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Westminster Savings announces major partnerships totalling $675,000 in support of sports and arts programming

Surrey, B.C., October 27, 2016 – Recognizing that many children and families miss out on the multiple benefits available through sport and the arts, Westminster Savings is pleased to announce a set of major partnerships that will provide access to sport and the arts for thousands of families over the next three years. Arts Umbrella, Special Olympics BC and KidSport BC will each receive $75,000 annually from the credit union from 2017 through 2019. Funding for these organizations will support after-school arts programs for vulnerable children, enhance programs for athletes with intellectual disabilities, and provide sport registration fees for kids who otherwise could not afford to participate.

"Westminster Savings is proud to support opportunities for people to enrich and balance their lives," says Gavin Toy, President and CEO, Westminster Savings, "We know that access to sport and the arts gives individuals the chance to get creative, get active and connect with one another. This in turn benefits our communities, making them healthier, more inclusive places to live."

A recent Vital Signs report issued by the Community Foundations of Canada confirms that participation in sports and the arts increases our sense of belonging and our active engagement in the community. Sport is inherently social, builds leadership and teamwork, and can connect people across geographic and ethno-cultural boundaries. The arts allow us to connect, build our critical thinking and collaborative skills, and to see the world in new ways. But what about those who face barriers to participation? Many individuals miss out due to financial barriers, and some require sport or arts programming tailored specifically to their circumstances.

"We are delighted to enter this partnership with Westminster Savings," says Dan Howe, President and CEO, Special Olympics BC. "We know the tremendous impact that Special Olympics has on the lives of those involved. Athletes tell us of making friends, losing weight, living healthier, gaining self-esteem, and finding enjoyment in being involved and active in sport. And our volunteers tell us that they get far more out of Special Olympics than they put in."

"In the face of other uncertainties, Arts Umbrella classes can be a safe space and stable outlet for vulnerable children," says Paul Larocque, President and CEO, Arts Umbrella. "Participation in the arts encourages students as they develop critical-thinking skills, grow their self-esteem, and hone lasting collaboration tools."

"KidSport believes that it truly takes a village to raise a child," says Pete Quevillon, Director, KidSport BC. "Our 42 community chapters are driven by passionate volunteers who, together with sport clubs in their communities and outstanding community partners like Westminster Savings, have a shared ownership in ensuring that no child is left on the sidelines."

For more information about Westminster Savings in the community, visit www.wscu.com/community.

About Westminster Savings Credit Union

At $3.4 billion in assets under management, more than 55,000 members and 400 employees, Westminster Savings is among the largest credit unions in Canada. Known for its customer and community focus, people oriented culture, and sound financial and operating practices, Westminster Savings provides a full range of retail, commercial, leasing and wealth management solutions to meet its customers’ evolving needs.

About Special Olympics BC

Special Olympics BC provides year-round, high-quality sports programs and competitions for more than 4,600 athletes with intellectual disabilities in 57 communities around the province, with the vital assistance of more than 3,900 trained and dedicated volunteers. The organization provides a variety of sports and youth programs, giving athletes the chance to gain sport skills and improve their health while enjoying training that could take them to competitions at local, regional, national and international levels. But the benefits from Special Olympics BC programs go well beyond the basics: athletes experience joy and acceptance, cultivate friendships and selfconfidence, and feel empowered to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. As well, a network of thousands of coaches and fans share a unique experience and sense of community in supporting, cheering on and learning from the athletes they work with. www.specialolympics.bc.ca/

About Arts Umbrella

Established in 1979, Arts Umbrella is a not-for-profit arts education centre for children and youth ages 2 to 19. Arts Umbrella provides the highest quality arts education to over 20,000 children annually through dance, theatre, as well as visual, applied and digital arts programs. Delivered by professional artist-instructors, classes offer inspiration and fun in a safe space where children can explore creativity and experience success. Arts Umbrella has come to focus on accessibility as an organizational priority, to bring the life-changing benefits of the arts to as many children as possible. www.artsumbrella.com/

About KidSport BC

The mission of KidSport BC is to remove the financial barriers that prevent some children from playing organized sport, so all kids can play. The KidSport concept was hatched in 1993 by board and staff at Sport BC as a way to help address the challenges faced by many families when registering their children in organized sport. From a modest start in that first year, issuing $35,000 in grants, KidSport has grown exponentially - issuing nearly $1.8 million in grants to over 8400 kids in 2015. KidSport believes that every child should have the opportunity to experience the joys of a season of sport. Abundant research exists that proves sport participation enhances academic performance, improves health and develops valuable life skills in the areas of teamwork, socialization, goal setting and time management. www.kidsportcanada.ca/british-columbia/

For more information:

Cathryn Tucker
Manager, Corporate and Internal Communications
Westminster Savings