All Articles  / Jun 05, 2020

A partnership built on shared values

A century of relief, development, and peacebuilding

As Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) celebrates 100 years of international relief, development and peacebuilding this year, we reflect on our shared history. MCC was formed in faith to help people in crisis. For the last century, this bi-national organization, with projects around the globe and close to home, has continued to respond to humanitarian challenges.

Kindred’s story began in 1964 when 22 Waterloo County Mennonites with a radical vision to see mutual aid put into faithful practice got together and deposited $22 in a cash box to create a credit union that could extend access to financial services across our community. MCC provided our first staff members, launching a strong partnership built on shared values.

Strengthening our bonds

As our respective communities’ needs have changed, we have adapted too, and the alignment between our organizations’ missions has continued to grow.

Kindred is guided by our Purpose: Cooperative banking that connects values and faith with finances, inspiring peaceful, just, and prosperous communities. Together with MCC, we share a desire to walk alongside marginalized community members. This is evident in our joint support of the Living Wage movement, MCC’s many community outreach programs, and the use of our resources as a credit union to empower people with financial knowledge. We also find strong connection on the issue of food security through shared partnership with organizations like Canadian Foodgrains Bank.

MCC redeveloped Kitchener’s “50 Kent” building in 2014, with a vision to create a centralized home for organizations that shared the values of peace, justice, and community. Kindred contributed $500,000 to the Raising Hope campaign to get this project off the ground, and we chose to locate our Kitchener branch there, alongside Thrift on Kent and other likeminded tenants.  

Reciprocating this kind of community building, we were pleased when MCC joined the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement last year as a Core Collaborator.

The Centre, a partnership with Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo, is a dynamic space that is home to peace-oriented innovators and established organizations from the region’s vibrant peacebuilding field.

Serving community needs

Amidst the pandemic and its economic consequences, MCC and Kindred have been working diligently to support our respective communities. At the same time, we’re filled with gratitude when we see how our communities are rising to support each other.

We were delighted to, once again, support the New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale this past spring, as they took their long-standing quilt auction online. Rising up in the spirit of mutual aid, the New Hamburg Mennonite Relief Sale (NHMRS) created a virtual auction called 100 Quilts for 100 Years. The auction was streamed, with a live auctioneer, on Saturday, May 30. With more than 6,000 viewers, the live auction raised more than $85,000 for MCC.

Ben Janzen

Ben Janzen

Director, Values Integration / Kindred Credit Union Ben’s work at Kindred focuses on the development of programs that inspire peaceful, just, and prosperous communities. He has contributed to the credit union becoming a certified B Corp, a living wage employer, a solar power generator, a provider of new accounts for refugees, and the first financial institution in Canada to have all of its GICs validated as socially responsible investments.

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