First West Foundation launches $600,000 community response fund to help local B.C. charities in need

LANGLEY, B.C.- The charitable sector is facing a considerable challenge. COVID-19 has increased the demand on services that support our community’s most vulnerable—and decreased non-profit resources to provide these supports. Sadly, this lack of resources is also limiting these organizations in their ability to fundraise for donations they desperately need.   

First West Foundation, philanthropic partner to First West Credit Union, is stepping up to meet this need by launching its Community Response Fund. This fund will bestow $600,000 in community grants to charities served by First West’s regional divisions of: 

  • Valley First, serving the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys 
  • Envision Financial, serving the Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland and Kitimat regions 
  • Island Savings, serving Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands
  • Enderby & District Financial, serving the North Okanagan and Enderby regions 

“These organizations urgently need funds to deliver their programs and services to the community’s most vulnerable during the very difficult circumstances the pandemic has created,” says Richard Hill, chair of the First West Foundation Board of Directors. “Our mission is to help them do what they do best.” 

Registered charities focused on addressing food security and basic needs for youth, families and seniors impacted by COVID-19 are eligible to apply for the Community Response Fund on the First West Foundation website.   

Typically, granting applications require detailed information to qualify and then the funds may take several months to be distributed,” says Susan Byrom, executive director of the First West Foundation. “We know the need in our communities is urgent so we’ve set up these funds as low-barrier—meaning the application process is fast and simple and funding will be disbursed quickly to address this need.”  

The Community Response Fund program has two parts:  

  • The Community Response Fund will provide a total of $500,000 in grants to charitable organizations focused on food security and basic needs support for youth, families and seniors most impacted by COVID-19 in the regions First West Credit Union serves.  
  • The Community Help Fund will provide $100,000 in the form of $500 grants to charities that complete a profile on Do Some Good about their organization to kickstart their fundraising efforts. 200 grants will be awarded in total. Do Some Good is a social impact technology platform designed to amplify community impact by connecting Canadians with local causes. 

Applications are now being accepted. Charities can request any amount but may not receive all the funding requested. A small committee will review grant applications and make funding recommendations. As part of its community investment, First West Credit Union pays all operating expenses, ensuring 100 per cent of Foundation funds are used for charitable purposes. 

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 the 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 $16 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 $6.39 million in grants to local community groups and projects. The Foundation grows its endowments through charitable gifts and bequests. For more information, visit  

Media Contacts

Josh Juhlke

Communications Manager
First West Credit Union
t: 604-309-6066