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The Broadbent Institute: Investing in Progress

Broadbent Institute workshop

Established in 2011, the Broadbent Institute is Canada’s largest progressive policy and training organization championing a fair, inclusive and sustainable Canada.  The Institute works on a variety of issues including inequality, democratic renewal, Indigenous Rights and Reconciliation, and a green economy.

Working toward a fairer, greener, more democratic Canada

The organization is dedicated not just to generating good ideas, but also educating leaders on how to be more eloquent and effective in deploying those ideas. Working at the federal and provincial levels as well as in communities, the Broadbent Institute brings attention to the social democratic values integral to the workings of any society.

“In a nutshell we work to make Canada a fairer, greener and more democratic place,” shares Executive Director Rick Smith. “We fuel progress,” he adds, invoking the Institute’s motto, one consistent with the vision of its founder, educator, advocate and political icon, Ed Broadbent.

Considering the overarching mission of the Institute and its ongoing commitment to making Canada a better place with stronger communities at its heart, an alignment with Vancity Community Investment Bank (VCIB) made perfect sense, says Rick.

A mission-aligned investment

He explains how it’s the norm for organizations, whether for-profit or nonprofit, to assume a disconnect between their mission and their investments. So, when they found out that investing with VCIB meant that the Institute could keep their cash reserves and savings in a bank that shares their values, the next step was simple–investing in an Impact GIC.

“Our organizational savings have some impact in the world based on where they’re invested and where they’re not invested,” he explains of the Institute’s enthusiastic response to being able to align their values with those of their financial institution. “It’s really amazing for us; our board and staff are excited.”

For an organization that spends so much time working with community leaders across the country on challenges like income inequality and the transition to a green economy, the Impact GIC is a mission-aligned fit.

“The notion that VCIB is doing measurable good in the world in the same places that we’re trying to work in every day as an Institute, that’s a real value for us,” says Rick. It also allows the Institute a new front in the execution of their mission, as opposed to just hoping those investments won’t do any harm in the world, a traditional approach to which many have become accustomed.

Broadbent Institute Executive Director Rick Smith. Photo courtesy of the Broadbent Institute,

GIC proceeds are invested by VCIB in community-level projects that support the development of affordable and sustainable communities, for example affordable housing developments that help low to middle income families enter the housing market, build equity, and reduce income inequality. What’s more, these projects are ones that many larger banks may not have touched due to their small size or complexity of structure. “That says to me that VCIB has found a worthy investment target that was underserviced up until now,” Rick explains.

The alignment is especially welcome considering the Institute’s current focus on enabling community level groups achieve community benefits agreements. With the rise of massive infrastructure investments, mostly by government, many communities are looking for assurance that those projects will lead to better jobs and other positive impacts within the communities where those investments are made.

A competitive rate of return

That shared objective is no doubt a breath of fresh air, but then there’s the healthy rate of return, as well. “To have our organizational savings invested in a financial instrument that also provides us organizationally with a competitive rate of return for our good work, that’s fantastic,” Rick shares. “It was a revelation to us that the Impact GIC actually has a comparable rate of return as the GICs you’d find at more traditional banks.”

Bottom line, there’s no need to deprive yourself of a financial return when aligning with VCIB, says Rick “I have to think that there are a lot of organizations like ours across the country who will welcome that values alignment and start moving their savings here.”

The information provided herein is not intended to constitute investment, financial, legal, accounting, tax, or other advice and should not be relied upon for such purpose.  Always consult a professional regarding your specific needs and circumstances. 

The customer testimonials that appear on this page were solicited by VCIB.

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