Thursday, November 22, 2012

Co-operatives move forward with plans for national Co-operative Investment Fund

OTTAWA, November 21, 2012 -- Three Canadian co-operative organizations have pledged their founding support for a new Co-operative Investment Fund that would provide Canadian co-operatives with access to the capital they need to expand and develop.

The Fund, which is envisioned to launch in 2013, is being created under the leadership of the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) with the support of a dedicated task force representing co-ops and credit unions across the country. It will support the development and expansion of individual co-operatives with loans and subordinated debt sourced from within the co-operative sector.

The organizations represented on the task force have begun to announce their pledges to launch the Fund and create the basis for further sector investment. To date, financial support has been pledged by Vancity, The Co-operators and the Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF).

Inspired by the 2012 International Year of Co-operatives, this Fund will provide an important vehicle that co-operatives can leverage to grow and expand their contributions to communities across Canada, strengthening the co-operative sector and the many communities and individuals whose needs co-operatives meet.

It is intended that the Fund will launch with between $20 million and $40 million in pledged sector support. Supporting co-operatives will receive a return on their investment. Once launched, it is intended that the Fund will operate as a co-operative with a Board of Directors that is representative of the groups that will be impacted by the fund.

"At Vancity we recognize the important contributions that are made by Canadian co-operatives, the vision of the Fund is aligned with our goal of sustainable community organizations,"
said Derek Gent, executive director of the Vancity Community Foundation.

Barbara Turley-McIntyre, director of Sustainability and Corporate Citizenship at The Co-operators, added:

"So many co-operatives have great ideas for expanding their services and developing their businesses. This Fund will assist in providing access to capital for co-operatives that might not otherwise get the support that they require."

Peter Hough, financial officer at CWCF, said:

"This Fund will become an important mechanism to support the development and expansion of co-operatives, including worker co-operatives, where there is a strong business case."

If you are interested in learning more about this Fund and the opportunities for your co-operative to be a founding supporter, please contact Kim Andres, project manager, at kim@andresconsulting.ca or 604-218-6076.

The Canadian Co-operative Association is a national association for co-operatives in Canada, representing more than ten million co-operative and credit union members. CCA member organizations come from many sectors of the economy, including finance, insurance, agri-food and supply, wholesale and retail, housing, health and the service sector. CCA provides leadership to promote, develop, and unite co-operatives and credit unions for the benefit of people in Canada and around the world.

Visit their website at www.coopscanada.coop

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