ABBOTSFORD, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 25, 2011) - This Sunday, nearly 150 Envision Financial employees and their families will lace up their runners and join thousands of Fraser Valley residents at the fourth annual Run for Water, which raises much-needed awareness and funds for clean water projects in Ethiopia. This year's run is not only a Boston Marathon qualifier, but it also marks the expansion of Envision's educational program, Envision a Better World: Learn, Create, Run. Envision's runner participation level is the highest of any company, demonstrating that Envision's sponsorship is about more than just money.

Kendra Braun, commercial insurance broker at Envision's Willoughby branch and an avid runner, was eager to participate in this year's race. "Clean water is something that we take for granted in North America. I believe everyone should have access to this resource and I'm excited to be a part in raising awareness and funds for this worthwhile initiative."

"Having volunteered in a third world country, I've seen first hand the difference that clean water makes in building healthy communities and nations," says Envision president, Bev Brown. "At Envision, we care about what our members care about—projects like Run for Water provide people with a tangible way to get involved in global issues. We are so proud to be a part of this event."

"My girls are at an age where they're starting to understand and ask questions about bigger life issues and I think it's important they realize how fortunate they are," adds Shana Temple, assistant branch manager at Envision's Minter Street location, who will be volunteering at this year's run along with her two young daughters. "Volunteering with Run for Water allows us to participate in an event that teaches the value of giving back to others and demonstrates how we can make a difference in the world."

"What we appreciate most about Envision's sponsorship is that they don't stay on the sidelines," says Ken Baerg, director and co-founder of Run for Water. "Envision has a holistic approach to their sponsorship, from the largest amount of staff involvement in the run, to the educational program they initiated, Envision a Better World. They care about making a difference at the community level, while helping a global cause. Envision isn't just a name attached to the Run, they're helping us move the Run from an event to an institution."

Envision a Better World, which was initially introduced to local Abbotsford schools in 2009, will also be expanding this year. Now available for teachers to download online, this unique and interactive program educates students in grades K-8 about world water resources and the importance of clean water and sanitation, using Ethiopia as a focus. 2011 will see 16 schools in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley participate in the program.

"We're proud to continue growing our partnership with Run for Water and helping students understand the link between the run and what's happening in Ethiopia," says Susan Byrom, Envision's manager of corporate citizenship. "Envision a Better World not only educates youth about how to conserve and preserve our resources, but it also gives them the tools and knowledge to help others."

Envision Financial is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union with 37 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson regions. First West has approximately $6.2 billion in assets under administration, 167,000 members and more than 1,300 employees. For eight years running, Envision was named one of the 50 Best Employers in Canada. Envision is designated a Caring Company by Imagine Canada. For more information visit:

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First West Credit Union
Viola Kaminski
Communications & Media Relations Officer