VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Jul 18, 2013) - Vancity was recognized for its commitment to social enterprise development with the National Credit Union Community Economic Development Award for the Resilient Capital Program™ by Credit Union Central of Canada at the World Council of Credit Unions Conference last night in Ottawa.
Social enterprises are often faced with a funding gap between grants and conventional financing and as Canada's largest values based credit union, Vancity has been helping to bridge that gap by providing financial solutions to social enterprises and mission-based businesses to support their growth through the innovative Resilient Capital Program.
"We know social enterprises are key to economic development. We've seen incredible growth in the sector over the past few years, there's been a demand and an unmet need, and we've been able to bridge that gap," says Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO, Vancity. "The financing we've provided to a broad range of social enterprises has increased by more than 150 per cent. We have many examples demonstrating that by supporting social enterprises with a proven business model it definitely adds to the social, economic, and environmental well-being of our communities."
The Resilient Capital Program, launched in 2011 by Vancity and the Vancouver Foundation with the support of the B.C. government, is geared specifically to support the growth of innovative social enterprises and mission-based businesses. To date, the program has collaborated with more than 20 institutional and individual depositors who together have contributed about $13.5 million in Resilient Capital Term Deposits. As of July 2013, the Resilient Capital Program has provided $4 million in financing to 11 enterprises that are addressing social and environmental challenges and building resilient communities. Since its launch, widespread interest has been generated in the Resilient Capital Program model as an example of a pioneering approach that has the potential to be replicated in other jurisdictions.
"We have up to $6 million in financing currently available through the Resilient Capital Program to support qualified social enterprises who have a proven business model to help move them through the next stage of their growth," says Vrooman. "Our goal is to create positive member and community impact through all of our operations-from how we make money to how we spend and invest it."
Overall, Vancity's financing of social enterprise ventures has grown to $9 million in 2012 from $3.7 million in 2011.
A report published by the Social Investment Organization estimates Canadian impact investing assets, defined as those aimed at solving social or environmental problems, are at $5.3 billion, a 20-per-cent increase since 2010. With the interest in and demand for impact investing opportunities on the rise, Resilient Capital has emerged as a local, engaging alternative for supporting social innovation and aligning dollars with values.
Vancity is a values-based financial co-operative serving the needs of its more than 492,000 member-owners and their communities through 57 branches in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria and Squamish. As Canada's largest community credit union, Vancity uses its $17.1 billion in assets to help improve the financial wellbeing of its members while at the same time helping to develop healthy, sustainable communities. Member deposits enable the credit union to loan to other members, businesses and organizations that are creating positive economic, social and environmental impact in their communities. In addition, since 1994 Vancity has given more than $238 million to members through dividends and to communities through grants and community investment initiatives. Vancity is a Living Wage employer and a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values, a network of the world's leading sustainable banks sharing a commitment to achieving triple-bottom-line impact through responsible banking practices.
About Vancouver Foundation
With almost 1,500 funds and assets totaling $814 million, Vancouver Foundation is Canada's largest community foundation. In 2012, Vancouver Foundation and its donors made more than 4,000 grants, totaling approximately $46 million to registered charities across Canada. Since it was founded in 1943, Vancouver Foundation, in partnership with its donors, has distributed more than $917 million to thousands of community projects and programs. Grant recipients range from social services to medical research groups, to organizations devoted to arts and culture, the environment, education, children and families, disability supports for employment, youth issues and animal welfare.