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Aug 17: BC non-profits compete for $1-Million grant

BC non-profits compete for $1-Million grant

Vancouver, BC – Three BC non-profit groups have been shortlisted by Vancity Credit Union for its annual $1-million award - the largest corporate gift of its kind in Canada.

Finalists for this year’s award are PLEA (Pacific Legal Education Association), the Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Society and the Queen Alexandra Foundation for Children and its partner, the Organizations Regionally Collaborating for Action Society (ORCA).

The $1-million Vancity Award was established in 2001 by Vancity’s board of directors to support the social, environmental and economic well-being of the community. The funds are available to non-profit organizations in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Victoria.

The winner of this major grant is chosen by the credit union’s members, who will be able to cast their votes online, by phone and in-branch from September 6 to October 15. The winner will be announced in November.

“This award shows that Vancity is a Canadian leader in innovative philanthropy,” says Chris Pinney, director of Imagine, a national program to promote public and corporate giving, volunteering and community support, and vice president of corporate citizenship at the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy. “The award provides a level of support that enables small community-based non-profits to dramatically leverage their reach and impact. At the same time it directly engages and educates the community because they get to vote for the award-winning project.”

The finalist organizations for this year’s $1-million award are:

PLEA (Pacific Legal Education Association)
PLEA’s KidStart Mentoring Program helps kids age 6+ who are vulnerable to crime, addiction and exploitation. Trained volunteers provide time and friendship, and engage kids in activities that develop skills and promote success. The Vancity Award will create a permanent Mentoring Centre and expand services across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Society
The Vancity Award will complete a $5.6M campaign to build the Phoenix Centre, a 34,000 square foot centre located in Surrey that brings addiction services, transitional housing, employment and education services under one roof. Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley residents have expressed an urgent need to address addiction and homelessness. The Phoenix Centre’s vision is to build healthier families and safer communities by linking health and healing with jobs, education and safe housing.

Queen Alexandra Foundation and Organizations Regionally Collaborating for Action Society (ORCA)
The Vancity Award will be used to construct an early childhood and family learning centre in the Victoria area providing prenatal, child, youth and family programs. The project is being initiated by 20 community agencies driven by co-operative values working together to give families a one-stop-shop where they can access child and family services and community-based research. The centre will act as a service model for other organizations.

Past winners of the Vancity Award include Better Environmentally Sound Transportation (B.E.S.T.) for its greenway project, The Vancouver East Cultural Centre for its theatre renovation project and WISH Drop-in Centre for its new shelter for female sex trade workers on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Vancity is Canada’s largest credit union, with $9.3 billion in assets, 305,000 members, and 41 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria. Vancity was chosen as the best place to work in Canada for 2005 by Maclean’s Magazine as part of its annual Canada’s Top 100 Employers issue. Vancity owns Citizens Bank of Canada, serving members across the country by telephone, ATM, and the Internet. Both Vancity and Citizens Bank are guided by a commitment to corporate social responsibility, and to improve the quality of life in the communities where we live and work.