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Giving Back: Rick Clark

[SPOKANE, Wash.] Rick Clark was desperate for a change. At 44 years old, he was squatting in a trailer with no electricity in Medical Lake and avoiding his landlord because he owed several months’ rent.
“I was basically homeless,” he said. “I was kind of at the point where I felt like it was getting too late for me to really turn my life around.”
While in Spokane, two events collided that changed the trajectory of Clark’s life. He encountered a homeless man whose backpack had been stolen and was accepted to Spokane Community College on the same day.
Having been in a similar situation, Clark empathized with the homeless man and promised to replace his stolen backpack: “His meeting with me changed my life. Nothing was ever the same after that.”
Likewise, getting into SCC restored Clark’s confidence. He had dropped out of high school in 10th grade and was amazed to call himself a college student.
“That little glimmer of hope really launched me into a different part of my life,” Clark said.
Clark kept his promise to the homeless man, launching a Facebook campaign to help replace and fill a backpack with “basic necessities,” like food and socks. The donations came pouring in, enabling him to fill 25 backpacks in the first 24 hours. Realizing that he could provide resources to people in need, Clark formed Giving Back Packs in 2018. The nonprofit has handed out over 7,000 backpacks and can now assist with larger needs, like bus passes and work gear.
Clark graduated from SCC and then Gonzaga University in June 2019. He has been honored as one of Spokane’s emerging philanthropists.

“I’m able to do the things that I never thought I could,” Clark said. “I've already proven to myself I can do things that I thought were impossible. Sky’s the limit.”

CCS provides education and services in a six-county region of Eastern Washington, operates Spokane Falls Community College and Spokane Community College and is the largest provider of Head Start and Early Childhood Education in the region. Each year, nearly 30,000 people – from infants to senior citizens – are provided educational services by CCS.

Posted On

3/22/2023 1:16:13 PM

Posted By

Rachel Román



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