Downtown Winnipeg celebration marks 80 years of community, partnerships and Money doing more™
With cookies, ice cream, games and lots of community participation, a June 27 celebration at ACU’s True North Financial Advice Centre commemorated 80 years of Assiniboine Credit Union.
Simultaneous events at other branches throughout Manitoba included decorations, refreshments, door prizes, a digital historical display and recorded greetings from CEO Kevin Sitka.
Strong ties to local organizations
ACU wanted to ensure it represented the community it serves by supporting local businesses with this event.
With the branch remaining open for business throughout, the crowd made it a busy afternoon that saw hundreds of people enjoying complimentary treats from local businesses such as ice cream from Chaeban, coffee and tea from Fools + Horses and cookies from Gunn’s Bakery. More goodies — from Deluca’s, The Pourium and the Forks Trading Company — were available to be won as door prizes
ACU’s entire executive leadership team attended to work the photo booth and run games for members to play, including a putting green, Plinko and a bean bag toss. Prizes for those games included ACU-funded donations in support of organizations that provide key resources to downtown Winnipeg: the Downtown Community Safety Partnership (DCSP), Bear Clan Patrol and Siloam Mission.
Supporting business for good
The spirit of togetherness energized True North Financial Advice Centre, Branch Manager Aaron Dempsey during the event.
“There’s excitement in True North Square. You can really feel that energy in the community,” Aaron said.
Aaron spends each workday downtown, so ACU’s presence is important on a personal level. In fact, it’s a major factor in his decision to work at the credit union.
“I choose to work here because I believe in supporting business for good. For me, ACU really is about money doing more. We work towards the goals set out by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. We partner with organizations like DCSP, Bear Clan, Siloam Mission. Being downtown, I really see the value ACU brings to Winnipeg.”
ACU and Siloam Mission: a perfect fit
Both ACU and Siloam understand that when a community is thriving, it’s good for business — and good for people.
“We’re partners in more than sponsorship and grants,” said Tessa Whitecloud, CEO of Siloam Mission. “Many of our guests set up their first accounts with ACU. And even if they only have $100, they’re treated like any other member would be.”
Tessa says it’s this respect for cities, communities and individuals, regardless of circumstance, that sets ACU apart from the big banks.
“I know ACU sees our vision of ending homelessness, and they support that mission through financial assistance, advice and community support—whether through financial education, volunteering at Siloam events or just helping us run our day-to-day.”
Tremendous growth through shared values
When ACU first received its charter in 1943, many credit unions were exclusive and catered only to specific groups based on ethnicity, religion or trade. But ACU’s founders — Ed McCaffrey and a group of colleagues from the Winnipeg Electric Company — had a broader vision of a credit union that would welcome everyone in the community.
Their vision set a way forward for ACU that would lead to tremendous growth. And as people in Manitoba saw ACU working and dedicated to doing good in the community, they wanted to take part.
At the end of the 1940s, Assiniboine Credit Union had only 33 members and about $2,500 in assets. Today, the organization has 140,000 members and assets totaling close to $6 billion – making it one of the largest of the 17 credit unions in Manitoba.
80 years of inclusivity
ACU’s democratic, inclusive approach to doing business has persisted for 80 years.
“There have been so many highlights, but I think the biggest highlight for me is seeing how employee-led groups and committees surrounding Pride, Truth and Reconciliation, Black History, Health and Wellness are flourishing — it’s phenomenal,” says Chief People and Brand Officer Kim Champion Taylor.
“What I really love about it is that employees created these committees and groups. It’s grassroots, in a way, and I’m very proud of how ACU supports those efforts to self-identify and form communities across the organization.”
Serving the community; serving the world
ACU’s devotion to people, planet and prosperity sets them apart from other financial institutions in Manitoba.
In 2020 ACU became Manitoba’s first B Corp Certified financial institution. In both 2021 and 2022, Assiniboine Credit Union received a B Corp “Best for the World” designation for community, customers and governance. ACU was also recognized by Corporate Knights with a Platinum designation — the highest possible rating, which recognizes companies in Canada that make social and environmental commitments and effectively put their words and values into action.
Along with a focus on people, ACU is also devoted to its environment and employees, receiving awards for being one of Canada’s Greenest Employers each year from 2013 to 2023 and one of Manitoba’s Top Employers from 2016 to 2023.
Celebrating 80 years of successes
ACU’s 80 years of serving Manitobans have given the team many reasons to be proud, but for CEO Kevin Sitka, one in particular stands out.
“I’m most proud of our ability to help all people gain access to financial services,” Kevin said. “It’s impactful. It changes people’s trajectories.”
According to Kevin, “It’s been 80 years of positive impact – 80 years of successes – and it’s always important to celebrate that success.” The anniversary event recognized 80 years of people, planet and prosperity in Manitoba in the best way ACU knows how: in, among and with the community.
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