The Vancouver Island Community Investment Cooperative has changed our local economy forever.
We have created a new means for ordinary people to place their money in their own communities, for social, economic and environmental benefit to them and their neighbours. This Community Impact Investment model is operating successfully in many places – over $50-billion in the US and $75-million in Nova Scotia. Previously, people had only been able to place their RRSP contributions and other investments in mutual funds that rely on stocks and shares. Even with an ethical investment lens, none of these funds contribute to local communities. Credit Unions, for example, use large mutual fund companies to manage their members investments and they go into stock, bond and share options, not local projects and people. And Credit Unions are financial institutions with regulations that mean they cannot operate stand-alone investment funds. So, that’s why we need Community Investment Funds to offer an alternative.
We started this model three years ago, and with funding from the Vancouver Foundationand the Canadian CED Network, we have created a “coalition” of Community Impact Investment Funds across BC. And that’s our approach , to work collaboratively to repatriate some of the $ 4-billion in investments made by BC residents annually into the sustainable futures of their own communities.
For Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, we have great investment opportunities in renewable energy, sustainable food and agriculture, shellfish farming, affordable housing, clean technology, recycling and repurposing waste, and locally-owned dynamic businesses. Together we can build this vibrant, resilient and sustainable economy, providing our members with a financial return while making Vancouver Island a leader in the Green Economy. Our I Invest Local Fund will launch in October with coop shares available at $1000 units. The pooled fund will solicit investment projects through our Executive Director, Rupert Downing, who has over 40 years experience managing community economic development projects around the world. Our Board and Investment Committee will vet the proposals, and then our financial partner, CCEC Credit Union, will do due diligence on loans, and manage investor’s money in their GIC account. This unique model manages risk, financial return and social return.
We are looking for members and investors in the cooperative that share these goals. Let us know if you have questions, we are a totally volunteer and member-led organization of residents across the Islands and welcome your input. Our part time Executive Director,Rupert Downing, is also available to support your participation .