Valley First

$30,000 to Local Charities

Valley First employees pledge $30,000 to local charities
November 25, 2013

Penticton, B.C.—Valley First employees have reinforced their passionate commitment to making a real difference in the communities they serve by pledging $30,000 to local charities and community organizations in 2014.

Causes that will benefit most from Valley First’s generosity include Feed the Valley and United Way. Employees have committed to regular payroll deductions totaling $30,000 over the next 12 months; this is in addition to their regular giving and volunteer programs.

Stacey Gagno is one of the many Valley First team members who have renewed their pledge to charitable giving following a recent firsthand experience.

“I give because I feel that I am so blessed with my life,” says Gagno. “I know there are many people who are not so lucky. A few years ago, I was involved in a Christmas family donation for a single mom with 18-month old twins. I asked her what she needed and she said a crib mattress. She only had one mattress and the kids had been sharing. I was in tears by the time I got off the phone. As a mom I’ve thankfully never had to worry about things like this.”

Along with making a difference in someone else’s life, Gagno also saw a great opportunity to show her son how important helping others can be.

“I told my son that story and took him with me to shop for the items so that he might begin to understand how lucky he was and how many people don’t have the basics,” says Gagno. “I remember delivering the items we had bought and how incredibly taken aback and thankful this mother was with such a simple display of kindness. It really hit home for me and my son, how truly lucky we are and what a difference we can make.”

Seline Kutan, executive director of the First West Foundation—the charitable branch of Valley First that manages the employee giving program—says the generosity from Valley First employees is impressive.

“Thirty-thousand dollars can go a long way,” say Kutan. “This isn’t a corporate donation; these funds come directly off employee's paycheques each month and will make a huge difference in our communities. I know these donations will go a long way to improving the lives of those less fortunate. I couldn’t be prouder of the Valley First team for displaying this tremendous level of support and commitment to the areas in which they live and work.”

About Valley First

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 40 branches and 28 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has $7.1 billion in assets under administration, more than 171,000 members and close to 1,300 employees.

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