First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union

April 09, 2015 19:40 ET

First West Credit Union Gives Back $2.4 Million in Total Community Investment in 2014

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - April 9, 2015) - First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third largest credit union, returned $2.4 million to community organizations and charitable agencies from the Lower Mainland to the Southwest Interior and north to Kitimat during 2014. The credit union's total community investment value is made possible through sponsorships, philanthropic donations and community partnerships.

First West's 2014 community investment brings the total value invested in its communities to nearly $10.5 million since the credit union's inception in 2010. The majority of donations are made through First West's regional divisions, which include Valley First and Enderby & District Financial in the Southwest Interior, Envision Financial in the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland, and Island Savings on Vancouver and the Gulf Islands.

"Building strong communities is at the heart of every credit union," says First West's senior manager of community investment, Susan Byrom. "As First West has grown its provincial network, we're extremely proud of how we've been able to not only maintain but also increase the support we provide to our communities."

While dollars go a long way for many community organizations, what others rely on desperately are volunteers. During 2014, First West employees volunteered 5,136 hours-the equivalent of 685 work days-in their communities. A large portion of these volunteers hours were made possible through First West's paid-time-off-for-volunteerism program.

One of the major beneficiaries of First West community investment efforts are food banks across B.C. Last year, through the credit union's signature hunger-fighting causes Feed the Valley and The Full Cupboard, more than $413,058 was donated to local food banks. This focus on combatting hunger has also led to the establishment of a number of growing community partnerships.

"It's a sad fact that the reliance on food banks across the province is not declining," says Byrom. "We've been recognized as a leader in highlighting local food security and food-related programs. As such, we've been able to create a number of strategic partnerships with organizations like Food Banks BC, Global Okanagan and Boston Pizza. This strengthens our programs immeasurably and, most importantly, allows us to support even more British Columbians in need."

In addition to its community investment activities, the First West Foundation, the private charitable arm of First West Credit Union, donated more than $482,000 to 91 charitable organizations in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat, and the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Notably in 2014, was the establishment of the $2 million Island Savings Community Endowment as part of the Island Savings merger with First West Credit Union. The community of Enderby also saw the first grants paid out from the Enderby & District Financial Community Endowment, to a total of nearly $19,000. Over the last 19 years, the Foundation has contributed more than $3.2 million to B.C. charities and community groups.

Find additional community investment highlights and more in our 2014 Annual Report.

About First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union offers members the financial strength, comprehensive product selection and extended branch network of a large financial institution while maintaining local brand identities and a unique grassroots approach to service. Led by Launi Skinner, First West is British Columbia's third-largest credit union with $10 billion in assets under administration, nearly 240,000 members and more than 1,700 employees. It operates 54 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First, Enderby & District Financial and Island Savings brands. Visit firstwestcu.ca for more information on First West Credit Union.

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