First West Foundation celebrates 25 years of helping communities thrive

LANGLEY, B.C. – 2021 is a special year for the First West Foundation, the philanthropic partner of First West Credit Union. It marks 25 years since the organization was created and began making an impact throughout B.C. communities.

Although the name has changed since its creation in 1996 to reflect various mergers First West Credit Union has undergone—from Delta Credit Union Charitable Foundation (1996) to Envision Credit Union Charitable Foundation (2001) and now First West Foundation (2010)—its commitment to helping communities thrive has remained steadfast. What started as a $200,000 donation from Delta Credit Union at the time, has now grown into assets of more than $18 million. These assets, managed by the Foundation, enable the annual distribution of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to registered charities across B.C.

“The healthy, sustainable growth we have experienced at First West Credit Union and First West Foundation over the past 25 years has enabled us to increase our community support while giving us the flexibility to help our charitable partners when they need it most,” says Susan Byrom, Executive Director at First West Foundation. “These dollars are having a real impact in our communities, and we are thankful to First West Credit Union, its employees and members for their generosity in providing us the resources and support needed to fund the important work of our community partners.”

Peter Podovinikoff, a well-known figure in the Canadian credit union system, was instrumental in creating First West Foundation through his role as Delta Credit Union’s Chief Executive Officer and continues to serve on its Board of Directors.

“Our members supported the creation of the Foundation back in 1996 because they believed that our profits—as a credit union—should serve a greater purpose,” Podovinikoff says. “This decision spoke to the democratic and community force that has, and will continue to, drive credit unions forward for generations to come.”

To celebrate this momentous occasion, First West Credit Union made a special $25,000 donation to the Peter Podovinikoff Scholarship Fund, a fund housed through the First West Foundation which provides Kwantlen Polytechnic University students with scholarship opportunities.

Since 2006, the Peter Podovinikoff Scholarship Fund has granted $25,253 to students in need.

“Early on in my career, I discovered that communities will only be successful if you invest back into them,” says Podovinikoff. “I’m humbled to have been a part of the Foundation’s growth over the years and that our original vision of helping build vibrant and healthy communities has come to fruition.”

Company Information

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 one of Canada’s largest credit unions with nearly $18.6 billion in total assets and assets under administration, more than 253,000 members and approximately 1,250 team members. It operates 45 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First, Island Savings and Enderby & District Financial brands. Visit for more information on First West Credit Union.

About First West Foundation

The First West Foundation cares about the well-being of the communities served by First West Credit Union and its regional divisions, Envision Financial, Valley First, Island Savings and Enderby & District Financial. The Foundation, with assets over $18 million, uses income generated from its endowments to help create resourceful and resilient communities. Since its inception in 1996, the First West Foundation has donated over $7 million in grants to local community groups and projects. The Foundation grows its endowments through charitable gifts and bequests. For more information, visit    

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Josh Juhlke

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