May 24, 2022 (KELOWNA, B.C.)— Launch Okanagan is excited to partner with Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union on their Matched Saving program – a year-long program that educates, mentors and equips individuals with financial literacy to transform their lives.
Valley First has been a long-time supporter of Launch’s Matched Savings program, providing banking services and financial advice to many of the program’s participants.
“Financial literacy has always been an important need in the community, but even more so over the past couple of years as we’ve seen living costs increasing and budgets tightening,” says Sheila Ehlert, Board Director at Launch. “When like-minded local organizations come together, great things happen— and we see this first-hand with the Valley First and Launch partnership resulting in a Matched Savings’ program filling a huge need in the community.”
Ehlert also works as the Director of Retail Banking at Valley First which has given her deeper insight into the impact a program such as this has on the community.
The Matched Savings Program started over 10 years ago to not only equip lower-income individuals in our community with vital financial management skills, but also give them opportunities to reach their personal goals through incentivized savings. The result is over 100 graduates and lives impacted to date leading to empowered, confident, and financially independent graduates. Program demand has increased substantially over the last year, so corporate sponsors, like Valley First, are needed more than ever to keep launching lives in our community.
Individuals in the year-long Matched Savings program participate in monthly financial education classes where they learn how to manage their finances and develop their skills, knowledge, abilities, and confidence when it comes to making financial decisions.
Each month, participants save $25-$50 towards their end-of-year goal. Upon graduation, participants’ savings are matched with $3 to each $1 saved, with a maximum grant earned of $1800. This financial grant can only go towards their continuing education, RESPs for young family members, starting a small business, RDSP contributions, or tools to support their work as a tradesperson.
While the grant can truly help a participant move forward in their life, the feedback most often received from graduates centers around how the program gave them hope for their future, increased their confidence in managing their money and improved their overall self-esteem in day-to-day life.
A recent graduate explains how this program impacted her life. “This program created hope for me. I have a lot more control over my finances now. I’ve never saved before, but I just saved $600 and realized that it wasn’t that hard. Even after graduating I have continued to save! This program gave me confidence and I know I can accomplish things. I have taken control back in my financial life and I’m forever grateful for that.”
You can make a one-time donation, monthly donations or sponsor a participant through the Launch a Life fundraiser.
ABOUT LAUNCH OKANAGAN
For over 10 years, Launch Financial Education Society has been helping people move forward in life by providing them with the financial knowledge, confidence, and community support to take the next steps towards greater independence and sustainable positive change. For more information, visit launchokanagan.ca.
ABOUT VALLEY FIRST
Valley First is a premier provider of banking and investment services for residents and businesses in the Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. As a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.’s third-largest credit union with 46 branches throughout the province, Valley First brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience. For more information on Valley First, visit www.valleyfirst.com.
Executive Director, Launch Financial Education Society