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$450,000 Funding will Expand Single Mothers’ Support Program to Five New Communities

$450,000 Funding will Expand Single Mothers’ Support Program to Five New Communities

B.C. – November 1, 2012 – The YWCA Metro Vancouver is expanding its Single Mothers’ Support Services program to five new communities, thanks to a $450,000 investment from three B.C. credit unions.

The YWCA’s Single Mothers’ Support Program works to ensure women parenting alone are able to achieve personal and economic independence. The funding from Coast Capital Savings, Vancity and Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union, will allow support groups to be established in Surrey, Port Coquitlam, Aldergrove, Maple Ridge and Abbotsford. Previously, single mothers had to travel into Vancouver to take advantage of the service.
The YWCA program expansion is the result of the vision of three female credit union CEOs, Coast Capital’s Tracy Redies, Vancity’s Tamara Vrooman, and First West’s Launi Skinner, who decided to pool resources to ensure much-needed services are available to more single mothers in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

“I am inspired by the generosity of the three credit unions and the exceptional women who lead them – Tracy Redies, Tamara Vrooman and Launi Skinner,” says Janet Austin, CEO YWCA Metro Vancouver. “They show us the true meaning of cooperation and they demonstrate that it is possible for competitors to collaborate to drive positive social change. With their support, the YWCA can create the conditions for many single mothers to build better futures for themselves and their children. ”

Quotes from the three credit union CEOs

“After Tamara, Launi and I heard the stories and struggles of some of the single mothers in our province, we all felt compelled to help these women have a chance at making a better life for themselves and their children. I am delighted that we have partnered with the YWCA in this way and encourage other organizations to support the YWCA and help end the cycle of poverty in our province.”
-Tracy Redies, President & CEO, Coast Capital Savings

“The YWCA has been providing programs that are so critical to the wellbeing of single mothers for many years. This is a great example of how cooperatives can come together to help offer a program that supports women parenting alone as they strive to gain their personal and economic independence.”
-Tamara Vrooman, President and CEO Vancity

“For the First West and Envision Financial teams, this program is personal. Just this month as part of our own employee giving campaign, one of our employees shared a heartfelt story about what it was like growing up in a single-parent home and the amazing things her mom did to provide her with the same quality of life as other kids. It’s an experience that has shaped her forever, and to this day inspires her to give back. That’s why we’re proud to help fund the expansion of the YWCA Single Mothers’ Support Services program—because we know it will positively change the lives of mothers today and their children forever.”
-Launi Skinner, CEO, First West Credit Union

About the program investment/expansion
Earlier this summer, a three-year partnership was approved with each credit union contributing $50,000 per year to the program. This will fund six new Single Mothers’ support groups, providing participants with the resources to gain employment, go back to school, or find safe and affordable housing. Participating moms will also receive child care information, legal education and other community support.

Moms will meet weekly with a trained facilitator while their children are in child care at a local community services centre. All support groups are offered in partnership with local community service providers.

For more information on the Single Mothers’ Support Services program and local group details, visit: or telephone 604 895 5849.

About the Environmental Scan
The Environmental Scan was funded by Coast Capital Savings, Vancity and First West Credit Union and took place between February 20 and April 20, 2012. It explored the support services available and service gaps in Abbotsford, Langley, Maple Ridge, Surrey and the Tri-Cities. Over 100 service provider websites were reviewed and telephone conversations ensued with 42 organizations to examine services, frequency of use, barriers and specific services.  

About YWCA Metro Vancouver
YWCA Metro Vancouver is a registered charity, providing a range of integrated services for women and their families, and those seeking to improve the quality of their lives. From early learning and care to housing, health and fitness, employment services and leadership, YWCA Vancouver touches lives in communities.

About Coast Capital Savings
Coast Capital Savings Credit Union is Canada's second largest credit union with total assets under administration of $13.5 billion, 475,000 members and 50 branches in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island regions of British Columbia.  Coast Capital offers one of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures™.  It is a member of Canada's Best Managed Companies Platinum Club and is an Imagine Canada Caring Company. To learn more, visit

About Vancity
At Vancity we make you good money by putting money to good. Our vision of redefining wealth incorporates personal and community well-being. We have distributed $221 million to members through dividends and to communities through grants and community investment initiatives since 1994. We are A Living Wage employer and Canada’s largest community credit union, with $16.1 billion in assets, more than 479,500 members and 58 branches throughout Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria and Squamish. | @vancity.

About First West Credit Union
First West Credit Union offers members the financial strength, comprehensive product selection and extended branch network of a large financial institution while maintaining local brand identities and a unique grassroots approach to service. Led by Launi Skinner, First West is British Columbia’s third-largest credit union with $6.6 billion in assets under administration, more than 169,000 members and close to

1,400 employees. It operates 37 branches throughout the province under the Envision Financial and Valley First brands. For more information on First West Credit Union, visit

Media contact:
For further information, interviews or images, contact Clare Hamilton-Eddy at Peak Communicators:
604 689 5559 /