Island Savings Invests in Community with Donation to VIU

VIU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Ralph Nilson, left, and Randy Bertsch, Island Savings President, right, pose with students on the rooftop of the VIU Cowichan Campus during the announcement of a $150,000 gift from Island Savings to support capital projects on VIU's Nanaimo Campus. Students Whitney Harris, second from left, and Candice Boland, in blue, spoke to the crowd about the impact of the donation.

September 20, 2018 - 10:30am

Gift will help University deliver high-quality health and science programs to communities

Education has the power to support the quality of life of individuals, with the ripple effect being stronger, happier, healthier communities overall.

In recognition of the important role that education plays in communities, Island Savings has made a generous gift to help support learners and programs at Vancouver Island University (VIU). On top of its annual commitment of $8,000 towards scholarships and bursaries for students studying at both the Cowichan and Nanaimo campuses, and $2,500 in annual support to the Child & Youth Care Outreach Centre, the credit union will provide $150,000 over five years to support the capital projects on VIU’s Nanaimo Campus.

The donation, announced at VIU Cowichan on Wednesday, September 19, will help VIU outfit the new Health and Science Centre with the equipment and technology needed to support students and programs.

“Education is such an important pillar in the community, and with many of our members and employees calling Cowichan and Nanaimo home, it makes supporting local education an even larger priority to help our communities thrive,” says Randy Bertsch, President of Island Savings. “We are proud to support VIU’s mission to make education more accessible and affordable for everyone and through this support, many local students will now have access to world-class facilities and programs enabling them to pursue their studies locally.”

With the help of the federal and provincial governments and community partners, VIU broke ground on three major capital projects on the Nanaimo Campus in 2017 – a new Health and Science Centre; an expanded and redeveloped Marine, Automotive and Trades Complex; and a District Geo-Exchange Energy System. The capital projects will enhance VIU’s reputation as a destination for hands-on, real-world, technology-driven teaching and learning, and alleviate overcrowding in critical programs where the demand for trained professionals is forecasted to continue to grow. The Island Savings donation towards these projects is a leadership gift in anticipation of a fundraising campaign supporting these capital projects.

“We are so grateful to have an organization like Island Savings, which understands the value and importance of education for communities and its members, as a valued community partner,” says William Litchfield, Executive Director of the VIU Foundation. “VIU is committed to delivering responsive, high-quality education to community, and this generous gift will have a huge impact on our ability to ensure students are learning in the most up-to-date facilities, with equipment and technology they can expect to see in the real world.”

With a mandate to act local, be a good neighbour and ensure everyone matters, Island Savings has been a longtime supporter of VIU.

“We believe that supporting students who face financial barriers to attending post-secondary is not only the right thing to do – it is necessary to achieve a healthy and prosperous community, which is a core goal at Island Savings,” says Bertsch.

For more information about the new projects, visit Campus Development.



Jenn McGarrigle, Communications Officer, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6559 | C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews

Josh Juhlke, Communications Manager, First West Credit Union

P: 604-539-7360 | C: 604-309-6066 | E: | T: @Island_Savings



Island Savings is a member-owned financial co-operative, providing banking, investment and insurance services for residents and businesses throughout Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands. As a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union with $10 billion in assets, 250,000 members, 53 branches and 38 insurance offices throughout the province, Island Savings brings innovative products, an extensive branch network and local decision making to the banking experience. For more information on Island Savings, visit



Vancouver Island University is a dynamic, teaching focused institution supporting a student population of almost 15,000 learners and employing more than 2,300 faculty and staff. With roots dating back to 1936, VIU continues to foster student success, strong community connections and international collaborations by providing access to a wide range of programs from academic undergraduate and master’s degrees, to applied, technical, vocational and developmental diplomas and certificates designed for regional, national and international students. VIU is deeply connected to coastal and First Nations communities and works closely with those communities to create a supportive, culturally relevant learning environment. Another focus is providing access to quality post-secondary education for non-traditional learners who face a variety of barriers. For example, in 2013, VIU became the first BC post-secondary institution to offer a tuition waiver program for former youth in care.

Tags: Campus Development | Donors | Announcements

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