Two endowment funds to honour credit union founder

First West Credit Union, which operates under the Envision Financial and Valley First brands, is creating two endowment funds totalling $30,000 in honour of Chilliwack founder Ben Voth.

First West Credit Union, which operates under the Envision Financial and Valley First brands, is creating two endowment funds totalling $30,000 in honour of Chilliwack founder Ben Voth.

“Although Mr. Voth passed away in 2010, his legacy still lives on through First West,” board chairman Shawn Neumann said in a news release.

“He served on our board of directors for an amazing 42 years, 38 of which were spent as board chair,” Neumann said.

“He had such an incredible passion for the credit union system, and he dedicated his life to helping his fellow British Columbians.”

Voth was one of 22 founding members of the East Chilliwack Credit Union, as it was called back in 1954, a co-operative committed to helping Fraser Valley residents when the big banks refused.

But Voth’s contributions went beyond service to a single institution, as he served on a number of boards and committees between 1978 and 1990, including the Credit Union Reserve Board and a financial services committee during the Canada/U.S. free trade negotiations.

In 1990, Voth was part of the B.C. delegation to the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, and in 1994 he received the Distinguished Service Award from the Credit Union Foundation of B.C. in recognition of his contributions to the credit union system.

The announcement of the two endowments, which will support students pursuing post-secondary education in construction and related programs, coincides with Voth’s induction to the Canadian Co-Operative Hall of Fame, which recognizes outstanding credit union leaders.

Ken Voth said his father would have been honored by the induction, but “even more importantly, he’d be profoundly happy to see funds from these endowments helping people and making a real difference in local communities.”

First West is now B.C.’s third-largest credit union with $6.2-billion in assets, 167,000 members and 1,300 employees in 37 branches around the province.

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