How Valley First is Giving Back During COVID-19
Together with you, we’re able to make an incredible difference in the lives of people right here at home throughout the year. We do this by giving to causes and charities that help our communities thrive.
Right now, we’re all working to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and its impact on our communities. Whether you’re staying at home to flatten the curve or buying local to help keep shops in your neighbourhood afloat, every little bit helps in the big picture.
In addition to doing our part to keep our members and employees safe during COVID-19, we’ve taken swift action to protect some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. First West Credit Union, of which Valley First is a division, has committed $139,146 in community investment dollars to organizations that are supporting COVID-19 relief efforts. This includes $46,542 in COVID-19 relief efforts in the Valley First region and $92,604 in funding for local non-profits and charities across the region.
Our New Community Response Fund
We see the struggle the charitable sector is facing. COVID-19 has increased the demand on services that support our community’s most vulnerable—and decreased non-profit resources to provide these supports. Sadly, this lack of resources is also limiting these organizations in their ability to fundraise for donations they desperately need.
To address this, First West Foundation, philanthropic partner to Valley First, has launched its Community Response Fund, bestowing $600,000 in community grants to charities in regions served by First West. These grants are supporting charitable organizations focused on addressing food security and basic needs for youth, families and seniors impacted by COVID-19.
Our New Community Help Fund
As part of the Community Response Fund, First West Foundation has also launched the Community Help Fund, providing charities a boost to kickstart their fundraising efforts. Eligible organizations that complete a profile about their fundraising needs on Do Some Good—First West’s social impact technology partner—may be selected to receive one of 200 grants of $500 each.
Fighting hunger with Feed the Valley
Because of the ongoing impact of COVID-19, our local food banks are under increasing stress as those who require access to this support rises. We recently committed $19,050 to food banks through Feed the Valley, as part of our COVID-19 response efforts.
Feed the Valley is Valley First’s signature cause - a community-based program established to raise food, funds and awareness about the critical issue of hunger in the communities where Valley First operates.
Over 80,000 British Columbians accessed local food banks last year, with one in three under age 18. Together with our employees, members and community partners, we raised $329,920, the equivalent of 989,760 meals for British Columbians. This year, we hope to generate even more.
How you can help food banks during COVID-19
If you want to join us in helping our food banks, visit Feed the Valley webpage for more details on how you can get involved and donate. The great thing about Feed the Valley is all food and funds collected in your community stay in your community.
Support for other services
The impacts of the coronavirus are not limited to just those who access food banks. We recognize that vulnerable people in different circumstances have different needs and face distinct risks. We’re providing funds to other front-line services during COVID-19. Here are some of our current efforts that you’ve helped us make possible:
- Community Foundations of the Okanagan - Stay at Home Gala
- Kamloops Accent Inns - Healthcare Workers Support
- Kelowna Accent Inns - Healthcare Workers Support
- Kelowna General Hospital - White Heart Project
Involvement with community partners
We’re in this together as your neighbours and friends. Some of these initiatives are new and a direct result of the pandemic. Acknowledging this time of need for everyone, we’re providing an early release of funds to our current community partners that we support:
- BrainTrust Canada Association
- Cops for Kids Charitable Foundation
- Downtown Vernon Association
- Enderby and District Community Resource Centre
- Festivals Kelowna
- Interior Provincial Exhibition & Stampede
- OneSky Community Resources - Foundry Penticton
- PacificSport Interior BC
- Start Fresh Project
We believe in the power of partnership, working together to achieve social impact and making a difference in our communities. Find out how you can become part of something bigger by looking at our Community Leadership page.