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Valley First Community Endowment helps communities flourish through $113,700 in grants

The First West Foundation, through its Valley First Community Endowment, is granting $113,700 this year - a total of 12 grants - to deserving charities throughout the Okanagan, Similkameen, and Thompson valleys. In total, $684,700 is being dispersed across the province through the Foundation’s regional community endowments representing First West Credit Union’s four local brands— Valley First, Envision Financial, Island Savings and Enderby & District Financial.

This year, First West Foundation placed an increased emphasis on ensuring grants aligned with its six Sustainable Development Goals— no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, reduced inequalities, and partnerships for the goals. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 interconnected global goals developed by the global community to provide a holistic and ambitious roadmap for private, public and non-profit organizations to work together to address a multitude of global challenges. Additionally, First West Foundation continues its journey into trust-based philanthropy this year.

“Our team embraces trust-based philanthropy principles, and one way we’ve implemented this is by providing multi-year commitments to our community partners,” says Susan Byrom, Executive Director of the First West Foundation. "By providing grant funds over an extended period, we empower our partners to plan and execute longer-term projects without the constraints of short-term funding uncertainty."

Trust-based philanthropy recognizes the importance of flexible, unrestricted resources to allow grantees to allocate funds according to their priorities and respond dynamically to emerging needs. This approach supports stability, encourages innovation, and enables strategic planning for positive impact.

Since 2011, the Valley First Community Endowment has provided 240 grants totalling $1,882,329 in funding. Here is the complete list of organizations receiving a grant in 2024.

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 $20 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 $11.1 million in grants to local community groups and projects. The Foundation grows its endowments through charitable gifts and bequests. For more information, visit

About Valley First

Valley First is a premier provider of banking and investment services for residents and businesses in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. As a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.’s third-largest credit union with 45 branches throughout the province, Valley First brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience. For more information on Valley First, visit

<who>Photo credit: Valley First

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