We believe financial decisions can impact the world in amazing ways. Our value-centred approach is woven into everything we do, including our unique, innovative, and impactful products.
The Cash Management Group at Canaccord Genuity, in partnership with Kindred and other Canadian credit unions, offers IMPACT GICs to municipalities, post-secondary institutions, and other investors. When their institutional clients invest in an IMPACT GIC, Canaccord Genuity aligns the funds with a partnering credit union, such as Kindred. We then lend those funds to one of our members that pursues at least one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In addition, all of these loans are subject to a series of positive and negative screens so that we can ensure the funds are loaned out in a sustainable way.
Following is an IMPACT GIC loan story that was featured in Canaccord Genuity’s IMPACT GIC June 2020 Report.
Thrifting Made Good
BFM Foundation (Canada) and Mission Thrift Stores are headquartered in Newmarket, Ontario with a network of 52 volunteer-driven retail locations across Canada.
Mission Thrift Stores’ efforts are aimed at three specific areas:
- Their 52 retail locations support their communities across Canada;
- Their profits fund literacy programs in over 40 countries;
- Their sustainable business model has a positive effect on the environment.
Donations of gently used goods empower the communities surrounding Mission Thrift Stores, and there are many examples of the impact the business has on their neighbours’ lives. One Mission Thrift Store partners with the Canadian Coast Guard to provide clothing for people rescued from dire situations at sea. Some locations offer clothing through agency partners that help people get a fresh start in life, which may include those leaving abusive relationships, coming out of prison, or moving off the streets. A number of stores also partner with Indigenous support programs and refugee resettlement agencies to supply clothing and furniture to people in need of a hand.
The operation of 52 brick and mortar locations requires a strong financial partnership. After building successful relationships with credit unions in BC and Alberta, Mission Thrift Stores sought an Ontario credit union partner when they moved their head office across the country. “We heard about Kindred, and quickly learned that our missions aligns quite closely: we see things from the same perspective,” notes Steve Klassen, CEO at Mission Thrift Stores. “They understand us and our goals. As our business needs have changed, Kindred has been right there with us, including the challenges we encountered having to temporarily close stores during the COVID-19 crisis.”
Kindred Credit Union reciprocates this partnership perspective. “We care deeply about our members’ success,” Ian Thomas, CEO adds. “When a members’ business is so closely tied to the wellbeing of the community, we’ll do what we can to help that business succeed. It’s part of how we live out our purpose as we seek to inspire peaceful, just, and prosperous communities.”
Mission Thrift Stores make a difference internationally, too. They are the fundraising arm of Bible League Canada, contributing around 60% of the organization’s annual revenue. Thousands of people around the world benefit from their literacy programs each year, including children from India where many children, in particular girls, are not able to go to school. One young woman was in her late 20s when she learned to read, and today she glows with a sense of accomplishment when reading. Literacy transforms lives—in fact, it can transform entire communities.
In another area of impact, Mission Thrift Stores is proud to do its part for the environment. Thrifting encourages recycling and the reuse of goods that still have years of useful life. In alignment with Sustainable Development Goal – Sustainable Consumption, Mission Thrift Stores provide new life for tonnes of items that would otherwise go to the landfill. Adding proof to the idea that sustainability makes good business sense, one store earns thousands of dollars in compensation from the municipality for its annual contribution to waste diversion. Just like Mission’s corporate colour, that’s green thinking!
Witnessing their impact locally and globally, while making our world a little more sustainable, has driven Mission Thrift Stores since the beginning and continues to motivate and inspire their work today.