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CEO Message: January 2021

Published January 20, 2021.

 

Claudia Hepburn Windmill Microlending

 

Though recent news is filled with reasons for despair, here at Windmill we are focussed on two reasons why 2021 is a year for optimism. Renewed immigration targets and the growing momentum of impact investing will both contribute to a better Canada in 2021.

As soon as the pandemic hit us in March 2020, immigration stalled and Canada’s targets for new permanent residents could not be met. We look forward to borders opening up and to seeing immigration numbers rebound in 2021. The federal government is cognisant of the role newcomers play in our labour market and economy and has committed to significant increases to our immigration levels. The new goal is for Canada to welcome 401,000 newcomers this year, well above the previously planned target of 351,000. The total target for the next 3 years is 1.2 million new permanent residents. The current statistic—that the pay gap between immigrants and the Canadian-born persists for as long as 25 years after immigration—is just not acceptable. Windmill can help fix that. Our goal is to reach more skilled newcomers who need affordable credit and advice, and to offer them our help sooner.

Income Comparison Chart: Canadians (25-54 years) with Bachelor degree or higher earn $65,664; Windmill clients' income at application is $15,779; Windmill clients' upon completion of training is $54,360

Our second reason for optimism is impact investing — investments made with the intention of generating positive social or environmental impact as well as a financial return. The past few years have shown high double-digit growth in funds invested in impact across the globe, and those gains have been mirrored by growth in impact investing here in Canada.  Windmill launched its first impact investment product, a community bond, three years ago and we have fuelled much of the growth of our loan capital as a result of the support of impact investors. This past fall, we celebrated the launch of the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good and welcomed its Cornerstone Investment in Windmill. 2020 brought our first international investor, Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, The McConnell Foundation, and other notable impact investors. We look forward to welcoming more new investors to Windmill in 2021 and to sharing the data and stories about lives changed as a result.

Read about a client with dreams fulfilled, our latest impact metrics and meet the TELUS Pollinator Fund’s Investment Director, Leah Nguyen, in our first newsletter of 2021.

Impact Investing Growth Table

Claudia Hepburn