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MEDIA CENTER

First West Foundation strengthens local communities through $795,000 in grants 

LANGLEY, B.C. – The First West Foundation, through its Envision Financial, Valley First, Island Savings and Enderby Financial Community Endowments, the First West Credit Union Leaders Fund and Keeping a Good Thing Growing Endowment is granting $795,000 this year – a total of 56 grants – to deserving charities throughout B.C.  

This year, First West Foundation continued its evolution to a trust-based philanthropy model, a granting approach that seeks to shift power inequities between funders, charities and the communities they serve to create a healthier, more equitable sector for all. 

“We are always looking for ways to make the granting process less about us and more about our community partners,” says Susan Byrom, executive director of First West Foundation. “This year, by listening to our partner’s feedback, we simplified our application process and removed technology barriers to free up their valuable time and resources to help do what they do best— help our communities thrive.” 

Additionally, all impact grants are unrestricted this year, further aligning with the foundation’s trust-based philanthropy evolution. Unrestricted funding provides grantees the flexibility to assess and determine where grant dollars are most needed and allows for innovation, emergent action, and support for operational expenses. 

Established in 1996, the First West Foundation has donated more than $10.5 million in grants to local community groups and projects. Here are the charitable organizations receiving a grant in 2023: 

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 $17.4 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 firstwestcu.ca 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 our communities thrive. Granting is the cornerstone of our community work and we’re continuing to evolve our processes through the lens of trust-based philanthropy. Established in 1996, the First West Foundation has donated more than $10.5 million in grants to local community groups and projects. The Foundation grows its endowments through charitable gifts and bequests. For more information, visit firstwestfoundation.ca     

Media Contacts

Josh Juhlke

Communications Manager 
c: 604.309.6066 
jjuhlke@firstwestcu.ca