Business gives back to communities

Valley First Community Endowment grants and CIBC Miracle Day to help school nutrition programs

The Valley First Community Endowment Fund is distributing more and $42,000 in grant funding, with $14,000 earmarked for three not for profit organizations in the South Okanagan and Similkameen.

Grants from the endowment, which is administered by the First West Foundation, support programs helping children, families and youth at risk of hunger. Recognizing the opportunity to strengthen existing initiatives and advance new food-related programs, grants have been provided to organizations advancing the overall health of their communities.

The Oliver Elementary School Farm-2-School program, the Penticton & District Resources Society’s nutrition enhancement for childcare program and the Cawston Primary School breakfast and lunch program will all benefit from this round of grants.

“We are so pleased to be able to support these important community organizations through grants from the Valley First Community Endowment,” said Seline Kutan, executive director of the First West Foundation. “We strongly believe healthy communities are the backbone of healthy economies. These organizations are inspiring examples of how we can make life better in a very simple way.”

A child who is hungry cannot learn to their maximum potential as well as struggling with the social and emotional skills needed to be successful in a classroom. The breakfast and lunch program at Cawston Primary School is an example of how proper nutrition can positively affect other areas of young lives.

“Our breakfast and lunch program is open to any child that comes to school hungry,” said Cawston Primary School principal Linda Thiel. “Funding from the Valley First Community Endowment takes some pressure off the program as it allows us to keep supporting children in need and direct other money back into our education program. “When I heard we were successful with our grant application I was delighted. I was especially happy for the children who benefit most from our program.”

Like Valley First, the Community Foundation of the South Okanagan is joining forces with CIBC Wood Gundy to support projects that improve the well being of children, including a $5000 grant to a breakfast club program being run by the Penticton Hospital Auxiliary’s Meals on Wheels program.

Funding from CIBC Wood Gundy will be used to expand and improve healthy nutritional options for children, meeting one of CIBC’s Miracle Day goals by supporting the program, which operates at West Bench, Queen’s Park, and Columbia Elementary Schools.

CIBC’s Miracle Day program has been providing funding to local children’s projects for many years and has been collaborating with the Community Foundation for more than five years. The Community Foundation assists CIBC Wood Gundy with the research phase of the process and provides some guidance around the most effective use of the funds to ensure that the mandate of the Miracle Day program is fulfilled.

Valley First’s employee giving campaign runs from Oct. 9 to 18. During this time, employees and members are encouraged to make a donation to the First West Foundation in support of the Valley First Community Endowment. If you are interested in making a donation, please visit your nearest Valley First branch.

For more information about the First West Foundation and the Valley First Community Endowment visit For more information about the Community Foundation, visit or contact Aaron McRann at 250-493-9311.