Notes for A More Coherent President’s Remarks—2010 CAIC AGM

Canadian Alternative Investment Co-operative

Annual General Meeting, Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Over the course of a year I attend large numbers of meetings, conferences and workshops. Recently I attended a workshop on Social Enterprise in Rural Communities at the 2010 ONPHA conference.  It was a gathering of people from areas where the social infrastructure from schools to post offices have disappeared, local jobs are scarce and services such as internet access are often impossible to find. What they do have are dreams and a history of working together. They dream of women’s shelters, home based businesses, satellite based internet cafes—and they work hard to bring their visions to life. What they often lack is financial support. And it is here that CAIC’s dream intersects theirs for we have come together to share our resources to help bring to life such transformative visions.

CAIC itself is in the process of transformation. Some of the changes are ones common to any dynamic organisation. We have added new voices to our advisory committee—Paul Connolly and Andre Schroer, who join Karen Knopf, Ted Hyland and Paul Plecash in providing expert advise on projects CAIC has been asked to support and without them the quality of our decision making would suffer.

Work continues on getting the word out about CAIC. Beth has participated on panels and as a workshop leader at ON Co-op, the Ontario Association of Food Banks and Social Exchange. Beth and Valerie have used websites and blogs such as socialfinance.ca to share information and ideas. They’ve visited with members of CAIC, most recently the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peterborough, share with our members and their communities the work of CAIC and the change in the world that occurs because they share their wealth with others.

CAIC’s loans have gone out to new organisations and to renewed requests for help. Elizabeth Fry, Life*Spin, Toronto Brigantine, Centre for Social Innovation, John Bruce Village Co-operative, Nishnabe Homes, Carmelina’s Home-Mater Dei, Quebec City Community Loan Fund; L’arche Hamilton/The Ark…from affordable housing to community economic development, the wealth of our members is in the world helping to ringing into life our shared vision of a more just, compassionate and inclusive society. Our current and historic work has created a strong foundation for the future.

CAIC continues to be blessed with excellent staff—Beth Coates and Valerie Lemieux. From helping perspective applicants through the process of applying for a CAIC loan to board support, our staff are vital to the work of our co-operative venture.

The organisation is well served by dedicated and knowledgeable directors. Rev. Paul Hansen, Sr. Doryne Kirby, Arlen Kubiak and Don Middleton have brought together passion for social justice, a keen eye when examining financial statements and a diversity of life experiences as the lenses through which applications for funding are examined. Together with our advisors and staff they successfully carry out the visions of our founders who came together over a quarter century ago.

CAIC, primarily represented by Beth, continues to take part in discussions with other organisations as a leader and initiator of social investing, watching the world catch up with what we’ve been doing for over a generation. This is exciting to see.

CAIC is in the process of rebirth. We have initiated the Canadian Alternative Investment Foundation, details of which you will hear elsewhere in the meeting. We are always looking for new initiatives to support and for new member organisations, Canadian charities that share our values and wish to share in our work and new ways of building on the strong foundation the Canadian Alternative Investment Co-operative has created.

Finally, on behalf of the board, staff and advisors of CAIC, a heartfelt thanks to the member of this unique co-operative. Our world is a better place because your communities have come together to work in the world, sharing wealth and dreams in practical and idealistic ways. From community based businesses to shelters for abused women, CAIC’s members make a sustained and substantial difference in the society we live in. Thank you for your commitment for social justice and for the chance to serve you in this wonderful mission.

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