Valley First grants $112,400 to local charities, adding to historic year of giving through the First West Foundation

 The First West Foundation, through its Valley First Community Endowment, is granting $112,400 this year— a total of 12 grants— to deserving charities across the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. 

Grants from this fund support charities and programs enhancing individual and community resiliency, particularly in the area of hunger and food security issues throughout Valley First’s communities. The scope of funding was extended outside of food security issues leading to the support of some innovative new projects. 

Here are the organizations receiving grants: 

  • Whitevalley Community Resource Centre 
  • Penticton Recovery Resource Society 
  • Vermillion Forks Elementary School- School District 58 
  • South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation 
  • Penticton Soupateria 
  • NexusBC Community Resource Centre 
  • School District 67- ConnectEd 
  • Literacy Central Okanagan Society 
  • YMCA of Okanagan 
  • Okanagan Fruit Tree Society 
  • The Bridge Youth and Family Services 
  • Kelowna Community Resources 

 2020 has proved a be a historic year of giving for the Foundation, the philanthropic arm of First West Credit Union and all its divisions— Valley First, Envision Financial, Island Savings and Enderby & District Financial. Highlights include: 

  • $732,737 donated through annual endowments to local non-profits where First West Credit Union operates 
  • $431,005 set aside for additional granting needs in 2020 as needed 
  • $1 million for First West’s Community Response Fund, launched to support local charities through the pandemic 

In total, the First West Foundation will gift over $2.1 million to local non-profits in 2020—the highest amount in its history. 

“The credit union mantra has always been about neighbour helping neighbour and this year has highlighted that even more for us,” says Susan Byrom, executive director of the First West Foundation.   “Our communities need us right now and, we couldn’t be prouder to see the First West Foundation stepping up in the community to help these vital organizations continue the incredible work they do.” 

Since 2011, the Valley First Community Endowment has provided $872,260 in grant funding for 126 projects supporting resilient and resourceful communities. 

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