ACU’s grants program invests locally

Healthy, vibrant and diverse communities don’t just happen—they’re created over time by people, organizations and businesses continuously working together for the common good. These organizations require resources to take action and achieve their goals.

classroom with student raising her hand

Throughout our history, Assiniboine Credit Union (ACU) has supported a common vision of a sustainable future for all through its identity as a financial co-operative or direct action. In action, this includes grants and sponsorships.

ACU’s grants program

ACU’s grants program contributes to organizations that build community and fall under three pillars: 

  1. Community inclusion for marginalized people
  2. Environmental sustainability
  3. Community enterprise development through things such as community-minded co-ops and social enterprises

Applications for the grants program are open year-round but are reviewed twice a year, in spring and fall.

three smiling children with their artwork

ACU will consider grant requests for:

  • Equipment (upgraded computers, office furniture, secure storage facilities)
  • Planning (strategic and feasibility plans, community consultations, marketing plans)
  • Public awareness (website redesign, video production, information and display materials)
  • Professional development (training, retreats, conferences and workshops)

These categories were chosen in response to real needs and cover gaps in available funding. For instance, the lack of resources to upgrade equipment was cited as an issue by local organizations, so the grants program can help fill that gap.

Martha Street Studio, an artist-run printmaking collective, took part in the program to enhance the methods by which they handle digital art, editing and printing. ACU’s funds allowed them to upgrade their digital suite, an investment that will greatly benefit their sustainability and the services they provide.

Read ACU's annual impact report

Giving opportunities for employees to be part of their communities 

North Point Douglas Women's Centre team

As part of our mission to provide financial services for the betterment of our members, employees and communities, we invest our skills and resources to create positive social impact, which includes our grants program. Each year, seven ACU employees from across the organization volunteer their time to review and assess the applications.

Luz Llanes, Commercial Underwriter and Grants Committee member, shares that the process brings her closer to ACU’s triple bottom line of people, planet and prosperity.

“As part of the Grants Committee, I have the privilege of assessing applications from different community enterprises seeking funding for their projects, programs and events that are consistent with ACU’s mission, values and strategic direction. This opportunity has allowed me to actively contribute to ACU’s Values-Based Banking commitment of building resilient communities,” she says.

Looking for rewarding career opportunities at ACU?

Making an impact where it matters most

In addition to demonstrating ACU’s values in action and making a difference, by participating in positive community impact, employees on the committee also learn more about the members they serve, like Winnipeg Inner City Missions (WICM). WICM received funding for their “Renew. (re)Imagine” marketing campaign that aims to revitalize the Anishinabe Fellowship Centre in an underserved, predominantly Indigenous neighbourhood.

The grants program helped the organization with branding, outreach and important research on neighbourhood demographics, Indigenous barriers to success and child development. They updated their website and social media presence to drive truth and reconciliation with meaningful, accurate information. 

Another successful applicant, Epic Opportunities, promotes inclusive communities by providing holistic, person-centered support to people with intellectual disabilities. Their grant-supported training focused on building understanding and commitment to foster a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism.

Epic Opportunities Director of Human Resources Kristin Knockaert

“The project provided the overall leadership team with open dialogue to develop skills and awareness to foster a respectful, inclusive, and equitable environment where everyone can thrive, today and in the future,” said Epic Opportunities Director of Human Resources, Kristin Knockaert.

“The project provided the overall leadership team with open dialogue to develop skills and awareness to foster a respectful, inclusive, and equitable environment where everyone can thrive, today and in the future. We received tools and resources to use in our EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) journey as an organization, which will help us in the next stages of our strategic plan commitments,” said Epic Opportunities Director of Human Resources Kristin Knockaert.

“We are incredibly grateful to ACU for the grant support we received for this project. Following these sessions, we experienced our team actively engaging in conversations about what they learned and how they were stretched to think about their perspectives of EDI.”

A program that gives back

Since 2016, the grants program has directed almost three million dollars to successful community applicants, and over a million in sponsorships.

Alexandria De Zorzi, ACU Digital Marketing Specialist, says serving on the Grants Committee has been fulfilling in many ways.

“Participating in an employee-led grants program is more than just contributing; it’s about investing in our collective potential. Together, we have the power to ignite positive change and shape a brighter future for our community and beyond. It’s a great opportunity to make a meaningful difference and leave a lasting impact through our actions and generosity”, she says.”

The program reminds Luz of the care she received from the community growing up. “Having been a recipient of the support provided by organizations that focus on helping immigrants, I am deeply aware of the transformative impact such institutions can have on individuals and families,” she shares.

“Serving on the committee has fueled my commitment to ensuring that deserving organizations receive the funding necessary to continue their valuable work.”

We are now accepting 2024 grant applications!

Spring – Monday, May 13, 2024
Fall – Monday, October 14, 2024

About Maria Cristina Laureano

MC (Maria Cristina) Laureano is ACU's Community Relations Specialist. She oversees ACU's grants and sponsorships program and, as her title implies, she is out in the community engaging with partners to strengthen ACU's community involvement initiatives. Along with her community work at ACU, MC is an avid volunteer and is part of numerous boards and committees — community is definitely one of her passions!

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