Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Local News

Huge Community Donations

Chilliwack charities to get over $41k

By Michelle MacDonald, First West Credit Union/Photo Seline Kutan


nvision Financial’s Community Endowment Fund is giving away $357,500 this year to deserving charities in the Lower Mainland as well as in Kitimat.


In all, 33 grants will be awarded to a variety of organizations delivering programs to vulnerable populations. Some grants support organizational development initiatives such as leadership training and workshops to help improve the skills and abilities of charity staff or volunteers.

“There are so many worthy projects and organizations and I’ve seen firsthand the difference these grants can make,” says Seline Kutan, executive director of the First West Foundation, which administrates the endowment. “Helping local charities deliver much-needed community programming is very rewarding.”

"Of the $357,500, $41,750 will be funded in the Chilliwack community. Recipients include Ann Davis Transition Society, Chilliwack Society for Community Living, Chilliwack Community Services and Chilliwack Learning Community Society," Michelle MacDonald told The Voice in an e-mail Tuesday.

Sample projects funded this year include DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society’s Child and Youth Empowerment Camp for highly marginalized 5 to 11 year olds, Chilliwack Community Services’ Nurturing Father’s counselling and mentorship program, and the YWCA’s That’s Just Me and Boys 4 Real programs geared to at-risk Surrey youth transitioning to high school.

“We are thrilled to have the First West Foundation support our YWCA Youth programs for grade seven girls and boys,” says Bobbi Sarai, Senior Manager, Fund Development for YWCA Metro Vancouver. “The programs are designed to build skills that equip girls and boys to make positive choices, develop healthy peer and family relationships and enhance their self-esteem. We’ll be able to do that with the funding from the Envision Financial Endowment Grant.”

“The vision of the First West Foundation is to help create resilient and resourceful communities through effective grant-making. These Envision Financial Endowment grants get us closer to meeting our vision and enhancing our local communities,” says Kutan.

About the First West Foundation
The First West Foundation is a registered charity and the philanthropic arm of First West Credit Union. The Foundation stewards over $13 million in endowment funds and distributes its earnings in the form of grants to charities throughout the communities served by the credit union.  Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed over $3.5 million to charities. The Foundation also encourages philanthropic individuals and families to establish new endowments to create a lasting legacy for their communities. More information on the First West Foundation and the Envision Financial Community Endowment can be found at

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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