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Logo of First West Foundation
First West Foundation
First West Foundation is the philanthropic arm of First West Credit Union. Our aim is to enhance the communities served by the credit union through effective grant-making. Our m...
200 - 19933 88 Avenue
Langley, British Columbia
V2Y 4K5
Causes we care about

  • Philanthropy and Capacity Building

  • Poverty

  • Social Services

Businesses whose employees volunteer with us
Social Mission
The Foundation’s vision is to build a sustainable charity that supports resilient and resourceful communities through effective grant making.
Businesses and organizations that we work with
Enderby & District Financial, a division of First West CU
Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union
Island Savings a division of First West Credit Union
Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union
Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society
Okanagan Fruit Tree Project Society
Stories of our community involvement
We are ready for our first riders of the BC Cancer Foundation⁦‬⁩ #Tourdecure. Thanks to our Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union ‬& First West Foundation ⁦‪team for spending their Saturday with us in #Abbotsford #community #volunteer
We were thrilled to catch-up with Third Space Charity in-person yesterday for a fun cheque presentation and visit.
Congratulations, again to Third Space Charity as we presented a $10,000 Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union Community Endowment grant from the First West Foundation.
This capacity grant will help Third Space Charity continue to provide valuable learning experiences designed to equip the next generation of mental health care professionals with the tools and resources they’ll need to help others, while maintaining their own mental health and resilience.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us and share your experiences as a mental health provider.
Located 25 kilometres east of Enderby and situated on ten acres of forest along the Shuswap River, Kingfisher Interpretive Centre Society (KICS) has been running outdoor experiential education opportunities for local children and visitors alike for over 30 years.
First West Foundation, through the Enderby & District Financial, a division of First West CU Community Endowment has been unwavering in its support, having proudly awarded $46,341 in funding to KICS since 2014. This year, a $10,000 grant was awarded for the Conservation through Education program.
“We are very proud of our relationship with KICS, and the conservation work delivered through their programs,” says Susan Byrom, executive director, First West Foundation. “As we strive to be better stewards of the environment and better understand our communities, the education programs designed by KICS are needed now more than ever.”
Their program, Conservation Through Education, provides educational lessons to school children (grades K-12), and summer visitors focusing on local environmental sustainability, ecosystem support and the salmon lifecycle. Nearly 3,000 students connect with the environment and learn about the wonders it holds through hands-on learning activities.
Read the full story here: https://bit.ly/3ouZ9cf
Summer has arrived - and with it, some extremely warm temperatures as we move into the weekend and through next week. Extreme weather in any season can be deadly for our community members who are un-housed.
Our friends at the Ann Davis Transition Society (ADTS) put out a call for water last night and we got to connecting folks!
Within hours, 35 cases of bottled water were delivered to the Ann Davis Transition Society, courtesy of the Sardis branch and branch Manager, Chad Lueck of Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union.
Vulnerable folks in #Chilliwack will be safer and hydrated through these next days. Thank you for jumping in, Chad!
Our support goes beyond the grant! First West Foundation is proud of our connection to the ADTS through the Envision Financial Community Endowment, local branch support and community investment initiatives like this one today.
Well done, Sardis branch - we love how you give!
Another day, another look at one of the original BESTi organizations – the final on in our series, allow us to introduce you to Lake Country Art Gallery.
BESTi—the Building Excellence & Sustainability Together Intensive program is a partnership between Central Okanagan Foundation , City of Kelowna, the Non-profit Lifecycles Institute, Vantage Point and Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Lake Country Art Gallery presents artwork, artists, and exhibitions to engage, challenge and enrich the community. Along with its curated showcases and exhibitions, Lake Country Art Gallery also has a growing selection of community engagement programs, including educational workshops for all ages and abilities, weekly classes for special needs clients, gallery tours, art day field trips for local schools, summer camps, annual community night picnic, artisan markets, and more.
A participant in the 2021-2022 BESTi program, their consultant Kylie Hutchinson shares some insight, “Non-profit capacity building is not the kind of thing you can do off the side of your desk. The BESTi program successfully created the time and space for organizations to do some very critical reflection and action planning.” Working with Lake Country Art Gallery, “they really appreciated the opportunity to take many deep dives into all areas of their operations. As their consultant, I personally appreciated the luxury of being able to work with them consistently for a whole year.”
To learn more about Lake Country Art Gallery or to donate, visit http://lakecountryartgallery.ca

