As the United Nations declared 2012 the International Year of Co-operatives, three local credit unions — Aldergrove Financial Group, Envision Financial and Prospera Credit Union — have teamed up to demonstrate the difference cooperatives are making in communities around the world.
Inspired by the theme ‘Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better World’, these three British Columbia based credit unions formed an innovative partnership in support of the Abbotsford Hospice Society’s Stepping Stones program, with a $30,000 contribution.
The only community service of its kind offered in Abbotsford, the Stepping Stones program provides grief support to school-aged children and their families. Services and education also extend to the school community including peer groups, teachers and administrators.
“Through our grief support, the Abbotsford Hospice Society provides opportunities for children and teens to process their feelings, learn to live with loss, plan for the future and re-engage in the community in a healthy way,” says Debbie Lehmann, Executive Director of the Abbotsford Hospice Society.
“We are grateful to Prospera Credit Union, Envision Financial and Aldergrove Financial Group for their progressive approach to partnership and support of our Stepping Stones program. This group of three credit unions is setting a new standard in community engagement and leadership that can be modeled by others.”
“We’re very excited about the partnership for Abbotsford Hospice Society,” says Bruce Howell, President and CEO of Prospera Credit Union.
“This is a great opportunity to educate people about the significant role co-operatives play in building communities across Canada and around the world. In the marketplace, we may be three competing financial institutions, but when it comes to community, we share a common goal: making a meaningful difference in the lives of the people around us.”
“We’re so pleased to work in partnership with Prospera Credit Union and Aldergrove Financial Group to support the Abbotsford Hospice Society,” says Loree Gray, vice-president of Retail Banking at Envision Financial.
“At Envision, we are committed to making a positive and lasting impact in the communities in which we live and work and as one of the 9,000 co-operatives and credit unions in Canada, we are inspired to do our part to build a better world.”
“Giving back to the community is a significant part of the credit union philosophy and is something each of our organizations live every day,” says Aldergrove Financial Group CEO, Gus K. Hartl.
“The co-operative spirit continues through this unique partnership as does the vital support provided by the Abbotsford Hospice through the Stepping Stones program.”
In addition to their support for the Stepping Stones program, the three credit unions have also come together as sponsors of the Abbotsford Hospice Society’s upcoming gala fundraiser, The Venetian Masquerade, which will take place on February 18, at the Ramada Plaza & Conference Centre in Abbotsford.
About Abbotsford Hospice Society Abbotsford Hospice Society (AHS) helps people as young as 19 who are dying and provides support services free of charge to families.
In addition to those who are living with a terminal or life-threatening illness, AHS provides programs to comfort children, teens and adults on their very personal journey of grief and loss. Services offered by specially trained volunteers include one to one companioning, support groups, family counselling, expressive therapies, music and play for bereaved children and equine facilitated grief support for teens.
Additionally, AHS offers a comprehensive lending library designed to support patients and families, along with public education, outreach and community referrals.
International years are declared by the United Nations to draw attention to and encourage action on major issues. The International Year of Co-operatives is intended to raise public awareness of the invaluable contributions of co-operative enterprises to poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration. The year will also highlight the strengths of the co-operative business model as an alternative means of doing business and furthering socioeconomic development. For more information: www.canada2012coop