The Co-operators, Desjardins back $25-million fund for co-operatives

The venture is meant to provide financing while allowing co-operatives to maintain their autonomy

The Co-operators and Desjardins Group are a part of a group of investors that are providing $25 million to establish the Canadian Co-operative Investment Fund (CCIF).

The fund is meant to provide financing for new and expanding Canadian co-operatives so they can access capital without compromising their autonomy and their “one member, one vote” structure.

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“There is a critical need for investment vehicles that understand the needs specific to co‑operatives,” said Andy Morrison, chair of the board of directors of CCIF, in a statement. “CCIF has been designed by co-operatives to invest in co‑operatives.”

The following organizations have agreed in principle to invest in the CCIF:

  • The Co-operators
  • Desjardins Group
  • Affinity Credit Union
  • L’Alliance des caisses populaires de l’Ontario
  • Vancity
  • Concentra Bank
  • Artic Co-operatives Ltd.
  • Assiniboine Credit Union
  • Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation
  • Connect First Credit Union
  • Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada
  • Kindred Credit Union
  • Freedonia

“Co-operatives have a long tradition of working together, and the CCIF is a great example of the sector collaborating to develop a solution to a long-standing challenge,” said Rob Wesseling, president and CEO of The Co-operators, in a statement.

The CCIF will be managed by Community Forward Assistance, an experienced fund manager with roots in community lending including co-operatives.

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