Why joining ACU makes a difference in your community

When it comes to creating a sustainable future for all, it’s important for organizations to walk the talk. Members who join ACU can feel good about contributing to sustainable communities because we are creating local jobs, providing local services and reinvesting in the local community.

Brendan Reimer, ACU’s Strategic Partner of Values-Based Banking

“As an organization, we’ve made a commitment to being an active citizen in our communities and helping to make the world a better place,” says Brendan Reimer, ACU’s Strategic Partner of Values-Based Banking. “But when you’re talking about a sustainable future, we’re also working to ensure the wellbeing and resiliency of our members.”

A sustainable future for all includes economic, social and environmental sustainability. Last year, ACU ran a United Way charity drive where $25 was donated each time someone signed up for ACU Wealth. The campaign was a resounding success, leading to a total donation of $5,000. The credit union also donated $20,000 to the Jubilee Fund and $20,000 to Trees Winnipeg.

When you join ACU, you’re a part of this ongoing work with community partners to make a difference.

Social sustainability

Last year, ACU’s $20,000 donation to Manitoba’s Jubilee Fund helped support the Rent Guarantee Program, which was designed to help women in need of stable housing secure homes where they can live independently and build belonging and community.

Brendan knows this donation hits home with members. “Our members care deeply about homelessness, housing and poverty,” he explains. “Without a safe place to live, you are living in crisis. And from a place of crisis, you cannot achieve the quality of life that you aspire to, especially if you have children.”

Mother holding a little boy

The Jubilee Fund has been involved in more than 70 social impact projects helping a wide range of not-for-profit organizations secure financing to help fight poverty. The organization pools funds from Manitobans who want to invest in social impact initiatives and then provides loan guarantees that enable them to access credit from ACU.

“Part of social sustainability is ensuring people in our communities have the quality of life and security to provide for themselves and their families,” Brendan elaborates.

Economic sustainability

ACU employees also raised money for United Way Winnipeg partners, with donations going directly to agencies and programs that strengthen local communities—including money management and financial literacy workshops that empower Manitobans.

Dennis Cunningham, Manager of Environmental Sustainability at ACU

Dennis Cunningham, Manager of Environmental Sustainability at ACU, notes that raising funds is also a way for employees to connect with their colleagues. “We hold an auction annually for United Way, so employees donate goods, gift cards and experiences for auction and other employees bid on them.”

Last year, Dennis auctioned off a ‘winter adventure,’ where he took the winning bidder on an afternoon of snow biking alongside the Assiniboine River. The winner was a newer employee Dennis had never met before, “so it helps build connections and community within ACU,” he explains.

ACU employees raised over $97,000 in support of Asset Building Programs funded by United Way of Winnipeg, the money raised provides financial empowerment for low-income earners. One program helps recipients save the funds for a major purchase, like a bed or laptop, by matching their savings. 

Environmental sustainability

ACU also provides an opportunity for members to contribute to restoring Winnipeg’s tree canopy, which is significantly impacted by urbanization, invasive pests and Dutch Elm disease. Last year, a donation was made to Trees Winnipeg each time a new member joined, totalling $20,000.

Tree with symptoms of Dutch Elm disease

“When we’re talking about climate change and resilience in Winnipeg, a significant issue is the loss of our tree canopy,” explains Brendan. “It affects not only environmental sustainability and biodiversity, but also the quality of life in our neighbourhoods.” 

ACU will continue to do good in the community this year in partnership with Trees Winnipeg.

Walking the talk as a B Corp

The most rigorous, comprehensive certification model for social and environmental performance  in the world is B Corp. Using a rigorous scoring framework, it measures five categories: governance, employees, community, environment and customers.

B Corp requires at least 80 points for certification, but the median score for businesses that complete the assessment is only 50.9. Among 6,645 certified B Corps in 89 countries, the median score is 89.

This is where ACU is walking the talk: its B Corp score is 166.4. When ACU was certified in 2020, it had the highest score in Canada and sixth-highest in the world! 

ACU campaigns for 2023

Brendan believes ACU’s strongest asset in building a sustainable future is its members. 

“Our members want to be part of an organization that does good things, but we’re also looking for new ways that our members can participate as well,” he elaborates. “We can harness our corporate activities and our 500 employees with relative ease, but we have an incredible opportunity to engage our 140,000 members in opportunities around social justice, community response campaigns and other values-based initiatives — and we know they’re eager to get involved!”

If you’re already an ACU member and are interested in participating in more community programming, learn more about us!

Not a member yet? If you’re looking to join a values-based credit union that cares about the future of our communities, join ACU and discover what ‘money doing more’ is all about!

About Vawn Himmelsbach

Vawn Himmelsbach is a freelance writer and editor. She has covered technology and travel for 15 years, for media outlets such as CBCNews.ca, The Globe & Mail, Metro News, ITBusiness, PCworld Canada and Computerworld Canada. She also spent three years living abroad and working as an Asian correspondent.

View all posts ›

Up Next

Smiling Asian woman holding a little girl

Celebrate Asian Heritage Month in Winnipeg

May is Asian Heritage Month, celebrate in Winnipeg. Check out the Taste of Asia (May 25 and 26), a free admission event at The Forks featuring food trucks, music, art,…

Read more ›

RRSP vs. TFSA vs. FHSA: Breaking down the options for buying your first home

Many ACU members are familiar with their options when saving for a down payment. Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs) offer shelter from taxes on growth, while a Registered Retirement Savings…

Read more ›

10 steps to buying your first home

Buying a new home in Winnipeg can be an exciting time. After all, you can finally move into a place to call your own—whether you’re leaving that long-term rental property,…

Read more ›