First West Credit Union donates $25,000 to support life-changing opportunities for female leaders of international credit unions
First West Credit Union is donating $25,000 to the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada in support of the Canadian Co-operative Association’s Women’s Mentorship Program.
Since 2001, First West has contributed close to $155,000 to Co-operative’s Women Mentorship Program in an effort to reduce poverty and support the development of co-operatives and credit unions in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
“The First West team believes that it is our responsibility to help build local economies at home and around the world,” says First West Credit Union Senior Vice-President Barry Delaney. “Today, as we celebrate International Credit Union Day, we are thrilled to once again contribute to the Canadian Co-operative Association’s international development initiatives. Through this organization, we are helping female leaders of overseas financial co-operatives gain the knowledge, experience and tools necessary to build healthy and sustainable credit unions for the benefit of their communities.”
“First West Credit Union has a long history of being a major supporter of the Canadian Co-operative Association’s efforts, making a significant difference in the lives of the women who participate in this unique professional development opportunity and knowledge exchange,” says Co-operative Mentorship Manager Laurie Tennian. “Over the years, First West has helped countless individuals and as well, strengthened the credit union systems in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Philippines and South Africa.”
An annual one-month training program for women leaders of overseas financial co-operatives, it provides a unique opportunity for professional development and career growth. Since the initiative began in 2002, there have been 137 graduates and more than 150 Canadian credit unions involved.
Delaney has experienced the impact of First West’s contribution firsthand, including a trip to Ghana in 2006 to help train and mentor credit union leaders. “Our focus on strengthening communities at a grass roots level here in B.C. and around the world makes credit unions like First West unique,” says Delaney. “It’s a source of pride for our members and employees.”
Last year, First West contributed more than $1 million of its operating profits to local communities in the form of scholarships, sponsorships and donations, and its employees volunteered over 4,000 hours of service. To encourage and acknowledge the devotion of its community investment, First West provides paid time off to full-time employees to volunteer and assist charities.
The First West Foundation also provides much-needed funding to community groups in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Thompson-Okanagan-Similkameen regions. The Foundation currently works to grow its endowments through charitable gifts and philanthropic giving. To date, the First West Foundation has donated over $2 million in grants to local community groups and projects. For more information, visit firstwestfoundation.ca.