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Sept 7 2006 Media Release

Vancity members’ million-dollar vote will change lives

Four community non-profit organizations vying for annual award

Vancouver, September 7, 2006 - Voting is underway for the 340,000 Vancity members who will get to choose the recipient of the sixth annual $1-million Vancity Award.

The Vancity Award was created by Vancity's Board of Directors to support the social, environmental and economic well-being of the communities served by Vancity and continues the 60-year tradition of giving back. The Award is funded through Vancity's "Shared Success" program which returns 30 per cent of net profits to members and local communities. Since 1994, more than 2,600 non-profit organizations have received more than $46 million in the form of grants and community contributions.

"Vancity members have a unique opportunity to let their voices be heard and to effect positive change in their community," said Vancity board chair Elain Duvall. "I urge members to take the time to vote as their decision to do so will have a meaningful and long-lasting impact on those around us who need it the most."

Voting for the Vancity Award is supported by a member-directed promotional campaign featuring a series of powerful and thought-provoking posters showcasing the important cause or societal issue addressed by the short-listed organizations.

"The Vancity Award is about empowering change in the community," remarked Kari Grist, vice president of marketing. "We want to make an impactful and emotional appeal to members about why and how their vote makes a difference."

This year's Vancity Award finalists are:

AIDS Vancouver Island and Cool Aid Society
High rates of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C infection, chronic housing shortages and lack of addictions and mental health resources have pushed Victoria's downtown homeless and at-risk community to the brink. The Vancity Award will 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.

Crisis Centre
The Crisis Centre offers B.C.'s youth unique access to life-saving services during times of crisis with its web-based hotline "" This confidential online service offered by trained volunteers is free, non-judgmental and the only website of its kind in Canada. The Vancity Award will enable the Crisis Centre to enhance the site's chat function, expand its service hours to 24/7 and create a similar service for adults.

Atira Women's Resource Society
The Maxxine Wright Community Health Centre in Surrey provides pre- and post-natal health care for at-risk pregnant and early parenting women and their children who struggle with substance use, mental health issues, violence and a reluctance to seek medical services. The Vancity Award will support construction of a new building to house the Centre along with emergency daycare, transitional housing and a community kitchen.

Quest Outreach Society
Quest Outreach Society's Food Exchange rescues food and reduces hunger. It collects edible but unmarketable food from suppliers and redistributes it to 50,000 people a month through partnerships with social service agencies in the Lower Mainland. The Vancity Award will triple the capacity and infrastructure of the food exchange, enabling it to rescue more food and reduce the impact of food waste on the environment.

Voting for the Vancity Award recipient is just one way Vancity members can make a difference in their community. Members who are enviro VISA cardholders can vote on the environmental issue to be supported through the enviroFund. Five per cent of annual Vancity VISA card profits, totalling more than $1.4 million, have been awarded to local groups since enviroFund was established in 1990.

Vancity members are encouraged to vote for this year's Vancity Award beneficiary at a Vancity branch, online at, or by phone at 604-877-7000 or 1-888-Vancity. Members will receive ballots in their September monthly statements. The deadline for voting is 5:00 p.m. on October 13. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in late November.

Vancity is Canada's largest credit union, with $11.8 billion in assets, more than 340,000 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. For further information, visit: