SEED Winnipeg’s Asset Building Programs are changing lives

In part one of this story, we explained the benefits of programming delivered through SEED Winnipeg and ACU that helps lower-income families boost their finances. The organization’s Asset Building Programs have been designed to better the lives of low-income earnings including newcomers and youth.

Through money management training classes, matched savings credits, peer support and one-to-one assistance from SEED staff, participants can have life-changing experiences. The Inner City Homebuyer Program, for example, helps low-income earning families with down payment and closing costs for a place of their own.

But did you realize these programs aren’t limited to money management and savings? In some cases, new Canadians just need a helping hand establishing themselves.

Something to smile about

This was the case for Cristhiane Mignot, who came to Winnipeg from Brazil in 2015 with her husband and three kids.

Cristhiane had previously worked as a dentist and her husband successfully ran his own lab there for over 20 years. “Dentistry is my thing, and I ran my own practice before moving to Winnipeg,” Cristhiane explains. “I am an entrepreneur, but I wasn’t familiar with the local market and needed help.”

Through SEED Winnipeg’s BEST program, the family has been able to develop a business plan to start a dental lab of their own. Their business, Gladstone Dental Lab, specializes in “high-end, state-of-the-art, aesthetic, metal-free, porcelain and zirconia dental restorations.”

In addition, SEED’s Recognition Counts initiative has also helped unlock funds for Cristhiane to get Canadian education training funding, which has led to accreditation as a dental hygienist. Further, Access to Benefits has allowed the family to start a Registered Education Savings Plan for their kids, so they are much more prepared for their future.

“Before I came to Canada, I didn’t know how a credit union worked or why they’re different from a bank,” says Cristhiane. “They were a lifejacket in a storm,” Cristhiane says of the organization. “SEED helped me launch our business and ACU gave us the financial support.”

From lumber to learning

There are countless stories of participants going on to make a big difference in their community.

As one inspirational example, Indigenous youth Rylee Nepinak enrolled in Money Management‘s 10-week financial literacy program based on a recommendation from his carpentry teacher. He took the knowledge he gained from the class and applied it to Saving Circle, where he was able to put away enough money to buy a laptop through their matching program.

Now, five years after he took his first class, he’s co-founded Anishiative— a youth engagement and community outreach program in Winnipeg’s North End. “Financial literacy can play a big role in breaking the cycle of poverty,” says Rylee. “The work they’re doing is changing lives.”

Great things ahead for partnership

2020 has been a challenging year, especially for lower-income individuals and families. But the work undertaken to help those in challenging financial situations has paid off. Over 5,500 participants went through SEED Winnipeg programming last year, with over $7.8 million in income benefits delivered, 1,100 pieces of ID issued and 1,300 RESPs opened.

These are more than just numbers. They’re real opportunities that are changing the course of people’s lives. Wherever you are on your financial journey, SEED Winnipeg and ACU can help.

Visit to learn more about their upcoming programs or speak with an ACU member services representative or financial advisor to get started on a new financial journey today.

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Missed part one of the story? Read it here.

About Matt Cohen

Matt is a Winnipeg-based marketer and investor who covers the Canadian financial services industry.

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