Meet Trevor Iwata

Meet Trevor Iwata

Trevor and his partner, Brian, hiking in Canada with their dog Douglas.

Trevor Iwata (he/him/his) is all about community and making space for others. One of his favorite ways to do this is by gathering guests both new and old together for a meal around he and his partner’s dinner table.

“I’m not as much of a foodie as I am about community. My partner always teases, ‘You’re constantly inviting too many people over for dinner,’ and I’m like, ‘What’s the problem? We have a huge table.’”

Throughout his life, Trevor has deepened his desire to live his values not only at the dinner table but in all aspects of his life, including his professional life.

One such value is working toward a future in which people understand their interconnectedness. Empathy and unity across cultures and communities are vital pieces of Trevor’s story as a Jewish person, Japanese American, and grandson to grandparents who were interned during World War II.

“My father would tell a story about how a government car showed up at my grandfather’s house, gave him papers, and said my grandparents were going to Preston, Arizona. But after the government car drove off, there was another line of cars waiting. These were Jewish Americans living in Southern California, who told my grandfather that while his family was gone in Arizona, they would watch over their house and belongings until the day they came back, if they came back at all.”

That gesture “forever sits” in Trevor’s brain, along with the effect that it had on his family’s trajectory for generations. “I often wonder what would have happened if my family came back from camp and didn’t have a home. Would that have meant that my grandfather couldn’t have gone to medical school, or that my dad wouldn’t have become a dentist? Would that mean I would not physically be here?”

Trevor poses nest to a 2 foot tall ice cream cake from one of the many backyard summer parties.

Although Trevor grew up in Lake Arrowhead, California, he considers himself a proud Eastern Washingtonian and member of Washington’s queer community. He spent time living in Walla Walla while he earned his degree at Walla Walla University and now lives in Spokane. He says Eastern Washington is the place he learned who he was and feels most at home.

Trevor began his marketing career in steel manufacturing before working for the Kalispel Tribal Economic Authority, first doing marketing for tribal gaming, and then shifting his focus to economic development efforts to help the tribe diversify its income.

Continuing his path toward community-oriented work, Trevor became the marketing and communications coordinator at Gonzaga University’s Center for Community Engagement, coordinating community and public service programs for the greater Spokane community.

Trevor with the famous Gonzaga University Bulldog, Spike in front of the McCarthey Athletic Center

Now, guided by his chosen family and his grandfather’s life-altering experience of the power of community, Trevor is committed to creating a Washington filled with powerful communities. As a program associate with Inatai Foundation, Trevor will do just that by providing administrative and project management support for the foundation’s evolving and growing leadership development work.

“Support can be exponential in communities if people have a safe place to live, food, education, and the freedom to be themselves — because if you feel safe, and if you are free to be who you are, you can do so much for the people around you.”