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Nov 24: Surrey non-profit receives $1-million Award

Surrey non-profit receives $1-million Award to build drug and alcohol addiction services centre

Vancouver, November 24, 2004 – A Surrey non-profit organization has won a $1-million grant from Vancity Credit Union to build a drug and alcohol addiction services centre in Whalley.

This year’s $1-million Vancity Award goes to the Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Society to complete a $5.6-million campaign to build the Phoenix Centre near Surrey Memorial Hospital. This 34,000-square-foot centre will be one of the first projects to integrate addiction services, transitional housing, employment and education services under one roof for more than 100 recovering addicts a year. It is expected to be open next fall.

“The construction of the Phoenix Centre will be only the beginning of the Vancity Award legacy. The real legacy will be in the lives of the individuals who find the necessary support to overcome their addiction and build the skills necessary to make a contribution to their community,” says Michael Wilson, executive director of the Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Society.

The $1-million Vancity Award, the largest corporate gift of its kind in Canada, was established in 2001 by Vancity’s Board of Directors to support the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the community. The funds are available to non-profit groups in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Victoria.

The Phoenix Centre was chosen from three finalists by Vancity members who voted by ballot, online and over the phone for their choice of project in September and October. This is the fourth year of the Award that saw applications submitted from 80 non-profits and the highest number of votes in the Award’s history. The funds for the Award come from a percentage of Vancity profits set aside each year for community initiatives.

The two other finalists included PLEA (Pacific Legal Education Association) for its KidStart Mentoring Program to create a permanent mentoring centre and expand services across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island; and the Queen Alexandra Foundation for Children to build a one-stop centre for child, youth and family services in Victoria’s western area where there are many single-parent and low-income families in need.

“These were all worthy intiatives. We would have been proud to fund any of them, but the decision was up to our members,” says Elain Duvall, Chair of Vancity’s Board of Directors. “The Vancity Award is about innovation and the Phoenix Centre, with its integration of health, social and economic services, has really shown that. We think that it will make a huge difference, not only in the lives of recovering addicts, but on the health of the community overall.”

Vancity CEO Dave Mowat wants to thank the groups for their bold ideas and Vancity members for taking the time to vote.

“We are pleased to see so many of our members working with us to build better communities,” Mowat says. “We fully support their choice of the Phoenix Centre. This project will take a visionary approach to delivering much-needed services and we look forward to seeing the difference it will make in the years to come.”

For more information about the Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Society, visit

Letters of intent for the next Vancity Award will be accepted from non-profit organizations in the communities Vancity serves starting in March 2005. Click here For more information.

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.