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July 19 2006 Media Release

Sixth annual $1-million Vancity Award continues 60-year legacy of community giving

B.C. non-profits compete for largest corporate gift of its kind in Canada

Vancouver, July 19, 2006 – Vancity will once again offer four British Columbia non-profit groups the chance to compete for the largest corporate gift of its kind in Canada – a $1-million annual grant to support community projects.

Each year, Vancity shares 30 per cent of its profits with its members and communities, including the $1-million Vancity Award. This year marks the sixth year and a $6-million investment of the program, which supports the social, environmental and economic well-being of the community.

This year’s finalists include:

AIDS Vancouver Island and Cool Aid Society to provide capital funding for the development of an existing building into the ACCESS Health Centre; a new initiative to house a wide variety of primary health care and social services in one location for at-risk people.

Atira Women’s Resource Society for the for construction of a new building in Surrey to house the Maxxine Wright Community Health Centre that provides pre- and post-natal health care for at-risk pregnant and early parenting women and their children.

Crisis Centre for the expansion of its life-saving program that will provide 24/7 one-on-one online chat support to youth and adults in crisis across BC.

Quest Outreach Society to expand its Food Exchange that recovers good food from ending up in landfills and redistributes it through agencies in the Lower Mainland.

The winner is chosen by Vancity’s members, who will cast their votes online, by phone and in-branch from September 5 to October 13. The winner will be announced in November.

Previous winners included: Better Environmentally Sound Transportation for its greenway project (2001), Cultch’s theatre renovation project (2002), WISH’s Drop-in Facility expansion (2003) and PLEA Community Services Society of BC’s expansion of its KidStart Mentoring Program (2005).

For the Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery and Education Society, winner of the 2004 Vancity Award, the $1-million award enabled the Society to complete a $8.8-million campaign to build the Phoenix Centre. The Centre is a 47,000 square foot integrated addiction services centre in Surrey. "This award certainly pushed our campaign over the top," says Michael Wilson, Executive Director. "It created real synergy in our community and brought people together to realize our vision." The Centre will open this Fall.

"Vancity's long-term commitment to sustaining nonprofit organizations is commendable, and we hope it will inspire similar programs across the country," says Georgina Steinsky-Schwartz, president and CEO of Imagine Canada, a national organization that supports charitable and nonprofit organizations and socially responsible businesses in the work they do. "We congratulate Vancity for their outstanding leadership in building a strong community."

"As we celebrate our 60th anniversary this year, it’s a great opportunity to reflect on the past. But this award is also a wonderful way to look ahead and create a meaningful legacy for years to come. This Fall our members will vote on what that legacy will be," says Elain Duvall, Chair of Vancity's board of directors.

Vancity is Canada’s largest credit union, with $11.8 billion in assets, more than 335,000 members, and 46 branches throughout Greater Vancouver, the Fraser Valley and Victoria, as well as two Squamish Savings branches. This year, Vancity was named the Best Place to Work in Canada by Canadian Business Magazine and is celebrating its 60th anniversary. Vancity owns Citizens Bank of Canada, serving members across the country by telephone, ATM, and the Internet.