Giving back has long been a cornerstone principle of First Credit Union (FCU). Whether through member profit sharing, scholarships for local youth, or more recently with its Community Impact Day, the member-owned and driven financial cooperative has continued to help support and develop the communities of the Upper Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island.
This year First Credit Union is celebrating 80 years in Powell River.
“I am so appreciative of my time with First Credit Union; having the opportunity to learn and grow within an organization so rich with 80 years of history is humbling,” says manager of information systems Cindy Villani. “The changes I have been a part of during my 25 years are considerable as well as varied. The communities with First Credit Union branches see and feel our impact; this makes me so proud to work for a cooperative organization where giving back is a priority.”
Coinciding with its milestone 80th anniversary, the credit union launched its new vision and purpose this year, and the occasion was made memorable with a Dwight Hall celebration last month. While its aim has always been on building financially healthy communities, the credit union’s updated focus places special emphasis on increasing youth engagement and working to reduce poverty in the communities it serves, in addition to environmental sustainability and strengthening the local economy.
With membership increasing steadily over the past 80 years, the credit union now serves more than 13,000 members in five communities. This year it shared approximately $360,000 with its members in the form of profit share and dividends. This is a reflection of FCU’s membership and one of many benefits of the cooperative system.
First Credit Union and its community partners The Co-operators, First Insurance and Westview Agencies continue their local support through community investment funds awarded to various non-profit organizations each year with over $10,000 being awarded in 2019. FCU also continues local support through the donation and sponsorship program. Local organizations that have received support this year include Powell River Farmers’ Market, Powell River Therapeutic Riding Association, inclusion Powell River, Texada Island Seniors Housing Society, Powell River Gymnastics and Cheer Society, and Bowen Island Football Club, to name a few.
“Through First Credit Union’s sponsorship and donation program we are able to give support to a wide range of community-based or not-for-profit fundraising efforts and grassroots community projects,” says community relations coordinator Caitlin Bryant. “We are proud to contribute to the hardworking groups in our region.”
In addition to assisting the mission of community non-profits, FCU also mentors and helps develop young leaders through its youth program and scholarships. CULEAD Young Leaders is a youth leadership program for grade 12 students in Powell River. It helps participants develop business and public speaking skills and gives them leadership experience for the future in addition to a scholarship for continued post-secondary education.
FCU is also honoured to award the Ruth Allan Scholarship annually. The $1,000 award was established to be given to a grade 12 student in the region who has made a commitment to making a difference in the lives of others and demonstrated the capacity to save for and contribute to the cost of their education. Allan, affectionately known as the Credit Union Lady, taught children about the importance of saving through the original credit union’s school-savings program. This scholarship honours her legacy.
Although the credit union is proud to sponsor local events and initiatives such as the Coldest Night of the Year, YANA and PRISMA, making a difference in the community goes beyond paying member rebates, providing scholarships, sponsoring events and making donations. This year marks the fifth year the credit union will be participating in its Community Impact Day.
On Thursday, June 13, the credit union will be closing at 2 pm for the annual event. FCU employees will be volunteering with many local non-profit organizations, including Texada Food Bank and Powell River Action Centre Food Bank, BC SPCA Powell River and District Branch, and Willingdon Creek Village, among others.
While celebrating its anniversary, FCU recognizes that none of the good it helps to provide for the community would be possible without the continued support of its members.
“Our members are the reason we come to work every day and share our passion, empowering through knowledge,” says sales and service manager Kristy Cote. “Because of our members we are able to make a big impact locally; supporting them is supporting our community and its financial well-being.”
On Thursday, June 6, each branch will host a Member Appreciation Day. Members are invited to stop by for treats and refreshments. For more information, visit firstcu.ca.