The First West Foundation was established in 1996 by the management and Board of Directors of First West Credit Union. Our vision is to build a sustainable charity that helps create resilient and resourceful communities through our grantmaking. Since inception, the Foundation has proudly distributed over $3 million in grants to charities.
Imagine leaving your war-torn homeland with the clothes on your back and arriving in a foreign land where you don’t speak the language. Add poverty, extremely low levels of literacy, unemployment, isolation, mental health issues, trauma and hopelessness to that mix and that is where Umoja Operation Compassion Society steps in.
A $20,000 grant from the Envision Financial Community Endowment Fund assists Umoja in offering programming to minority immigrants and refugees from all around the world. Citizens from Egypt, Somalia, Burma, Uganda, Botswana, Yemen and Russia, to name a few, seek new opportunities and a new life here in Canada.
KVR Middle School is home to some of the poorest children in Penticton. Serving both English speaking and French immersion students, many inner city students at KVR are without supervision during out-of-school hours and receive their only balanced meal at school.
For the second year in a row, Valley First is pleased to support School District 67’s initiative with another$2,000 Community Endowment grant to promote increased food security and nutrition within the Penticton community.
The Food for Thought Breakfast Program is an integral part of the school and the community it serves. As the economic situation has declined, the need for the program has increased to nearly 80 students each day. Nearly 50 students also receive lunch program services.
While food security worries are not top of mind for young children, too many kids have first hand experience of what it’s like to be hungry.
John Allison Elementary School in Princeton wanted to make a difference for their students and launched the JA Kitchen Kids Program. Thanks in part to a $5,500 Valley First Community Endowment grant last year, the school was able to purchase the kitchen appliances, equipment, and of course, food, to get the project off the ground.
Five grants worth $2,000 each were made from the Envision-Region Employees' Endowment to the following organizations:
- Kitimat Community Services – Food Share Program
- Hope Care Transit Society
- Reach Child & Youth Development Society
- Canadian Cancer Society – Volunteer Drivers Program (Chilliwack)
- Fraser Valley Child Development Centre