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2017 Freedom Fund Banquet Leadership Award Recipients

Jobs and education are key concerns

Fran Hammond

Jobs and education are key concerns of Fran Hammond, who started her journey in community service 43 years ago in Port Chester, N.Y.  She worked on the city’s Anti-Poverty Program Board of Directors fighting child poverty.

After high school, she attended New York University and earned an associate degree in business from Long Beach Junior College. 

Fran worked for 38 years with Pitney Bowes, Inc., beginning in New York, then in California and in Spokane from 1992 to 2003, when she retired in Spokane as the western region customer accounts manager.

Today, Fran is concerned that young people can’t find good paying jobs in Spokane.

Fran said working for Pitney Bowes gave her the chance to learn and advance upward in her career so she could assist and guide younger associates to better positions in the company, which has now closed in Spokane.

Education is a second concern she addresses with involvement in the NAACP—both the Beverly Hills Hollywood Chapter after she moved to Long Beach in 1976 and then the Spokane Chapter.

In California, she helped start the ACT-SO Program and the NAACP Image Award Program, recognizing individuals who projected positive images in the Black community.  She was working with that chapter when the first Image Award show was televised in 1994.

Because many of her friends were social workers, Fran joined the National Association of Black Social Workers’ International Education Committee.  That involvement led to international travel, visiting schools and orphanages and meeting people in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Brazil, Peru, the Panama Canal, Bahamas, Argentina and United Kingdom.

Her group was the first to visit South Africa after apartheid.

“We took school supplies and donated money to support teachers’ salaries for a year.  We wanted children to have a good start,” said Fran, who attended Calvary Baptist and Bethel African Methodist Episcopal churches in Spokane.

In Spokane, she and six women organized a chapter for The National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., which gave many students scholarships and the opportunity to attend college. 

In the Spokane NAACP, she was secretary for many years.   

With The Spokane Links, Inc., she was treasurer, recording secretary and chair of their Annual White Rose Scholarship Award Brunch.    

 In 2005, Fran organized the Spokane community to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina.   They sent a truck of supplies and clothing to Gulf Port and school supplies to St. Bernard Parish, La., and they assisted families who relocated to the Spokane area.

She and her late husband Robert have a daughter, Debra Reed, two grandchildren and two great grandchildren.  Her husband died in 2009. Four years ago, she moved with Debra and a granddaughter to Lynnwood, north of Seattle, but continues ties with the Spokane NAACP and The Links.

For information, call 209-2425.

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