While Surrey is growing at a rapid clip, with that comes the potential for an increase in poverty.
To ensure this doesn't happen, three female CEOs - normally direct competitors - have joined together in a unique partnership to combat the problem. They are Tracy Redies, president and CEO of Coast Capital Savings; Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancity; and Launi Skinner, CEO of First West Credit Union.
About 12 per cent of families in Surrey are headed by single mothers, and 35 per cent of that number are living in poverty. With the city's current growth pattern, more services are needed than ever, especially given funding cuts from traditional sources.
The YWCA's Single Mothers' Support Program works to ensure women parenting alone are able to achieve personal and economic independence. Funding from Coast Capital, Vancity and Envision Financial will allow support groups to be established in Surrey, Port Coquitlam, Aldergrove, Maple Ridge and Abbotsford.
"I am inspired by the generosity of the three credit unions and the exceptional women who lead them - Tracy Redies, Tamara Vrooman and Launi Skinner," said Janet Austin, CEO of YWCA Metro Vancouver.
"They show us the true meaning of cooperation and they demonstrate that it is possible to for competitors to collaborate to drive positive social change. With their support, the YWCA can create the conditions for many single mothers to build better futures for themselves and their children."
Earlier this summer, a three-year partnership was approved with each credit union contributing $50,000 per year to the program. This will fund the six new Single Mothers' support groups, providing participants with the resources to gain employment, go back to school or find safe, affordable housing. The moms will also receive child care info, legal education and other community support.