First West Foundation is celebrating 25 years of helping B.C. communitities thrive. (Contributed)

First West Foundation is celebrating 25 years of helping B.C. communitities thrive. (Contributed)

First West Foundation celebrates 25 years supporting Okanagan communities

The foundation has provided hundreds of thousands in grants to registered charities across B.C.

For 25 years First West Foundation, the philanthropic partner of First West Credit Union, has been making an impact in communities throughout the Okanagan and B.C.

Although the name has changed since the foundation’s creation in 1996, the commitment to helping communities thrive has remained steadfast.

What started as a $200,000 donation in 1996, has now grown into assets of more than $18 million. These assets, managed by the foundation, enable the annual distribution of hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to registered charities across B.C.

Some of the donations made to communities in the Okanagan include $138,000 donated to registered charities working to address food security and basic needs for youth, families and seniors in May, 2020, as charities struggled with the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: Fund to help charities in Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys

“The healthy, sustainable growth we have experienced at First West Credit Union and First West Foundation over the past 25 years has enabled us to increase our community support while giving us the flexibility to help our charitable partners when they need it most,” said First West Foundation executive director Susan Byrom. “These 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 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 this momentous occasion, 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,” Podovinikoff said. “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.”

The foundation uses income generated from its endowments to help create resourceful and resilient communities. Since its inception in 1996, the First West Foundation has donated over $7 million in grants to local community groups and projects.

READ MORE: Valley First grants $112,400 to Okanagan charities, adding to record year



jesse.day@pentictonwesternnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Pacific Coastal Airlines photo)
Potential COVID-19 exposure on March 1 Penticton flight

Interior Health lists a public exposure for the Pacific Air Flight from Vancouver on March 1

The Town of Osoyoos is looking into allowing two food trucks at the downtown plaza over the summer, which would require updates to several town policies and bylaws. (Kevin Clark - Black Press Media File)
Osoyoos council to weigh allowing additional downtown food trucks

The proposal would be aimed to benefits the summer’s downtown plaza

Seniors in the Interior Health region can book their COVID-19 vaccinations starting Monday, March 8, 2021 at 7 a.m. (File photo)
Seniors in Interior Heath region can book COVID-19 shots starting Monday

Starting March 8 the vaccination call centre will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily

(Baldy Mountain Resort / Facebook) 
(Baldy Mountain Resort / Facebook)
Baldy Mountain calls out snowmobilers for damaging ski hill

The Resort is fed up with snowmobilers running across their trails

C.E. “Ned” Bentley owned a garage on Shaughnessy Avenue, now Lakeshore Drive in Summerland. Bentley later went on to serve on Summerland’s council and was recognized with the Good Citizen Award in 1939. (Summerland Museum photo)
Former Summerland reeve once ran garage

C.E. “Ned” Bentley was a prominent figure in Summerland’s past.

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Multiple people were injured at a Vernon home following an early-morning break-in Saturday, March 6, 2021. (Black Press file photo)
Multiple people left injured following break-and-enter in Vernon

Police believe the early-morning break-in was targeted and not a threat to the general public

Kelowna General Hospital (File photo)
Second COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kelowna General Hospital

One patient and one staff member on Unit have tested positive for the virus.

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

A Coldstream resident who found an owl struggling on her property in March 2021 is now spreading awareness of about the knock-on effects of rodent poisoning. (Kathy Renaud photo)
Okanagan owl ‘fighting for her life’ after ingesting rat poison

Coldstream resident warns against the use of rodenticide due to risk of secondary poisoning in raptors

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Fire ripped through a mobile home on Boucherie Road in West Kelowna on March. 6. (Phil McLachlan - West Kelowna News)
‘My whole life just went up in smoke’; Fire consumes Okanagan mobile home

RCMP confirmed that there were no injuries due to the fire

Most Read