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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
Island Savings a division of First West Credit Union
Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union
Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union
Okanagan Fruit Tree Project Society
Chilliwack Bowls of Hope Society
Stories of our community involvement
We asked our First West Credit Union colleagues, affectionately known as First Westers, to bust out their denim and JeanUp to support BC Children's Hospital for the 16th year in a row!
We couldn't be more excited as hundreds of colleagues and branch teams answered the call showing off their jeans, raising funds and helping get BC's kids out of their hospital gowns and back into their jeans!
Our Foundation team is energized and happily pounding the pavement to participate in the Workout to Conquer Cancer. We're running, walking, hiking, gardening, chasing our children and playing with the dog - committed to intentional movement for at least 30 minutes every day in May. And we're not alone, many First West Credit Union staffers are doing the same, individually and on teams.
Last week we shared WHY we are participating in the Workout. This week, our small but might team of five is showing you HOW the Fab Fit Five are supporting the Workout to Conquer Cancer.
We are so proud of the two-year, $200,000 First West Credit Union partnership with the BC Cancer Foundation and we’re thrilled to be participating in the Workout to Conquer Cancer Challenge across all four regional divisions:
Enderby & District Financial, a division of First West CU, Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union, Island Savings a division of First West Credit Union and Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union.
Colleagues all across First West Credit Union are intentionally moving in May in support of the Workout to Conquer Cancer.
This first week we asked WHY they work out! They are making it personal with so many amazing reasons why: for those who have lost the fight, for those who are fighting, for those who have won, for our family, for our children, for our friends, for ourselves!
We are so proud of the two-year, $200,000 First West Credit Union partnership with the BC Cancer Foundation and we’re thrilled to be participating in the Workout to Conquer Cancer Challenge across all four regional divisions:
Enderby & District Financial, a division of First West CU
Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union
Island Savings a division of First West Credit Union
Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union
As we wrap up National Volunteer Week, we say thank you to all our amazing First Westers who lead, volunteer and make their communities brighter.
Happy National Volunteer Week!
If you’ve been following along, you learned about fried, poached, and scrambled – egg preferences, that is. We think it aligns with the universe on the final day of our volunteer series, our final spotlight volunteer likes her eggs all the ways!
Staying in the Island Savings a division of First West Credit Union region, we introduce you to Tanya.
Growing up in Parksville, Tanya always wanted to live elsewhere. Now she lives in Nanaimo and wishes she lived in Parksville! Murphy’s Law is often at work in most unusual ways.
Since 2020, Tanya has had a standing-order volunteer shift at Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank in Nanaimo every Friday. She began in the warehouse sorting donations and has since moved to the weekly distribution centre where the food recipients come to select their food hamper items.
In a word, volunteering is all about connection for Tanya. Many office workers became remote office workers at the onset of the pandemic. Tanya was no exception, and she began to miss the daily exchanges with her colleagues. “Being a regular at a distribution centre allows me to work with others who have a passion for helping the community,” she shares. “It provided me with that sense of team and connection.”
Connection with the food bank recipients has become equally important as she sees many of the same faces, providing a remarkable opportunity for engagement on a personal level. As Tanya says, “we all thrive on more connection and volunteering makes me feel connected to my community. It feels so good to spend time making a difference and connecting with the recipients, who are always so grateful.”
We asked Tanya if she could have any career, what would she do. Turns out she would run a co-op that provides a community garden, space for a farmer’s market and an education space for teaching essential skills, including a financial literacy component. We think that’s pretty rad.
We see your volunteer heart on full display as you lead well in your community, Tanya. We thank you and celebrate your commitment to and care for your Island neighbours.
If you have not heard, we love our First West volunteers and we are celebrating them all week - a little louder than usual. We’re wildly cheering on Canada’s 24 million volunteers with a well-deserved round of applause, too. It’s National Volunteer Week, join us as we celebrate civic minded First Westers and all they do for our communities.
If you’ve been following along, you know. If you haven’t, check out this link to get caught up on your colleagues: https://bit.ly/3EUlibB
Happy National Volunteer Week!
Today we’re travelling even further west to introduce you to Rylee with our Island Savings a division of First West Credit Union team.
As the adage goes, home is where the heart is. And Rylee’s love is the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island where she has volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Cowichan Valley since 2014. Volunteering with their In-School mentoring program as a role model and friend to talk to and share the experiences of growing up within the school environment.
While Rylee began her volunteer journey as an In-School mentor, as an Island Savings Youth Ambassador she had a unique opportunity to participate in the Go Girls! Program as well. Go Girls is a BBBS group mentoring program for tweens, young teens focused on fostering on positive self-image and self-esteem. Continuing to volunteer through the pandemic, these days Rylee does a mix of in person and virtual sessions.
It’s clear Rylee has a volunteer heart. When asked about her ideal job, it would be a teacher in an under-developed country. Running a close second would be building schools in countries that need them as she says, “everyone deserves the right to education, and it would be so meaningful to be able to provide to those in need.” We couldn’t agree more!
One doesn’t have to look far to see Rylee is making a difference. “I love hearing how well my mentee in doing after my time with them,” she shares. “I once had a parent tell me just how much I had helped their daughter grow and how much my mentoring impacted her life.”
Her why? Simple. “Volunteering makes my heart happy and brings me so much joy,” she shares. “I volunteer because I know how important it is to the community and I love seeing the difference that I am making.” We love your why, Rylee and we say thank you for leading well in your community.
#NVW2022 #EmpathyInAction #VolunteersBringHeart
Volunteers really are the heartbeat of a community. And we are taking this opportunity to send a boisterous shout out to all volunteers as these vital relationships create caring and compassionate communities.
