Valley First Community Endowment Grants Announced

We are delighted to announce the 2016 Valley First Community Endowment distributions totalling $115,031.

Valley First established a charitable endowment with the First West Foundation in 2010 to generate ongoing community funding in the Valley First region. Community distributions began the subsequent year and grants from this fund support charities and programs enhancing individual and community resiliency, particularly in the area of hunger and food security issues throughout Valley First’s communities. The scope of funding was broadened outside of food security issues leading to some innovative new projects being supported.

Below is an overview of the 15 charities and the projects that are being funded:

Organization Name /

Project Name

Project Description


Grant Amount

School District 58 - Vermilion Forks Elementary School


Afterschool Club

Funding for a daily 2 hour after school program which is supervised by qualified Educational Assistants for up to 20 students. Our school will use the funds to provide a safe and effective working atmosphere to further student's educational and social development by providing a combination of recreation time, healthy snacks and academic support.



Hands in Service Canada


Sustainable Nutrition through Social Justice

Funding will facilitate a pilot food security support and training program as part of a BC high school class, Social Justice 12, from September to June 2016/17 educating and engaging up to 120 students and volunteer team leaders and supporting up to 50 vulnerable clients struggling with disability, health, financial and social limitations. Hands in Service seeks to impact through volunteerism, community partnerships and service multiplication. This would include organizing and providing meals prepared in class using regular food bank ingredients cooked based on clients’ dietary needs.



SD53  -  Oliver Elementary


Farm 2 School Program

Funding for The Farm 2 School Salad Bar program. Continued funding to supplement students from families who do not consistently have the resources to provide lunches, are provided healthy meals through this program.



SD 53  -  Cawston Primary School


CPS Food Program

We are seeking funding to support out food program. We have expanded our hot lunch program from one day a week to three during the 2015-16 year and plan to increase this to five days a week in the upcoming year. We have observed an increase in attention, willingness to learn and general health in our students as we provide more access to healthy food. The breakfast program is a free program available to all kids. The lunch program is a paid program so we do have students who are able to afford the program but we also offer subsidy to those families who cannot pay.

Cawston, Keremeos


SD67  -  KVR Middle School


Breakfast Program & School Garden

Funding towards current Breakfast Program as well as the planning, building and establishment of a school garden. This year we have a team of teachers interested in teaching students across the school about local agriculture and food sustainability.



Food Action Society of the North Okanagan


Everybody Cooks

Funding to coordinate, strengthen and deliver cooking programs for children and vulnerable adults in the North Okanagan that exposes them to food preparation skills, food safety, nutrition and where food comes from. Funds will support delivery of Cook it. Try it. Like it as well as program planning, delivery and coordination of both Cook it. Try it. Like it! and Community Kitchens. The Cooking Coordinator will provide support to the cooking leaders and UBCO nursing students, identify priorities and opportunities, develop community partnerships, and support better promotion and evaluation.



Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs


Knowledge & Community Kitchens

Knowledge Kitchen - Connecting through Cooking: This proposed project at our Martin Avenue Community Centre will offer programs focused on healthy eating, nutritional education and food preparation for families who struggle to support themselves. Each session will include information on nutritional facts, access to low to no-cost foods, kitchen safety practices, skills to further develop knowledge in the kitchen and practice English speaking skills.

The Community Kitchen: Our program will be taught by a holistic nutritionist for at-risk and homeless youth staying in OBGC’s residential programs. Our participants are living with special needs, poverty, homelessness, addiction issues and poor physical health – including malnourishment, educational gaps and lack of life skills.



Interior Community Services


Educational Garden

Funding to finish the installation of an educational garden, measuring 5,200 square feet. The grant will be used for completing the irrigation system, installing shale pathways and the addition of a garden shed, harvest table and arbour. Community members either accessing programming on the site or those who have an interest in learning more about personal food security would be welcomed. The garden will support current program reaching the current population accessing programs, approximately 1,200 per year and has the expectation of significant growth once the construction is completed and educational workshops are offered.



Penticton & District Community Resources Society


Nutritional Enhancement Project for Penticton Childcare

Funding to expand our ability to meet the nutritional needs of the young people we serve and teach them about healthy cooking, eating and shopping to include the Oliver After School Program and the Oliver Infant Toddler program – also a young parent program. Many of the children that access our services are considered “at risk” due to low income, family instability, unemployment and children with support needs.

Penticton and Oliver


Canadian Mental Health Association


Meals Matter: Nutritional Resources, Education and Training Program

Funding to support food costs and direct nutrition coach staff wages for our year round nutrition and education program that prepares and serves more than 8,000 fresh and frozen meals for low income individuals (youth, adults, and seniors) and their families. Dedicated participants gather four times per week in the Meals Matter kitchen; a busy, vibrant, and dynamic place where learning is hands-on and team-based for people who are experiencing mental health and/or substance use challenges.



JUMP in association with Royal Inland Hospital Foundation


Community Drop-in Centre & Community Kitchen

Funding for this innovative program which is open six days a week for people living on fixed incomes, the disabled, the homeless and individuals and families struggling to make ends meet and struggling to break social isolation toward community reintegration by way of healthier lifestyles, education, life skills & employment supports. Program sessions will include art and crafts, budgeting, nutrition information, life skills, access to free food, and cooking classes. Our objectives are to make all participants leave with the skills and knowledge to access nutritious meals within their individual means and a place to securely socialize.



South Okanagan Similkameen Medical Foundation


Patient Care Tower at Penticton Regional Hospital

First installment of 5 towards a $100,000 commitment from the Valley First Community Endowment. An additional $50,000 is being committed from the credit union’s community investment funding for a total of $150,000 from Valley First. Funding towards a large capital campaign for the Patient Care Tower at Penticton Regional Hospital (PRH). The new Patient Care Tower will include new ambulatory care clinics, 84 single-bed rooms, five operating rooms, new digital imaging equipment, MRI, helipad and UBCO Medical School. Phase 1 of the construction begins in 2016 and will be completed by early 2019.



Okanagan Similkameen Neurological Society


Valley First Teaching Kitchen at OSNS

Funding to turn our existing kitchen into a food and nutrition teaching space for children and families in the South Okanagan Similkameen. This program will run in cooperation with our Learning and Sharing Garden and will include teaching about healthy food choices in light of the food sensitivities and texture preferences of many children with developmental challenges. This will be an activity based teaching program that will allow families to practice nutritious food preparation in cooperation with their children. The intent is for children to establish early relationships with nutritious foods leading to long-term positive health outcomes.



Penticton & District Multicultural Society (South Okanagan Immigrant & Community Services)


Homework Club

Funding to establish an after school program in Oliver that offers tutoring sessions to elementary school students between the ages of 8-12 who are children of newcomer immigrants or new to Canada themselves. As English is not their first language, this group generally requires additional academic support to boost their learning.



Whitevalley Community Resource Centre


Breaking Bread: Building Capacity in the Community

Funding will allow us to provide additional healthy food and snacks to more/different clients who might be vulnerable at our Senior Drop-In, Saddle Mountain and in the community, Parent and Tot groups, After School, weekend and Summer Day Camp programs. Funding will support 2 ongoing programs.