Photo credit: courtesy of Lake Country Art Gallery
We’re midway through our series highlighting BESTi participants and today we celebrate BESTi partner, Kelowna Gospel Mission. Serving the community since 1978, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission provides supports and services to those in need with resources like its soup kitchen, emergency shelter, and drop-in centre. With operations which include a thrift store, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission leads its community from homelessness into wholeness.
BESTi—the Building Excellence & Sustainability Together Intensive program is a partnership between Central Okanagan Foundation, City of Kelowna, the Non-profit Lifecycles Institute, Vantage Point and Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union.
”BESTi helped us to do a deep dive into our organization’s current position on the Non-Profit lifecycle, allowing us to make informed decisions on where to invest in order to see our capacity grow. There were also many unintentional benefits that we received due to the time spent with our consultant, who is a genius.” – shared Carmen Rempel, Kelowna Gospel Mission.
A member of the BESTi program, their consultant, Kerry Rempel shared her experience ““As a consultant, we rarely get an opportunity to work with a nonprofit client for an extended period of time. The structure of the BESTI program allowed for a deeper relationship to be built that extended beyond the “deliverables” of a contract. Because neither group was focused on billable hours or a specific item needing to be delivered, we had the opportunity to really dig into the root causes to issues facing the organization and to have frank discussions about where they were strong and where they wanted to make change. I would highly recommend this process to both consultants and organizations.”
To learn more about Kelowna’s Gospel Mission or to donate, visit http://kelownagospelmission.ca

Photo credit: courtesy of BESTi partner, Kelowna Gospel Mission
Celebrating our second BESTi partner, Kelowna’s Cool Arts Society - a team dedicated to providing fine art opportunities to adults with diverse abilities. Founded in 2003 by Sara McDonald to address the lack of accessibility for artists in the diverse ability community - today, artists and their work have been featured and celebrated across BC!
BESTi—the Building Excellence & Sustainability Together Intensive program is a partnership between Central Okanagan Foundation, City of Kelowna, the Non-profit Lifecycles Institute, Vantage Point and Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union.
"The BESTi program has been transformative for Cool Arts because we reflected on the organization’s current structure, set priorities within our capabilities, and at the same time build capacity. With the BESTi support and guidance of our amazing consultant, Weldon Leblanc, we feel empowered, energized, and unstoppable, which ultimately supports our raison d'être—the Artists of Cool Arts!”
Building a community practice for local knowledge leaders and consultants was designed into the BESTi program—leading Cool Arts Society on their capacity journey was Weldon Leblanc.
“I loved the comprehensive approach of the BESTi program. It reinforced to me that consultants need to meet organizations where they are and focus on the capacity challenges holding organizations back. My group thrived on the peer-to-peer learning environment. They learned that they didn't have to do it all right now.
Once they recognized their organization lifecycle, they breathed a sigh of relief—that it was ok not to be perfect and 'do it all' right now. This allowed them to focus on building the organization for the future with a focus on addressing their capacity challenges. As a consultant, I found the BESTi program to be the perfect living laboratory for not-for-profit organizations - and an opportunity for consultants to hone their skills.”
To learn more about Cool Arts Society or to donate, visit http://coolarts.ca
Follow along as we continue to highlight our BESTi participants over the next few weeks.
Photo credit: courtesy of BESTi partner, Cool Arts Society
How do you know you have a winning program? When participating organizations dedicate 12 months of leadership knowledge to collaborating, learning, and growing, that’s how!
BESTi—the Building Excellence & Sustainability Together Intensive program is a partnership between Central Okanagan Foundation, City of Kelowna, the Non-profit Lifecycles Institute, Vantage Point and Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union.
Meet our first BESTi participant, Childhood Connections–Okanagan Family & Childcare Society. Serving Kelowna since 1977, Childhood Connections provides services & resources to help children across the region grow and thrive in safe, secure and healthy environments.
Executive Director Melissa Hunt says of their experience with the BESTi program, "Working with our consultant has supported us on seeing where we are as an organization, where we have come from and helped us to review next steps on our organizational life cycle journey. It has been an amazing process and really got us to thinking differently and dig in deep to what our purpose and mission is as an organization."
BESTi consultant Lesley Dyck shares, “Participating in the BESTi program with Vantage Point was such a great opportunity to learn about the ‘Nonprofit Lifecycle Model’ and apply it in practice simultaneously. Being in a cohort situation allowed me to learn from other skilled and experienced consultants and provide my volunteer time to support the learning of a dynamic community based nonprofit organization. This program supported me to think deeply about the ‘Lifecycle Model’ and to see it applied in action to a diversity of nonprofit organizations … an absolutely unparalleled learning opportunity! I have such appreciation for the team and support from Vantage Point … thank you!”
To learn more about Childhood Connections or to donate, visit https://childhoodconnections.ca
Photo credit: photo courtesy of BESTi partner, Childhood Connections
It’s no secret First West Foundation loves community, and we know you do, too! So, with that in mind, we’re pleased as punch to announce our 2022 Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union Community Endowment grants. Another record-breaking year, we’re sending out $667,600 to 45 charities across the region.
Kudos again to the successful recipients and gratitude-filled thanks for the work you continue to champion in your communities.
The complete nitty-gritty details - all of them - are right here: https://bit.ly/3NmQN0s
The First West Foundation is pleased to be sending out 20 Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union Community Endowment grants totaling $177,270 to charities across the Okanagan.
Congratulations again to the successful recipients and a heartfelt thank you for the amazing work you continue to carry out in your communities.
Looking for the details and a little more information? Check it out here: https://bit.ly/3ynVsuJ
200 - 19933 88 Avenue
Langley, British Columbia
V2Y 4K5
Causes we care about

  • Philanthropy and Capacity Building

  • Poverty

  • Social Services

Businesses whose employees volunteer with us
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