Valley First


Celebrating community leadership for Canada 150

In support of Canada’s 150th anniversary, we are celebrating community leadership across British Columbia by recognizing local volunteers, non-profit organizations and charities that are making meaningful contributions in our communities.

From our Volunteer Awards to our Community Grants, we are partnering with inspiring individuals and organizations and we are making our communities stronger together. We like to think of it as simple generosity.


Volunteer Awards

We’re selecting 52 volunteers and empowering them to make a $1,500 donation, courtesy of First West Credit Union, to the non-profit of their choice.

Community Grants

We're giving out a $50,000 grant to one organization to further a community-focused project, program or initiative.


The stories behind #SimpleGenerosity

Behind every dollar awarded there is a story of inspiration and generosity. We’re proud to share these stories – stories of your community – with you.



Kelowna resident, Bob McCoubrey is donating his $1,500 award to the Central Okanagan Community Farm Society. Bob has played a key role in the start-up of Central Okanagan Community Farm Society – an organization committed to growing food in the valley for those in need of fresh produce. Their mantra is “Grow. Feed. Teach” and Bob donates hundreds of hours each year to ensuring the farm’s success. Last year they donated 20,000 pounds of produce to local charities and food banks. Bob encourages volunteers from all walks of life, cultures and backgrounds to participate. He has brought Syrian refugees in to benefit from the program as well as students, children, single mothers, families, seniors as well as clients from the John Howard Society of Central and South Okanagan and Karis Support Society.

Thank you for inspiring us Bob!


Kelowna resident, Dino Gini is donating his $1,500 award to Okanagan College Basketball Society. Dino played a role in creating the Kelowna College Basketball Society and has coached basketball in Kelowna for over 25 years. He created the program to provide opportunities for local players to compete at the next level without having to leave the community or province. Dino has always had a passion for basketball and he works hard to instill that passion in others and motivate youth in our community.




Enderby resident, Cheryl Heidt is donating her $1,500 award to Enderby Preschool Society. For the past 21 years, Cheryl has dedicated over 15,000 volunteer hours towards the Enderby Preschool Society. She has created a place for the community to come together and offer support and resources for families in the community. Cheryl continues to work determinedly on building a new fully equipped childcare centre for the community. It's Cheryl’s can do attitude that sets her apart and exemplifies that one person can make a difference.

Thank you for inspiring us Cheryl!


Congratulations to Foundry Kelowna - winner of our $50,000 #SimpleGenerosity community grant! Foundry Kelowna is a new integrated youth mental health care centre established by the KGH Foundation in partnership with Canadian Mental Health Association, Kelowna. With a focus on early intervention and cooperation between clinical and social support programs, Foundry Kelowna will offer solution-based programs and patient-centered care for young people age 12-24, transforming the way youth mental health is addressed in our communities.




Kamloops resident, Lee-Ann Donald is donating her $1,500 award to New Life Community Kamloops. For over 8 years, Lee-Ann has served as a board member and Secretary for New Life Community Kamloops. She is involved on multiple committees, including founding the New Life Clinic that provides free dental and medical services for homeless individuals. In addition to her numerous responsibilities with New Life and a full time position as a paralegal, she always can be found organizing a bake sale, jeans day or other fundraising initiative to generate support for New Life projects. It’s clear that Lee-Ann is passionate about helping others and her enthusiasm is contagious.

Thank you for inspiring us Lee-Ann!




Mark Dixon is donating his $1,500 award to Inn from the Cold Kelowna. For over 6 years, Mark has been a devoted leader for Inn from the Cold, serving as Chairman of the Board. It’s thanks to his hard work that the organization is able to support homeless individuals in the Okanagan Valley with overnight shelter beds and transition housing. Mark is selfless in his dedication to the organization and is a true inspiration to fellow volunteers and the community.

Thank you for inspiring us Mark!




Active volunteer and community leader Gwen Rikkinen is donating her $1,500 award to Penticton Soupateria. A volunteer for the past three years, Gwen actively recruits team members to serve lunches, making soup (from scratch!) with fresh sandwiches and tasty desserts, for nearly 100 hungry Soupateria patrons. Gwen also cultivates a positive community by spending time talking and telling stories with Soupateria clients and visitors.

Thank you for inspiring us Gwen!




Enderby resident Lorraine Powell is donating her $1,500 award to MacKenzie Camp Society. A favourite among children aged 7-16, MacKenzie Camp is all about discovering new activities, making new friends and having fun outdoors. Lorraine’s been a volunteer for the past 34 years, during which she’s touched the lives of thousands of youth. She’s held every position on the board of directors (some more than once!) and has also volunteered as a cook, medic, chaplain, and den mother—all the while showing constant support to MacKenzie Camp participants. But what really sets Lorraine apart is her positive energy; to Lorraine, there are no failures, only lessons learned.

Thank you for inspiring us Lorraine!



Don Penty of Kelowna, BC is donating his $1,500 award to Kelowna’s Pathways Abilities Society. Using fruit he’s harvested from his own backyard and through the Okanagan Fruit Tree project, Don gives hours of his time each week to peel, core and can his own homemade applesauce, which he then donates to Inn from the Cold and the hot lunch program at Pathways. Traditional applesauce may be his specialty, but Don also makes a mouth-watering apricot and cherry applesauce along with homemade baked treats! As a big fan of the outdoors, cooking and healthy eating, Don’s found a way to combine his passions to serve and support his community.

Thank you for inspiring us Don!




West Kelowna resident and volunteer Randy Hunt is donating his $1,500 award to the Central Okanagan Food Bank. For 21 years Randy has been volunteering his time at the food bank—everything from sorting and storing donations to assisting with pick-ups, deliveries, and hamper distribution. Donating nearly 30-40 hours of his time every week, the impact Randy’s made is truly immeasurable. He has a big role in operations of the food bank—it’s thanks to his hard work that the West Kelowna branch runs so efficiently. But it’s his personality and attitude that really make him shine as a volunteer; a definitive “go-to” person, Randy’s calming and positive attitude always puts clients and volunteers at ease.

Thank you for inspiring us Randy!




Thank you to our partner in #SimpleGenerosity.