Envision Financial launched a community response fund to help local charities during this time of crisis. They are hoping to encourage local charities to apply. A group of volunteers (above) working at a food bank were sorting non-perishable food items into boxes. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Envision Financial launched a community response fund to help local charities during this time of crisis. They are hoping to encourage local charities to apply. A group of volunteers (above) working at a food bank were sorting non-perishable food items into boxes. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Credit union giving local charities money in a hurry

Envision sets up new Community Response Fund, offering $600,000 in grants to area non-profits

A Langley-based credit union is giving out money to local charities in need due to COVID.

Envision Financial and the First West Foundation has launched a $600,000 community response fund to help charities, said Susan Byrom, executive director of the First West Foundation.

The charitable sector is facing a considerable challenge, she elaborated. COVID-19 has increased the demand on services that support the community’s most vulnerable—and decreased non-profit resources to provide these supports.

Sadly, said Richard Hill – board chair of the First West Foundation – this lack of resources is also limiting these organizations in their ability to fundraise for donations they “desperately need.”

First West Foundation, philanthropic partner to Envision Financial (a division of First West Credit Union), is stepping up to meet this need by launching its community response fund.

The fund will bestow $600,000 in community grants to charities in regions served by First West, specifically $300,000 in the Fraser Valley, Lower Mainland, and Kitimat regions.

“These organizations urgently need funds to deliver their programs and services to the community’s most vulnerable during the very difficult circumstances the pandemic has created,” Hill said. “Our mission is to help them do what they do best.”

Registered charities focused on addressing food security and basic needs for youth, families, and seniors impacted by COVID-19 are eligible to apply for the community response fund on the First West Foundation website.

“Typically, granting applications require detailed information to qualify and then the funds may take several months to be distributed,” Byrom explained.

“We know the need in our communities is urgent, so we’ve set up these funds as low-barrier – meaning the application process is fast and simple and funding will be disbursed quickly to address this need.”

The community response fund will provide $500,000 in grants to charitable organizations focused on food security and basic needs support for youth, families, and seniors most impacted by COVID-19 in the regions First West Credit Union serves.

Another component of the Community Help Fund will provide $100,000 in the form of two hundred $500 grants to charities that complete a profile on Do Some Good about their organization, to kickstart their fundraising efforts. Do Some Good is a social impact technology platform designed to amplify community impact by connecting Canadians with local causes.

Applications are now being accepted.

Charities can request any amount but may not receive all the funding requested.

A small committee will review grant applications and make funding recommendations, Byrom elaborated. And, as part of its community investment, First West Credit Union pays all operating expenses, ensuring 100 per cent of foundation funds are used for charitable purposes.

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