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The First West Foundation to Give Nearly $500,000 in Community Grants in 2014

LANGLEY, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/12/14 -- The First West Foundation, the private, charitable arm of First West Credit Union, today announced that it will donate close to $500,000 in 2014 to charitable organizations in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat, and the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Notably, in 2013, the Foundation distributed more than $350,000 in donations to 82 charities throughout British Columbia.

Helping to improve the quality of life for British Columbians in the communities served by First West Credit Union and its regional brands-Envision Financial, Valley First and Enderby & District Financial-the First West Foundation has proudly contributed more than $2.7 million to charities since 1998. Endowments held by the Foundation include the:

--  Envision Financial Community Endowment, supporting charities in the
    communities served by Envision Financial;
--  Valley First Community Endowment, supporting charities in the
    communities served by Valley First;
--  Enderby Financial Community Endowment, supporting charities in the
    communities served by Enderby & District Financial;
--  Envision-Region Employees' Endowment, supporting charities identified by
    Envision Financial employees;
--  Peter Podovinikoff Scholarship Endowment, generating scholarships for
    students demonstrating extensive community commitment;
--  Gord and Enrica Huston Endowment, supporting programs aimed at
    eradicating breast cancer;
--  Frank Jamieson Memorial Endowment, providing an annual bursary to a
    deserving high school student in Chilliwack;
--  Ben H. Voth Legacy Endowment, generating annual scholarships for
    students studying in the construction industry; and
--  Haukeland Family Legacy Fund, generating grants for charities selected
    by the Haukeland family.

Envision Financial Community Endowment-improving lives in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Kitimat

In 2014, grants in the Envision region from the Envision Financial Community Endowment will be used to fund projects supporting vulnerable populations. Additionally, recognizing the opportunity to strengthen the important work being done in the social services sector, grants will be provided to support organizational development initiatives such as leadership training and workshops to help improve the skills and abilities of staff or volunteers.

Valley First Community Endowment-improving lives in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys

Grants from the Valley First Community Endowment will focus on projects enhancing food security and support food-related programs such as community kitchens or children's breakfast and lunch programs. These grants complement work being done through Valley First's signature cause: Feed the Valley, a unique community partnership dedicated to a simple goal of tackling hunger by raising food, funds and awareness for local food banks.

Enderby Financial Community Endowment - improving lives in Enderby and Area F of the North Okanagan Regional District

2014 will mark the first year of distributions from the Enderby Financial Community Endowment and the fund has generated over $18,000 to share with the community. Grants will be available for youth-based programming, enhanced community education and literacy programs, general community services and seniors support services.

"We're thrilled to be able to increase the number of grants we'll be able to provide to the charities in our communities this year," says Seline Kutan, executive director of the First West Foundation. "There are so many worthy projects and organizations and I've seen firsthand the difference these endowments can make in a community. Our Foundation is very proud to continue our longstanding history of helping to improve the quality of life of thousands of British Columbians in our communities."

For information on applying for funding, visit www.firstwestfoundation.ca.

About The First West Foundation

The First West Foundation cares about the well-being of the communities served by First West Credit Union and its regional divisions, Envision Financial, Valley First, and Enderby & District Financial. The Foundation uses income generated from its endowments to help improve the quality of life for British Columbians in these communities. Since its inception in 1996, the First West Foundation has donated over $2.7 million in grants to local community groups and projects. The Foundation grows its endowments through charitable gifts and bequests. For more information, visit firstwestfoundation.ca.

About First West Credit Union

First West Credit Union offers members the financial strength, comprehensive product selection and extended branch network of a large financial institution while maintaining local brand identities and a unique grassroots approach to service. Led by Launi Skinner, First West is British Columbia's third-largest credit union with $7.7 billion in assets under administration, more than 177,000 members and close to 1,300 employees. It operates 39 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial, Valley First and Enderby & District Financial brands. For more information on First West Credit Union, visit www.firstwestcu.ca.

Follow us on Twitter: @firstwestcu

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