First West Foundation, the philanthropic partner of First West Credit Union, is celebrating 25 years of making an impact throughout B.C. communities.
Although the name has changed since its creation in 1996 to reflect various mergers, from Delta Credit Union Charitable Foundation, to Envision Credit Union Charitable Foundation and now First West Foundation the direction hasn’t changed.
What started as a $200,000 donation has now grown into assets of more than $18 million, enough for an annual distribution of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to registered charities across B.C.
Susan Byrom, First West Foundation executive director said those dollars “are having a real impact in our communities, and we are thankful to First West Credit Union, its employees and members for their generosity in providing us the resources and support needed to fund the important work of our community partners.”
Peter Podovinikoff, a well-known figure in the Canadian credit union system, was instrumental in creating First West Foundation through his role as Delta Credit Union’s chief executive officer and continues to serve on its board of directors.
“Our members supported the creation of the foundation back in 1996 because they believed that our profits—as a credit union—should serve a greater purpose,” Podovinikoff said. “
This decision spoke to the democratic and community force that has, and will continue to, drive credit unions forward for generations to come.”
To celebrate the anniversary, First West Credit Union made a special $25,000 donation to the Peter Podovinikoff Scholarship Fund, a fund housed through the First West Foundation which provides Kwantlen Polytechnic University students with scholarship opportunities.
Since 2006, the Peter Podovinikoff Scholarship Fund has granted $25,253 to students in need.
“Early on in my career, I discovered that communities will only be successful if you invest back into them,” said Podovinikoff. “I’m humbled to have been a part of the Foundation’s growth over the years and that our original vision of helping build vibrant and healthy communities has come to fruition.”
First West is British Columbia’s third-largest credit union with more than $14 billion in total assets and assets under administration, more than 250,000 members and approximately 1,250 employees.
It operates 46 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First, Island Savings and Enderby & District Financial brands.
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