First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union

July 27, 2015 14:03 ET

New Partnership Helps Build Expertise and Capacity for Local Food Banks

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - July 27, 2015) - Food banks across British Columbia are getting a much needed infusion of leadership skills and operational expertise through a collaborative partnership between First West Credit Union, Food Banks BC and Vantage Point.

In June, Vantage Point produced and launched the first set of three webinars. The webinars, featuring Carol Neuman, Vantage Point's director of learning, unpack topics like board roles and responsibilities, personal resiliency and fund development. Over the coming months, these webinars and nine more will help food bank leaders better understand board governance, operational best practices, people engagement and recruiting. First West Credit Union provided $15,000 for the development of the webinar series, which is being hosted on the Food Banks BC website and available to all B.C. food banks.

Food Banks in our province serve approximately 97,000 British Columbians each month. Leaders and volunteers must keep their expertise up to date in order to build capacity to handle increasing demand.

"This partnership provides food bank leaders across B.C. with essential professional development and learning opportunities that would otherwise be challenging to afford because our funds are directed toward fighting hunger," says Laura Lansink, executive director of Food Banks BC. "We're grateful for these tools because it means our leaders gain expert advice and relevant education to help them ensure that volunteers, staff and boards are fully trained to serve their communities."

"First West has shown incredible leadership as an investor in lifting the capacity of not-for-profit organizations across B.C.," says Denise Baker, Vantage Point's executive director. "Their generous investment in this partnership will support all 96 food banks in our province whose missions are to eliminate hunger."

For several years now, First West has had signature causes - The Full Cupboard and Feed the Valley - focused on the issue of food security.

"Our employees, community and business partners have excelled in raising food, funds and awareness about hunger in the communities where we operate," says Susan Byrom, senior manager of community investment at First West Credit Union. "This partnership brings another element to our signature cause work and we're very excited about helping our local food banks increase their expertise to create an even bigger impact in their communities."

About Food Banks BC

Food Banks BC is the association of the 96 member food banks in B.C. and a proud member of Food Banks Canada. B.C.'s food banks assist 97,000 individuals every month and of these, one in three is a child. As a registered charity, Food Banks BC's vision is a hunger-free future for every person in the province. To achieve this, their mission is to inspire, empower and support their food bank members by providing food, funding and educational opportunities. For more information on Food Banks BC and its members, visit their website,

About Vantage Point

Since 1943, Vantage Point Strategies Society (formerly Volunteer Vancouver) has been committed to mindfully engaging talented people in BC's not-for-profit sector. Today, Vantage Point convenes, connects and equips sector leaders - executive directors, board directors, and senior managers - through interactive learning and professional development that is immediately applicable. Dedicated volunteer industry leaders and facilitators deliver most of Vantage Point's programs, supporting the sector with an abundance of expertise and knowledge. With our focus on the strengths and opportunities of the not-for-profit sector, Vantage Point is lifting the capacity of our clients, building a network of generative leaders, and transforming not-for-profit leadership. Visit

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 nearly $10 billion in assets, more than 240,000 members and more than 1,700 employees. It operates 53 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First, Enderby & District Financial and Island Savings brands. Visit for more information on First West Credit Union.

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