintroduction of her college anti-harassment bill to combat bullying
- Launched LGBT Travel and Tourism initiative
- Celebrated 20 years timeline