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$50K to Foundry Kelowna

Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, has deepened its community bonds through a major donation. The financial institution has announced a $50,000 contribution to Foundry Kelowna, a new integrated youth mental health care centre. Funds for the initiative are being raised by the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation, in partnership with Canadian Mental Health Association Kelowna.

This significant gift is one of three $50,000 grants distributed by First West. A part of the credit union’s Simple Generosity initiative, inspired by Canada 150 celebrations, $150,000 will be reinvested in the heart of Canadian culture—local communities. A team of Valley First leaders and employees announced the news to Foundry Kelowna this morning.

“Valley First cares deeply about reinvesting in our communities—it’s not just what we do, but a part of who we are,” says Susan Ewanick, president at Valley First. “New to the Central Okanagan, Foundry Kelowna will make a significant, positive impact to the way youth mental health is addressed. We are honoured to be part of a cause that will contribute to building a culture of wellness in our community.”

Foundry Kelowna is part of the British Columbia Integrated Youth Services Initiative, a provincial movement to provide patient-centered care for young people age 12-24 and their families. With a focus on early intervention and cooperation between clinical and social support programs, Foundry Kelowna will bring 25 organizations and service agencies under one roof to offer solution-based programs, transforming the way youth mental health is addressed in our communities.

“Foundry Kelowna is an exciting new way to look at helping youth and families experiencing mental illness,” says Doug Rankmore, CEO at the KGH Foundation. “The KGH Foundation is proud to have been able to partner with the Canadian Mental Health Association—Kelowna Branch—who’s skill and dedication is so critical to the success of this project. We understand that it takes many hands to create meaningful change and we are so proud to have Valley First as a leading supporter of this innovative change in how youth and families receive help. This gift demonstrates leadership in the business community in how to play a critical role in creating and sustaining a healthy, vibrant community.”

Foundry Kelowna’s application for the $50,000 grant was one of 29 projects submitted by community non-profits, which were shortlisted during a four-week public voting period facilitated by Volinspire, a community engagement platform bringing together volunteers and community organizations. With more than 2,100 votes cast, the 10 most-voted submissions were assessed by a committee that included Ewanick among other Valley First employees, and MP Dan Albas.

"I am honoured to have participated in the Simple Generosity initiative; with so many outstanding applications it was a challenging process,” said Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola MP Dan Albas. “I would like to sincerely thank the many organizations who put forward well thought out projects and ideas for the betterment of our region."

This substantial donation is one of three $50,000 grants distributed by First West’s Simple Generosity initiative. In addition, the 12-month program works with individuals or teams of volunteers to make donations of $1,500, courtesy of First West, to the non-profit of their choosing. In total Valley First, along with Enderby & District Financial, also a division of First West Credit Union, will donate more than $83,000 to local communities in 2017, to spread Simple Generosity.

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