PENTICTON, B.C. – The First West Foundation, through its Valley First Community Endowment, is granting $177,270 this year—a total of 20 grants— to deserving charities throughout the Okanagan, Thompson and Similkameen regions. This is the largest granting cycle in First West Foundation’s 26-year history, with a total of $1,078,983 being dispersed across First West Credit Union’s four local brands—Valley First, Envision Financial, Island Savings and Enderby & District Financial.
This record-setting year has even greater significance with First West Foundation shifting its grantmaking approach to align with trust-based philanthropy principles.
“Trust-based philanthropy is an approach to granting that seeks to shift power inequities between funders, charities and the communities they serve to create a healthier, more equitable sector for all”, says Susan Byrom, executive director of the First West Foundation. “By listening to the feedback of our charitable partners, we have reduced barriers in the grant application process, freeing up their valuable time and resources to help them do what they do best— help our communities thrive.”
Additionally, all funds granted this year are unrestricted, 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.
Since 2011, the Valley First Community Endowment has provided 161 grants totaling over $1,172,334 in funding. Here is the complete list of organizations receiving grants in 2022.