As we celebrate National Volunteer Week and the theme for 2022, Volunteering is Empathy in Action, we turn our eyes to our Penticton community and #SimpleGenerosity Volunteer Award recipient Elaine Carbonneau.
Elaine has been volunteering with Penticton Soupateria for the past five years. Upon retiring from Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union a few years ago, she added the Penticton Art Gallery and Queens Park Elementary School to her growing volunteer repertoire, delightedly filling her retirement years contributing to her community.
It is easy to see why Elaine is described as an exceptional volunteer, spreading simple generosity in her community. “She is such a bright and cheerful spirit,” shares Valley First staffer and fellow Soupateria volunteer, Gwen Rikkinen. “Even after retiring from Valley First, she added even more volunteering to her schedule. She has lots of positive energy, happily volunteers at multiple venues and is ready to roll up her sleeves and get to work. She is such a pleasure to volunteer with.”
Elaine joyfully volunteers at Soupateria helping prepare meals for clients, helps at the Penticton Art Gallery in the gift shop and volunteers for the hot lunch program at Queen Park Elementary.
Nominated by Gwen Rikkinen, Elaine was selected earlier this year and excitedly made a $1,000 donation, courtesy of First West Credit Union, to Penticton Soupateria.
“Once I retired it was my vision to pick up where my mom left off,” shared Elaine when she was told she was receiving a Simple Generosity Volunteer Award. “Volunteering is deeply rooted in my soul and the Soupateria pulls at my heart strings in ways that I’ll never be able to convey.”
Thank you, Elaine for your incredible volunteer efforts. You are leading well in your community and Penticton shines brighter for your commitment to making a difference in the lives of others. You definitely bring heart!
#EmpathyInAction #NVW2022 #VolunteersBringHeart First West Foundation
Today we travel a little further south and west to highlight Danielle with our Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union team.
Happy National Volunteer Week 2022!
Volunteering has been a lifelong pursuit for Danielle, giving back since she was a teen. Now with a family of her own, it comes as no surprise that giving back remains a central theme in the Viel household. In 2019, Danielle’s husband was brought on by the Cloverdale Community Kitchen to run a community bike shop. Naturally, it was both an opportunity and a perfect fit for Danielle to jump right in, feet first!
Danielle takes her volunteer role very seriously as she maintains the bike shop website, assists with inventory, runs fundraiser bike sales and pitches in on other administrative and development work.
While it is hard to pick just one reason, Danielle has always found it very fulfilling to volunteer from an early age. And not only is volunteering fulfilling, it is also fun.
And she knows a thing a two about volunteering. Danielle spent a year volunteering full-time after Hurricane Katrina where she helped run a disaster relief centre. She matched hurricane-devastated residents with volunteers, just like herself, who came from all over North America to help locals repair roofs, gut houses and provide a host of post-hurricane community support.
“I love to help people, it helps keep my priorities in line and my life in perspective,” she says. “It gives me the opportunity to join forces with others to give back to our local community. Volunteering with the community bike shop is extra special because of my love for cycling and I get to support my husband!”
We salute your leadership Danielle and celebrate you as you lead well in your community! Thank you for your volunteer heart and for creating stronger communities at home and away.
#NVW2022 #EmpathyinAction #VolunteersBringHeart
Welcome to National Volunteer Week 2022! We’re spotlighting First West Credit Union staff (affectionately known as First Westers) who generously give back to their communities through volunteering.
Today we’re kicking off the week with shared service colleague Tony, working out of the Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union region. And we’re introducing you to Penticton parkrun!
Penticton parkrun is a weekly, family friendly, fun 5K community event. Run, walk, jog, volunteer or spectate; how you participate is up to you! A native of New Zealand, when Tony moved to Penticton there weren’t any parkruns anywhere in Canada. His team of four (two families) contacted parkrun global who cleared the way with some insurance challenges. One step closer, Tony and his team jumped through a few more hoops and got their Penticton event approved. Fundraising began in earnest to officially launch Penticton parkrun.
With 133 events under their belt and counting, Penticton parkrun takes place every Saturday at 8 am at the Peach. It comes as no surprise; the volunteers are the glue. A well-oiled machine, a core group of about 10 volunteers keeps the event running each week. Tony is often one of those volunteers and has worn many hats from set/takedown to event timer to processing results to finish tokens and run director.
If you ask Tony why it’s important to volunteer, he’s pretty matter of fact. “It’s just great to bring something to the community that is free and has a low cost of participation,” he says. “Grab some shoes, register online and you’re good to go!” Tony is quick to share the volunteer spotlight, celebrating a fellow volunteer has run twice but has volunteered over 110 times! Did we mention Tony has volunteered around 100 times!
The course is always the same. In the neighbourhood? Come on out and give it a try! Kudos to you, Tony for your leadership in bringing Penticton parkrun to the community. You are leading well, and the community is stronger for it!
Happy Earth Day! Each of us has a growing responsibility to take better care of where we live. Each drop of change creates a ripple effect so desperately needed.
How can we make change? Bring your own bags when you’re shopping, combine errands to save time, gas and the environment, compost, switch to online billing, use a reusable water bottle, reduce your printing, grow a garden or buy local food. There are many other ways to make change happen and invest in our planet. #earthdayeveryday
The board and staff of the First West Foundation wish you and your family a safe, healthy and happy Easter weekend. We hope some chocolate is in your future!

#goodfriday #easter #easterweekend #community #eastereggs #chocolate #easterbunny
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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