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Vancity and Vancouver Foundation introduce innovative, high-impact investment program to build resilient communities

Vancity and Vancouver Foundation introduce innovative, high-impact investment program to build resilient communities

November 25, 2011 - Vancouver, BC - Vancity and Vancouver Foundation today announced the launch of the Resilient Capital Program, which includes a new product for depositors who want to make a guaranteed fixed return on their money while backing social enterprises that are making a positive impact in the community. The program – a collaboration between philanthropy, the financial sector and government – started with a grant from the Province of British Columbia to Vancouver Foundation to invest in social enterprises.

The Resilient Capital Program is a unique, high-impact investment program that will help build resilient communities by making up to $15 million of patient capital available for qualifying social enterprises.

Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancity, says this new deposit product gives depositors a simple and attractive way to fund high-impact social enterprises without a high level of risk, and it provides much needed equity capital and loans with flexible repayment terms to the social enterprise sector. "This type of program is exactly what the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance recommended in its report," says Vrooman. "As a locally based and owned financial cooperative, Vancity and its community partners have a unique opportunity to act as a catalyst to mobilize capital for social finance."

Faye Wightman, CEO of Vancouver Foundation, says there are many philanthropists who want to go beyond simply donating money to good things. "The idea that they can now support local projects – with high social and environmental impact – while also making a return on their investment, is a perfect way to help them expand their support of the community."

Premier Christy Clark, who announced the program today at the B.C. Non-Profit Partnerships Summit says, "The Resilient Capital Program is an excellent example of what can happen when people put their minds into finding solutions to the social and economic challenges in our communities."

In developing the Resilient Capital Program, Vancity and Vancouver Foundation each provided $1.75 million in first-loss revenues. This $3.5 million commitment has already been leveraged to attract an additional $6.85 million by way of Resilient Capital Term Deposits, long-term Vancity deposits made by 12 individuals and organizations:

  • Vancity Community Foundation
  • Tides Canada Foundation
  • Illahie Foundation
  • The Grain Workers Union
  • PosAbilities
  • Bealight Foundation
  • Carol Newell
  • Fraser Wilson
  • Lundin Foundation
  • The J.W. McConnell Family Foundation
  • United Steel Works District Three, and
  • one anonymous investor.

Depositor Fraser Wilson, founder of BALLUCANB Impact Investments, says, "The beauty of the Resilient Capital Program is that it's an easy and impactful way to invest while making a reasonable return. It makes for a great marriage between meaning and money."

In total, there is $10.35 million of capital available through this program so far. Vancity intends to build on this strong base with support from additional impact-focused depositors, potentially growing this patient capital program up to $15 million through additional five- to seven-year deposits.

Vancity is responsible for managing and arranging loans and investments in qualifying social enterprises and will bear the risk of loss beyond the first-loss reserve funds. Depositors do not directly participate in the potential gains or losses on investments or loans made but will receive a reasonable rate of interest on their deposits. All deposits are guaranteed by the Credit Union Deposit Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.

Social enterprises, which can include non-profits, cooperatives, mission-based for-profit businesses and First Nations' ventures, often find it difficult to attract conventional funding. Garth Davis, vice-president of Vancity Community Capital, says the Resilient Capital Program helps to fill a gap between non-repayable grants (which often help to get concepts off the ground) and conventional debt, such as mortgages and lines of credit. "By leveraging the first-loss reserve funds from Vancouver Foundation and Vancity, the Resilient Capital Program can provide financing solutions to social enterprises that are larger and more complicated than what a purely philanthropic intervention can offer," says Davis. "Also, the program can help social enterprises build their track records so they can more easily access conventional capital products as their businesses mature."

The Resilient Capital program can help accelerate the growth and impact of emerging social enterprises and provide much needed equity capital and loans, with flexible repayment terms. The program's target is to make individual loans and investments to qualifying social enterprises in the range of $100,000 to $1.5 million. To date, the Resilient Capital Program has built an active pipeline of opportunities and made three loans and investments totaling $1.17 million in innovative social enterprises. Resilient Capital Program investee enterprises include Save-on-Meats, Atira Property Management and Corporate Knights.

For more information about the Resilient Capital Program and Resilient Capital Term Deposits, please visit

About Vancity

At Vancity we make you good money by putting money to good. Good Money™ is changing how we see wealth; it's members helping members meet their financial goals, no matter how big or small. Since 1994, we've invested over $194 million of our profits in our members and the communities we serve. Vancity is 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. Vancity is Canada's largest credit union, with over $15.5 billion in assets, more than 418,000 members and 59 branches throughout Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria and Squamish.

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About Vancouver Foundation

Vancouver Foundation is Canada's largest community foundation. Its mission is to harness the gifts of energy, ideas, time, and money to make meaningful and lasting impacts in communities. It does this by bringing together generous donors (large and small, individuals, groups and corporations) and linking their contributions to important work that addresses the needs and improves the lives of communities across British Columbia. Today, the Foundation manages over 1,400 endowment funds worth almost $750 million.

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More information

Prospective depositors and social enterprises please visit the Resilient Capital website at or contact:

For media interviews please contact:

This program description is not a solicitation for deposits which may only be made in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and the rules of Vancity.