The First West Foundation, through its Valley First Community Endowment, gave $112,400 in a total of 12 grants July 15,2020 to deserving charities across the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. (Contributed photo)

Valley First grants $112,400 to Okanagan charities, adding to record year

‘The credit union mantra has always been about neighbour helping neighbour,’ says executive director

Over $100,000 has been donated to various charities in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys thanks to the First West Foundation.

The foundation, through its Valley First Community Endowment, put $112,400 towards a total of 12 grants to deserving local charities on July 15.

Grants from this fund support charities and programs enhancing individual and community resiliency, particularly in the area of hunger and food security issues throughout Valley First’s communities.

The Penticton Recovery Resource Society, and the Penticton Soupateria are among several local organizations that have received funding.

This year, the funding was extended outside of food security issues, allowing the foundation to support new projects.

READ MORE: United Way Southern Interior and local partners announce Sustainable Recovery Grant Recipients

2020 has been a historic year of giving for the foundation, the philanthropic arm of First West Credit Union and all its divisions including Valley First, Envision Financial, Island Savings and Enderby & District Financial.

Some of the most notable contributions include $732,737 donated through annual endowments to local non-profits where First West Credit Union operates, $431,005 set aside for additional granting needs in 2020 as needed, $1 million for First West’s Community Response Fund, launched to support local charities through the pandemic.

In total, the First West Foundation will gift over $2.1 million to local non-profits in 2020, the highest amount in its history.

Since 2011, the Valley First Community Endowment has provided $872,260 in grant funding for 126 projects supporting resilient and resourceful communities.

Helping communities in times of need is what credit unions are all about, said executive director of the First West Foundation, Susan Byrom.

“The credit union mantra has always been about neighbour helping neighbour and this year has highlighted that even more for us. Our communities need us right now and, we couldn’t be prouder to see the First West Foundation stepping up in the community to help these vital organizations continue the incredible work they do,” said Byrom.

The following organizations are the recipients of this year’s receiving grants:

  • Whitevalley Community Resource Centre
  • Penticton Recovery Resource Society
  • Vermillion Forks Elementary School- School District 58
  • South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation
  • Penticton Soupateria
  • NexusBC Community Resource Centre
  • School District 67- ConnectEd
  • Literacy Central Okanagan Society
  • YMCA of Okanagan
  • Okanagan Fruit Tree Society
  • The Bridge Youth and Family Services
  • Kelowna Community Resources

Click here to view more details on the programming these 2020 grants will support.

READ MORE: Penticton’s first Pics & Sticks charity event raises $50,000


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