Jun 29, 2021

Cooperating for Change

Last year, just as the reality of the pandemic was settling in, Kindred launched the Crisis Care GIC. This 1-year guaranteed investment offered investors a competitive rate of return and Kindred allocated an additional 0.25% to a pool of funds to support local organizations serving the most vulnerable. We donated $15,000 to community groups that offer emergency food access and health supports. In recognition of the massive ‘change in plans’ required around that time, we confirmed that grant recipients—from the Kindred Charitable Fund or other corporate commitments—could continue to count on our support in 2020 and they could use the funding as they saw fit.

Kindred’s plans to open access through alternate channels were prioritized as the pandemic took hold. From digital membership opening and e-signature to video meetings, extended hours at our Member Contact Centre, and contactless banking solutions, we worked to maintain our connection to our members while making it easier for people across the province of Ontario to experience Banking with Purpose wherever they’re at.

Kindred’s Purpose is to connect values and faith with finances. INSPIRING PEACEFUL, JUST, AND PROSPEROUS COMMUNITIES.

We believe that cooperatives will play an integral role in revitalizing the economy as we make our way past this pandemic. We are invested in two cooperative funds that are working nationally and internationally to improve our communities. The first is the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund (CCIF), an innovative fund that strengthens Canadian communities by filling a financing gap for cooperatives. As a member of CCIF, Kindred has committed to a $150,000 investment and, as it is a fairly new fund, we look forward to this being fully utilized to build and strengthen cooperatives across the country. Our second investment is $250,000 in Oikocredit International, a global cooperative that provides financial services and supports to improve the quality of life of low-income people and communities in a sustainable way.

We take the sixth principle “cooperation amongst cooperatives” seriously and collaborate with our fellow cooperatives to make a difference locally and globally. The experiences of 2020 put inequities within our communities into stark relief and shone new light on the need for partnership and cooperation across industries. From unequal access to healthcare and systemic racism to the climate emergency, financial institutions are uniquely poised to address these complex issues. As a co-chair of the Canadian Credit Union Association’s (CCUA) Community Impact Committee, I was inspired to hear the passion and commitment of our credit union peers as we met monthly to share what we were learning about continuing to serve members amidst changing health and safety protocols and provincial lockdowns, and alongside equity, diversity, and inclusion efforts, as well as climate action.

Kindred experienced similar value within our international networks of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values (GABV), an independent group of banks using finance to deliver sustainable economic, social and environmental development, and the B Corp community, a global movement committed to using business as a force for good. Take a look at Kindred’s B Corp profile. This membership and certification, respectively, reinforced how much cooperation is needed to tackle the challenging issues before us and how cooperation can be part of creating long-term solutions.

Just as 2020 offered some unexpected lessons in resilience and managing expectations, 2021 continues to offer challenges that we must overcome. Hope is before us. Success will come, and it will come faster when we all work together. 

Ben Janzen

Ben Janzen

Director, Values Integration 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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