Envision Financial

Envision Financial

February 07, 2012 14:35 ET

Charities Helping Children and Families Supported by $230,000 From the Envision Financial Community Endowment in 2011

20 Charities in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Kitimat Benefit From Annual Grant Program

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 7, 2012) - The First West Foundation, the private, charitable arm of First West Credit Union, today announced that it has donated over $230,000 in 2011 to 20 charitable organizations in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Kitimat. Since its inception in 1996 the Foundation has donated more than $2 million in grants to support initiatives that enhance the quality of life in its local communities.

This year, through its Envision Financial Community Endowment - the Foundation's largest endowment, the First West Foundation funded charitable organizations and community initiatives that support families, children and youth at risk as well as projects that strengthen the social service sector. These include organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Coast BC, Family Services of Greater Vancouver and Kitimat Community Services Society, among others, who benefited from the grants. Additionally, the Foundation has several other endowments that generate donations for a variety of community causes.

"We are so thankful for the funding we received from the Envision Financial Community Endowment this past year," says Gerry Dyble, executive director of The Hope & Area Transition Society. "Their support has enabled us to deliver our Violence Prevention program to all school-aged children in the Fraser-Cascade School District and help us in our quest to instill a sense of social responsibility, tolerance and respect for others to children and youth in our community."

"The First West Foundation strives to support life-changing projects in the communities where our members and employees live and work," said Seline Kutan, executive director of the First West Foundation. "In 2011, our grants have been used to support numerous causes including the development of social and recreational programs for youth at risk, as well as initiatives that equip children with the skills and knowledge to build positive and healthy relationships with their families and peers."

"Yet, we also recognized an opportunity over the last year to strengthen the amazing work being done by the social service sector" adds Kutan. "This is why we chose to invest in organizational development initiatives such as leadership training and workshops to help improve the skills and abilities of staff who regularly deal with crisis in community services work. Our ability to help our communities over the last 15 years has been a tremendous source of pride for the First West team and we will continue to build on this legacy of giving."

As Shayne Williams, executive director of South Fraser Community Services Society explains, "The First West Foundation's support through the Envision Financial Community Endowment has given us the opportunity to better equip our instructors with the necessary skills and expertise to help individuals in critical crisis situations. Not only has their support enabled us to train our staff and volunteers, but the effects are also enjoyed by the 350 vulnerable people we serve on a daily basis. We are able to provide better services and increased safety to the community members utilizing our health and homeless services."

The First West Foundation is currently seeking registered charities to support in 2012 through an Envision Financial Community Endowment grant. To be eligible, organizations must fit within the Foundation's funding focuses - families, children and youth at risk and strengthening the social service sector. Organizations interested in applying for a grant should visit firstwestfoundation.ca.

About The First West Foundation

The First West Foundation cares about the well-being of the communities served by First West Credit Union and its regional divisions: Envision Financial and Valley First. The Foundation uses income generated from its endowments to help improve the quality of life for British Columbians in these communities. Since its inception in 1996, the First West Foundation has donated over $2 million in grants to local community groups and projects. The Foundation grows its endowments through charitable gifts and bequests. For more information, visit firstwestfoundation.ca.

About Envision Financial

Envision Financial is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union with 37 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson regions. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has approximately $6.2 billion in assets under administration, 167,000 members and more than 1,300 employees. For eight years running, Envision was named one of the 50 Best Employers in Canada. Envision is designated a Caring Company by Imagine Canada.

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